I marvel at Keith Olbermann. I don’t doubt for a minute he’s a real jerk, but boy, no one can top him in Bush hatin’. Although that’s not why I listen to his rants, or commentaries, or whatever he calls them. It’s more of an academic exercise. Having recently written for radio, I had to relearn the rules of broadcast writing, which boil down to:
1) Write something.
2) Go through and replace all “ands” and “buts” with periods.
3) Go back through and replace a few ands and buts, but with extreme judiciousness.
The problem, if you’re a clause-y writer like me, is you write sentences that are too long, forget to breathe at the commas and end up gasping. Plus, you don’t want to sound too writerly; conversational is always better. But here’s the thing: Olbermann is even clause-ier than me. How does he get away with it? Here’s a sentence from the Special Comment below:
From springs spent trying to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11, to summers of cynically manipulated intelligence, through autumns of false patriotism to winters of war, we have had more than four years of every cheap trick and every degree of calculated cynicism, from an administration filled with Three-Card Monte players.
It takes him 17 seconds to read that single sentence. He takes a few breaths in there, but no deep ones. The guy must run marathons or something. Anyway, here’s the whole thing. Not recommended for the easily excited, but it has a great last line.