Monday, February 22, 2010

adverbsarially yours

When hearing about Georgia O’Keeffe, you might “knowingly nod—you know the work.” After all, she’s “newsstand famous” and “bankably blue-chip.” But the survey currently at the Phillips will “forcefully yet gracefully” show O’Keeffe’s “museum-friendly face” to you as “at once welcomely familiar and utterly original.”

Works from this version of the traveling show are “preponderantly from” (that’s preponderous!) the 1910s and 1930s; it “more tightly flaunts” O’Keeffe’s “mastery of her idiosyncratic vocabulary, served up with her throat-clearing directness of signature bursting color and undulating form.”

So as I’ve indicated above, this guy Eric Banks has apparently executed a master prank in the pages of the WaPo: He’s written a review about an artist known for painting flowers…with the most florid prose imaginable. Ha, ha; I get it! Whee!

Okay, maybe I’m not being fair. The dude seems intelligent enough. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood to be greeted by this style of writing in my Style section.

Still, I think the world needs more editors unafraid of deploying the occasional adverb-and-alliteration-seeking missile.


Blogger The Crypt Kicker 5 said...

i think that title must have been written by an idiot...'goes beyond flowers'. Are we sure he knows what abstract is after that statement ...should he be writing at all.

11:15 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

To be fair to the writer: I doubt that the title was his choice. I'm pretty sure Post staffers kick titles around until they arrive at some sort of bad pun or rhyme or whatever.

And that's not unique to the WaPo--at the WCP, for example, none of the titles for my pieces have ever originated with me, and they've usually involved eye-rolling puns or wordplay. It's just a journalistic convention/tradition, I guess.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I take your point on this, Jeffrey, and you're absolutely right about how overwritten the article is. On the other hand, at least Banks spells O'Keeffe's name correctly.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

And here I went and misspelled your name. Sorry about that. It wasn't intentional, really.

9:18 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

Gah! I am shamed.

10:22 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

Fixed it. Silly Jeffry.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Spelling beautiful Georgia's name correctly is a crusade of mine because I myself got it wrong for many years (luckily before I started writing about art) and it's a very, very common mistake.

1:03 PM  

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