Conservatives can't write for sh*#
"Stunned, awkward facial expressions. Eyes looking every which way for the exits. Someone dies suddenly, and falls out of their chair. The silence is finally interrupted by a plague of chirping crickets." That's the lead I would write if I had to do a piece about what it felt like to read Jay D. Homnick's article in the American Spectator listing 25 of his own "clever" leads for articles he never wrote.
"The American Spectator has taken lately to advertising itself as 'America's cleverest magazine,' causing sleepless nights and extensive therapy for those of its humble contributors like Yours Truly who are fearful that they cannot live up to that billing," Homnick writes. "The secret of being a good columnist is to nail the opening sentence, writing something that is at once witty, compelling and indicative of where the article is heading. I have been forced to discard some openings that fell just short. Here are 25 that are headed for the wastepaper receptacle; maybe you can use 'em." So these aren't even good enough for the AmSpec, but.
But at the end, Homnick recommends we take his rejects and earn ourselves "a nice living at one of America's less clever magazines." That and the fact that the AmSpec did publish these leads. So what are they? Do you freelancers out there think editors would be bowled over by the brilliance of your submitted article that started:
"Fate offered Cindy Sheehan a shot at ordinary anonymity, kind of kind and pretty pretty, but she wanted more."
"The 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth reminds us that music did not begin with Frank Sinatra: long before there was a Rat Pack we had the Wolf Gang."
"The left wing of the Supreme Court claims to speak for modernity but has an average age of 72; soon they'll be the greatest concentration of liberal octogenarians outside of 60 Minutes."
Or would the D.A. come knocking on your door for the charge of editor's death by freakishly untalented lead writing?
A while back I wrote that pretty much all the best ad hominem attacks in political journalism are written by lefties, and that the professional class of conservative writers is a bunch of feckless amateurs when it comes to delivering pain with the pen. Chalk up lead writing to that list.
But I want to be fair. AmSpec's Prowler is a very good political gossip sheet.