South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
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SoVaNow.com / October 16, 2013A while back, I wrote my first-ever Derp Column in an attempt to inculcate the habits of newspaper readership among the younger set. (Yes, I know: a more derpy idea never ‘twas. By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with modern slang and thus are left to wonder exactly what “derp” means, ask your nearest teenager. Preferably before you tell him to get off your lawn.)
The Derp Column sought to explain the world in terms that a high schooler might appreciate. As such, it may or may not become an annual tradition in this space. A lot depends on whether the effort succeeds in raising my profile with the 18-and-under demographic. Heck, forget demographics — 18-and-under might well describe my entire audience of teen readers. But I’m glad I undertook the effort to achieve Peak Derp. It’s good from time to time to stretch one’s creative powers. Unless I pull a muscle.
Lately the news has been flying by so fast that I’ve felt stressed out trying to keep up. There’s this hot topic to write about — nope, that other one. Or something else altogether. It’s all so dispiriting. How is one supposed to maintain the pretense of coherent analysis in such an incoherent world?
Then it hit me. (After all these years.) Why not just ditch the long-form column format, developed back in the day when four channels ruled the TV dial, and go with a style that’s quicksilver, peppy, what the kids might even call swaggerific? It occurred to me that I would need a new set of ground rules to achieve this writing transformation. So here’s what I came up with:
• a limit of 140 characters for each topic
• ample use of abbreviations and pidgin English, even if this means doing all the things your sixth grade teacher told you never to do — using “2,” for instance, when you really mean “too” or “to.” Which reminds me, I never liked grammar anyhow.
• No more hoary journalistic conventions such as “attributing comments to named sources” or “quoting people verbatim.” Punditry can come alive when you’re allowed to just make stuff up. (How else to account for Fox News?) So if, say, I want to offer a trenchant observation on the malign influence of money in politics, I don’t need to cite boring Supreme Court case law or Federal Election Commission rulings. Instead I can cut to the chase with something like OMG THE DONALD SHOULD HAVE SAVED ALL THAT $$$$ HE GAVE 2 ROMNEY 2 BUY A NEW ‘DO #TrumpCarpets. By the way, I also came up with the idea of using a hashtag at the end of each line. Neat, huh?
I haven’t figured out a name for this new format but I’m sure an idea will pop up sooner or later. Maybe a bird will tweet it into my ear. So here goes:
‘MILLION VETERAN MARCH’ ON DC THIS WKEND W/TED CRUZ AND SARACUDDA PALIN @ WW2 MEMORIAL DREW CROWD EST. IN 3 DIGITS. VETS MONUMENT PROTEST @ CLARKSVILLE W/FRANK RUFF TOPPED 2 DIGITS.
GO TED GO 2016!
IF THIS WAS PRO WRASSLIN OBAMZ WOULD BE HITTING SPEAKR BOEHNER OVER THE HEAD W/ FOLDING CHAIR RIGHT NOW
B/C THIS REALLY IS LIKE PRO WRESTLING WE GET 2 DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN IN 3 MTHS WHEN BOEHNER DEMANDS CAGE REMATCH
SNARK AVAILABLE FREE OF CHRGE @ CLARKSVILLE ACE HARDWARE
DUMBEST PART OF GOVT SHUTDWN: FED WORKRS SITTING @ HOME WAITNG 4 THEIR PAYCHCKS
ALL NASA EMPLOYEES AGREE: ‘GRAVITY’ BEST MOVIE OF YR
BRIGHT NEW PLAN 4 OUR FUTURE: SEND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES N2 SPACE
NUZ FLASH: UNTIL GOVT REOPENS, NO LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT DATA 4U
FED GOVT CLOSES BOAT LAUNCHES SO GLUP GLUP YAY!
FUTURE MAGAZINE COVER: THE SOFTWARE GEEKS WHO SAVED OBAMACARE?
HEALTHCARE.GOV HAS NICE SPLASH SCREEN THO
4 DRIVERS ED CLASS, MY SON USED TEH INTERNET 2 LOOK UP INFO ON AUTO INSURANCE & NOW GETS ROBOCALLS FROM ALLSTATE
UNOFFICIAL THEME SONG OF MCPS CUSTODIAL STAFF: MAMAS DON’T LET YR BABIES GROW UP 2B JANITORS
CLEARANCE SALE: PERFECTLY FINE USED DESKS, CHAIRS & EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE 4 PURCHASE @ MCPS CENTRAL OFFICE
ACTUAL QUOTE BY COUNTY SUPRVSR DAVID BRANKLEY: “Even if funding were there tomorrow for a new consolidated high school, there is still the need to use the existing high schools and elementary schools and keep them in top shape.” (9/25/2013 Sun)
DID SUPES RAISE TAXES ONLY 2 KEEP CRUMMY OUTDATED SKHOOL FACILITIES?
BAD IDEA: SUPES & TRUSTEES SITTING DOWN 2GETHER @ ROUNDTABLE
NUZ FLASH: CUCCINELLI RULES LOCAL GOVTS HAVE LITTLE CONTROL OVER URANIUM MINING (Associated Press, Oct. 13)
BTW: WHO GETS 2 TELL THE COOCH HE’S LOSING?
AND LOSING 2 TERRY MCAULIFFE?
JUST THINK: ONLY A FEW SHORT MNTHS B4 GUV McD ESCAPES INDICTMENT
BTW, WHUT KIND OF MORON USES ALL CAPS?
(Any resemblance to an actual technological innovation, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)