Welcome to this edition of the junk drawer. As we have outlined in previous junk drawer posts, this is a random collection of stuff that is important but didn’t fit anywhere else, much like that drawer in the kitchen of most of our homes.
We start this week, as most Catholics do, with a confession…
For the first time in the history of the blog, I killed a post after I published it when a reader wrote in to complain. Tuesday, I was a bit out of my lane when I wrote a post titled “Vote or Whatever,” that tried to do something for Election Day. The post wasn’t coming together the way I wanted, but I figured I’d force things a bit and see what happened.
The point I was trying to make was that people have rights in this country, regardless of if they vote or not. For example, the line about “If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain,” is completely untrue. The First Amendment gives you the right to grouse up a storm if you want, regardless of if you cast a ballot and pick up an “I Voted” sticker. However, if people don’t vote, the folks that do might elect people who decide to take back a few of the rights you like.
The reader made the point that it sounded like I was telling people not to vote and that voting didn’t matter. After a few exchanges, I went back and reread the post, which I already knew I was forcing to begin with, and realized the reader was right. I tried fixing it a couple times before I remembered “Filak’s First Rule of Holes,” so I killed it.
Just like I tell myself when I’m working on a car, a pinball machine, a piece of furniture or an appliance around the house: Don’t force it or you’ll turn a bad situation into a worse one. This was one of those cases, so I apologize to whoever read that thing before it mercifully was relegated to the dustbin of history.
Speaking of bad ideas that were poorly executed…
Not every promotional effort on social media is perfect, but when you’re trying to get people to enjoy a sandwich by commemorating a Nazi atrocity, you’re definitely going to catch some blow back:
KFC’s German branch has apologized for seeming to encourage its customers to mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht — the notorious Nazi pogrom against Jews — by eating chicken, saying that a promotional message was sent in error as a result of an automated push notification.
The pogrom that began on Nov. 9, 1938, is known as the night of broken glass, and is widely commemorated as the start of the Holocaust. It was a coordinated assault on German Jews and their homes, businesses and synagogues.
On Wednesday, KFC Germany sent a message to users of its app with the title “Anniversary of the Reich’s pogrom night,” according to reports in the German news media and screen shots of the promotion that circulated widely on Twitter. The message invited customers to enjoy “tender cheese with crispy chicken.”
KFC Germany “quickly followed up with an apology” and then noted it was the work of an automated program that paired promotional tweets with historical events commemorated on a calendar. If true, they might want to look ahead to April 30 to prevent a “stock the bunker in case of guests” 2-for-1 bucket promotion.
Let’s move on…
From the “Does that period key work?” department:
The general vibe in most media writing is that short and tight sentences are better than the alternative. Leads are generally about 25-35 words, particularly if they’re straight news pieces. Then there’s this one:
WASHINGTON – A West Bend man who police say entered a city polling place last Tuesday with a knife and demanded staff “stop the voting” had been arrested just days prior and was free on a signature bond for reportedly posting hand-written racist and threatening political messages downtown and sending photos of those notes to Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
At 65 words, you’re almost more than double what you would normally expect for something that basically says, “Dude making threats made threats before.”
It could have been worse, as this writer demonstrated with another monstrosity of writing. The only person whose getting away with a sentence this long is Bret Easton Ellis if he’s writing from the perspective of a coked up hedge-fund manager:
Johnson, coming off a victory that secured him his third term in the Senate, joined a chorus of Senate GOP colleagues last week in pushing to delay the chamber’s Republican leadership elections set for Wednesday until the conference can have “serious discussions” about what the party can do to improve its chances of winning the presidency and both chambers of Congress in 2024, according to a letter the senators sent to colleagues.
As is the case with all writers, the Journal-Sentinel invites us to follow this guy on Twitter. I might actually do that, just to see what happens when he’s hemmed in at 280 character, or roughly 60% of that sentence.
Speaking of Twitter….
Is it midnight or is that just the NYT throwing shade?
I always loved sentences in news stories that basically wrote themselves. If I didn’t have to try to hype a story because the facts alone made people say, “Damn….,” I was a happy camper.
I would have basically given anything to have written this sentence in a story about Elon Musk booking Twitter for a one-way ticket on the Titanic:
That was such a sick burn there isn’t enough water in the world to put it out.
Speaking of dry spells…
From the “homophonic bias” department:
I found this one back when Aaron Judge was chasing Roger Maris’ home run record in the American League. Apparently Judge had a bit of a dry spell when it came to dingers, or he stopped for a frosty beer along the way to the park…
In case you are unclear, a drought is a lack of rain, or whatever else is supposed to be showing up (in this case, home runs). A draught is an English spelling of anything drawn from a keg. To be fair, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle tended to tip a few before launching balls into the stratosphere, so maybe Judge was trying to stick with tradition…
Speaking of baseball…
I got this promotion for some reason in my social media feed and even after reading it three times, I still found myself laughing like a 12-year-old boy.
For the Fanatics promotional staff, I’d like to offer this post that covers about a dozen or more terms you probably want to avoid…
Have a good rest of the week.
(a.k.a. The Doctor of Paper)