Saturday, May 03, 2008

'Splain this, Kirk!

Before I got my master's degree I was an English major at UT-Austin took lots of classes or stuff like linguistics, technical writing, and rhetoric. So imagine my confusion and consternation today when I read a political advertisement by Kirk Mills, who is running for Mayor of our humble town of SPI. First he writes:

"I keep reading in the Mayor's advertisements that he has all the contacts in Austin and Washington D.C. - this a a shame because what it shows is a complete failure ..."

This ends with a horrible run-on sentence of horrible composition that completely lost me. Perhaps Kirk is jealous or something, but let's let it stand. The real zinger comes a few sentences later when says he has close ties with Dr. Tara Rios Ybarra, "our new State Representative," which he helped elect with lots of cash and political gamesmanship.

So let's see here, current Mayor Bob Pinkerton can work the lobbies and committees and agencies and that is bad, but putting money on an untested freshman state rep is good? People who know about logic, rhetoric, and debating know better. A direct & clear contradiction!

Sheesh, that's like saying you're against all drugs while smoking a big ole fat marijuana doobie. My purpose is not to slam the good man, but point out that that's some horrible writing. One wonders if 17 years of law practice in the Valley has improved his ability to communicate effectively.

You have to read a bunch into the advertisement to really understand what is going on, since without the clarity the motivation can only be suspect. Early on, Kirk presents a message for "a new generation" of leaders and a very Obama-like message of "your choice for change." This seems strange because while the Town Mayor doesn't please all people all the time, and surely has made a few enemies, he rarely ever votes except in a tie. What changes does he mean? Expanding the travel budget so that three or four people have to go to Austin or Washington on a juggernaut trip when only one or two are needed? I must confess you cannot learn that from the words written in the recent issue of the Island Breeze.

Kirk might well turn out to become a good mayor after a year or two and that is not my argument. My argument is all about really crappy writing. Thank goodness I can see the humor and satire in it ... not that I would ever compare myself to literary geniuses such as Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, H.L. Mencken, William Faulkner, or Earnest Hemingway.


Anonymous said...

For goodness sakes, beam me up scotty!

Sam said...

How can we beam you up if we don't have your vector coordinates and somebody like Spock to make sure the seltzer water bubbles work correctly?

Anonymous said...

The first sentence in your original post is a pretty good example of a run on sentence. Maybe you should cut Kirk a little slack. Did you actually complete the technical writing class?

Sam said...

Actually I did terrible in my first tech writing class but soon learned it in the real world of business, since so many who claimed to know how to write really sucked.

And I consider Kirk my friend but was wondering my political contacts in Austin and Washington were such a bad idea.

I get paid to write documentation and computer code well into the six figures, so somebody's buying it. It you don't, meh, that's your opinion. I'm OK with that and no skin off my back, my friend. -sam

Anonymous said...

Can you spell "pompous"?

Sam said...

Then obviously you don't know me! I am relieved now, since obviously you have no clue. I'm going to continue having one of those perfect days down at the beach ... and I suspect that you're not. /sam