Saturday, February 6, 2010


Sun-Herald publisher David Dunn-Rankin has spent a lot of ink lately explaining why his editors do not edit the newspaper's Letters to the Editor. Unfortunately, his hands-off policy applies to columnists, too.

Want to ask Stephen King a Question?

Have you ever wanted to ask Stephen King a question? What scares him? What author inspired him? What’s your favorite ice cream?

First, no, this reader has never wanted to ask King a question. The writing technique -- asking silly questions that most readers will answer quite differently than the writer counts on -- is called “losing the audience.” However, readers who manage to wade through the trite followed by the inane get a little surprise: this columnist believes King can answer questions about readers' ice cream preferences.

The columnist goes on to assert that King is a man who has “impacted society more than any other living writer.” Let’s skip debating whether “impacted” is best reserved for describing asteroids and rotten teeth. Let’s get right to the assessment of King’s stature. But, sorry, there’s no well-crafted assessment, just another in the series of poorly crafted questions:

Anyone else frightened/disturbed/moved by old Plymouths, crazy dogs, freaky twins girls, the sound of a Big-Wheel crossing over hard floors and carpets, leeches, Rita Hayworth keeping a secret, psycho fans, clowns, etc.?

Slashes as punctuation? Fear of carpets?

Well, the morning’s featured columnist may be frightened/disturbed/moved by these impacts of literary litter, but, no, we are not.

Worse than the silly question is the columnist's quite-serious proposition embedded in it.

What has truly frightened/disturbed/moved this reader is the only newspaper in town is publishing rough drafts. And apparently, editors are proud of it.

1 comment:

  1. Glad You're BackSat Feb 06, 11:30:00 AM

    Not editing, and not researching, either. King is hardly the most influential (really, lets avoid that impacted thing...0 if the measure is titles and copies. He's barely in the middle of the pack. Of course, this whole discussion ignores actual quality. But that would be too much to expect from the Sun.

    Harold Robbins: 23 titles and 750 million books.
    Barbara Cartland 723 titles and 500 million books.
    Danielle Steel, 72 titles and 560 million books.
    Stephen King, 70 titles and 300 million books.
    J.K. Rowling 10 titles and 350 million books.
    John Grisham, 22 titles and 100 million books.