Chicago Tribune Reporter Likes Big Adjectives
Chicagoland is getting its first Sonic Drive-In this week, and the Chicago Tribune was on it. Unfortunately, it looks like article author Christopher Borrelli decided to use the article to test out his thesaurus and writing skills.
The other day, three very large men in a very small car rolled up behind the Sonic Drive-In in Aurora. The smell of tar was pungent. In nearby fields little yellow flags from new developments flapped in the wind. The largest of the men, in the passenger seat, with a stomach so vast and gelatinous it rested on the dashboard as if taking a lunch break, rolled down his window. His right arm hung over the window lip like a dead goose. "You people open yet?" he asked. Sonic general manager Ray Mejia shook his head. "Tuesday," he said. The man slapped his palm hard against the metal of the car door. "The 19th," Mejia said.
Seriously, folks, that's the type of writing I learned back in my college fiction writing class. Be descriptive, paint a picture, set the scene. Good advice but in this case it's a big ol' WTF.
Worse there's no reason at all the men's size needs to be in that paragraph. None. By bringing this up at all, Borelli wants the reader to get a certain picture in her head: a picture of disgust. Nothing is relevant there otherwise. And please, "gelatinous?" Really?
There's been scuttlebutt in Chicago that the Trib might go downhill under its new ownership and I've kind of denied that but... I consider this a harbinger. What a disgusting piece of "news" writing. [Thanks, eliza!]