Dept. of Media

Like, Duh Rating the Washington Post's periodic attempts at writerly grandeur

Kyle T. Webster

Washington Post literary flourish:

“The spicy bon mot, the slightly outrageous hairdresser, the magazines with hairstyles and celebrity gossip, the hot stone massages, the delicate facial—what’s on sale in any high-end salon is sensuality and physical appeal.”

—Neely Tucker, “Troubled Waters at the Salon Spa,” 7/3/07

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Skinny: Story on Salon + French words = Winner

Washington Post literary flourish:

“Summer’s honey breath whispers, blowing faintly over people caught in transitions in these hot months when we believe life is supposed to be easy. Instead, summer finds some unsettled, some worried, separating, getting older, traveling from one stage to the next.

If winter is the best time to tell sad stories, summer is the time to tell stories of transition.”

—Deneen Brown, “In the Voice of Summer, Murmurs of the Fall,” 7/30/07

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Skinny: “Getting older” happens in winter, spring, and fall as well.

Washington Post literary flourish:

“At night, there is a second city that emerges in Washington, more beautiful and more intelligible than the city by day. The great monuments on the Mall glow a warm white, the grass and trees that surround them sink into inky darkness, and the city itself seems larger, more dramatic and more logically laid out.”

—Philip Kennicott, “Bathed in the Right Light,” 8/26/07

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Skinny: City doesn’t expand, or reorganize itself, upon nightfall.

Washington Post literary flourish:

“The best meatless dish may be the chef’s creamy risotto, thick with oyster mushrooms and tomatoes, and speckled with bright kernels of corn that burst in the mouth, shouting summer in each bite.”

—Tom Sietsema, “the Chef Is In,” 8/26/07

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Skinny: Restraint and cleverness combine for a tasty stew.

Washington Post literary flourish:

“They don’t know HER anymore, and now she is dying, beat-boxed to death by commercialism, violent gangsta rap, feuds, long-legged women shaking it in videos, and thus pushing ordinary women who used to love HER into a fringe community with no real value to HER, except as tinsel, as eye candy.”

—Deneen Brown, “Hip-Hop, Beyond Bling,” 7/14/07

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Skinny: Come again?

Washington Post literary flourish:

“‘Satan himself,’ says Regina James, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner, trying to name it, personify it. As she talks, a cool breeze sweeps through the alcove of an office building on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast Washington, as if the street were acknowledging her comment.”

—Deneen Brown, “Crack, a Rift in Society,” 8/28/07

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Skinny: Streets are powerless to fetch wind, acknowledge comments.

Washington Post literary flourish:

“In June the grass was rich and green and felt soft and cool under bare feet. Now it looks like someone set fire to it. The wind kicks up dust and chaff. It is the color of rope and feels like walking on an old hairbrush.”

—David Montgomery, “As Summer Ebbs, August Casts a Shadow,” 8/19/07

Verdict: Thumbs Down

Skinny: Who walks on old hairbrushes?

Leave a Comment

Note: HTML tags are not allowed in comments.
Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...