19 July 2004

Bulwer-Lytton "Winners"

In the midst of a dark and stormy afternoon on the seemingly endless prairies of Central Illinois, which in reality extend only to the nearest Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, the intrepid blawgger gazed longingly at his computer display — which, despite all of its component semiconductors' aspirations, was not a product of the HAL plant so thoughtfully located a couple of blocks away in a famous science fiction novel — and hoped that, unlike this year, the Bulwer-Lytton contest would in the foreseeable future include a category for reflexive sentences, or legal writing, or perhaps — just perhaps — self-parody, and thereby bring enlightenment to generations of law students to come, particularly those unsuspecting souls embarking upon a career in the law who somehow — after three years of law school — remain under the misapprehension that lawyers can write simple, declarative sentences in English without once including a word derived from Latin, French, or any other dead or moribund language; nor including multiple dependent clauses; nor relating to or arising from a patent application; nor including qualifiers that render the simple declaration at the heart of the sentence either merely ambiguous or an exercise in covering the writer's ass in the event of future litigation or nomination hearings in the Senate; nor, in the worst case, referring to any previously specified thing or person using the term "said."