Sunday, April 25, 2010

Orange prose

The Lib Dem surge has brought us, this weekend, the best and the worst opening paragraphs to newspaper columns that I’ve read in a long time. I hope it’s clear which is which.

Polly Toynbee:

Get real. Keep your head screwed on. What result do you want? I will assume, dear Guardian reader, that like me you have two prime purposes. One is to prevent Cameron walking into Downing Street on 7 May. Equal first is to secure electoral reform so that we are never again presented with such a disgraceful voting choice. If that's not your view, you can save time, stop reading here and push off to some Murdoch organ that will amply satisfy your needs.

Nick Cohen:

It says much about the tastes of Conservative politicians that, at the suggestion of Oliver Letwin, they have taken to comparing the struggle for power in Britain to the fight for control of Middle Earth. Rather than mock their addiction to sword-and-sorcery epics, I will gently remind them that in the final battle of the Lord of the Rings the Dark Lord Sauron realises that he has been looking the wrong way. Hobbits so small he has failed to notice them are preparing to drop the ring of power into Mount Doom. Sauron's giant red eye swings towards the new danger as "the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril".


CS Clark said...

I swear I can't tell for sure. They both have faults. One tells me to bugger off unless I agree, the other has a clumsy tense change, and besides I cordially detest allegories.

Cattie said...

I think they both rather suck, especially as opening paragraphs. You can't tell what the hell either of them are really talking about; they're too busy trying to be cute and creative and call attention to their writing for their writing's sake, rather than just reporting what they're reporting. Someone will have to explain to me the merits of either, because I just don't see it. Maybe the author of the post is a Lord of the Rings fan or something.

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