Thursday, March 1, 2007

An Abominable Column

Reading the alma mater's campus newspaper is like cleaning the Augean stables. You do it out of a misplaced sense of obligation, even though you know you'll never quite get the shit stench out. Take, for example, this gem from today's Daily Princetonian (Absence of Billboards in the Womb), which begins:

"With all the temerity most have for the treatment of a topic so uniquely inspirational for irrational lunatics of all persuasions, I would like to discuss abortion."

I don't even know where to begin. This guy's word processor should be forced to undergo the same process as convicted sex offenders. Sorry buddy, but there's no way you're allowed to write here. There's a school within 500 feet. Reading this sentence is like committing an assault against your brain. The horrible usage of "temerity" and "inspirational" loosen you up with a few gut punches before the nonsensical string of prepositions moves in to finish you off.

Any sensible person would have avoided this column like an active volcano. But if there's one thing I've learned from Kazushi Sakuraba, it's that you should never say "die" until you've pulverized your cortex to the point where it's no longer physically possible to do so.

Fortunately, I only had to proceed about four more sentences until I encountered this:

In case the thrust of your steely invective was to call me an irrational religious fanatic, zealots, I will admit happily to possessing a large number of unambiguously religious principles..."

Yes. I'd be more than happy to thrust my steely invective wherever your unambiguously religious principles dictate...But wait, there's more....

"Abortion is abominable. The longer I think about it, the more abominable it seems...In any case, it seems to me that the abominability of abortion ought to be apparent to any rational person..."

Hmm. It seems to me that the fact that "abominability" is not a word ought to be apparent to any rational person. I'm always amused by the fascination of social conservatives with the word "abominable." Man shall not lie with man, it is an abomination. Abortion is an abomination. Taxes on inherited wealth are an abomination. I can only hope that I never find myself looking to the book of Leviticus for guidance on diction. You should only be allowed to use "abominable" if you are Thomas Hobbes, or if you are writing about the Abominable Snowman. And even then, you should make a good faith effort to find some synonyms.

Our fearless author then makes a bold attempt to characterize the pro-choice argument:
But your choice must be preserved. So say the same voices that tell you to buy Coach and Lacoste disclose who you really are."

I have no idea what this means. And I think my neurons suffered some irreversible damage while trying to figure it out.

As we speak, the bourgeois with forceps and poisonous chemicals invade the womb, a realm curiously free from capitalism in other respects."

Don't look now, but Frank Rich and David Remnick are about to perform dilation and extraction with barbecue tongs and some hemlock.

And now...saving the best for last (I swear this is an actual quote):

"Unless there is something sacred about his being human, why should every otherwise worthless slouch be allowed to waste beautiful silence explaining his ludicrous notions to the world?"

I suppose it doesn't say much about the sacredness of humanity (seeing as it's the necessary condition in the above statement), but this column has done more than anything to convince me that beautiful silence ought not to be wasted on the ludicrous notions of worthless slouches.

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