Phi Beta Cons

Academics’ Darling Toni Morrison Satirized

Peter Wood’s ingeniously funny satire on Toni Morrison’s prose — “You Too Can Write Like Toni Morrison!” — appears at the National Association of Scholars website. After a lesson delineating Morrison’s technique, Wood shows how it can be applied to transform any piece of writing. Here’s an excerpt:

 

Let’s see if we can put our new understanding of how to write the Morrison way to work. Here’s the lead paragraph from the Sunday New York Times front page story, headlined “World Leaders Vow Joint Push to Aid Economy”:

Facing the gravest economic crisis in decades, the leaders of 20 countries agreed Saturday to work together to revive their economies, but they put off thornier decisions about how to overhaul financial regulations until next year, providing a serious early challenge for the Obama administration.

Remember the rules: (1) Misuse common phrases, (2) Embrace inconsistency, (3) Omit words to create more forceful expression, (4) Mix up parts of speech, and (5) Chop in self-conscious micro-sentences.

Here’s the New York Times paragraph Morrison-ized:

Their facing of Saturday graves upon graves of crisis, the leaders of 20 countries agreed to work and revive their economies but put off the thornier of how to haul over financial regulations until, next year, when the Obama administration is challenged. We explain.

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