The Worst Sentence Of The Year
This is not about George Zimmerman. His case has not been tried yet. No matter what the outcome, many angry people will not be happy. In this post, the worst sentence is the “winner” of a contest sponsored by a University English department. It is about a prose unit, with a noun, a verb, and assorted other implements of linguistic horror. If you are getting scared, it is ok to skip over the text and look at the pictures.
PG was trolling the archives, trying to copy and paste his way out of writer’s block. He settled on some text, which will probably be posted before July 4th. You have been warned. It is about patriotism, so watch your wallet. But, getting back to the second hottest day in Atlanta history, there were some pictures from ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”, that PG wanted to use. Now, using old pictures a second time is less work than posting images for the first time. When PG saw the text that went with these pictures, he decided that patriotism would have to wait until later.
The text was about the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest. (Where “WWW” means “Wretched Writers Welcome”) It is named for the writer who coined “the great unwashed”,”pursuit of the almighty dollar”, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, and “It was a dark and stormy night”. Maybe he has been forgiven. The winner of the 2012 contest has not been announced, but should be soon. As a service to the reader(s), this post has been reformatted from the original.
To paraphrase Ru Paul, the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest is. A function of the english department of San Jose State University, in California, the contest awards “a pittance” to the winner. The idea is to submit the opening sentence to a horrible novel, and give the winner to the worst of the worst, the scum of the the skimmer, the Milhous of the Nixon. Email entries are accepted, preferably in Arial 12.
The award is named for Edward_Bulwer-Lytton . Mr. B-L was the model for Monty Python’s English Upper Class Twit. The opening words of his novel “Paul Clifford” are “It was a dark and stormy night”. Entrants in the contest are discouraged from saying ” It was a stark and dorky night”.
As a public service, chamblee54 has reviewed all of the entries on the web page, and selected a handful to reproduce below. If you want to see who won this year, go to the bottom of the barrel. HT to Andrew Sullivan . Pictures are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” The beauty queen is Miss Agricultural Ammonia for 1957.
Through the verdant plains of North Umbria walked Waylon Ogglethorpe and, as he walked, the clouds whispered his name, the birds of the air sang his praises, and the beasts of the fields from smallest to greatest said, “There goes the most noble among men” — in other words, a typical stroll for a schizophrenic ventriloquist with delusions of grandeur.
When Hru-Kar, the alpha-ranking male of the silver-backed gorilla tribe finished unleashing simian hell on Lt. Cavendish, the once handsome young soldier from Her Majesty’s 47th Regiment resembled nothing so much as a crumpled up piece of khaki-colored construction paper that had been dipped in La Victoria chunky salsa.
She walked into my office wearing a body that would make a man write bad checks, but in this paperless age you would first have to obtain her ABA Routing Transit Number and Account Number and then disable your own Overdraft Protection in order to do so.
The band of pre-humans departed the cave in search of solace from the omnipresent dangers found there knowing that it meant survival of their kind, though they probably didn’t understand it intellectually since their brains were so small and undeveloped but fundamentally they understood that they didn’t like big animals that ate them.
The dark, drafty old house was lopsided and decrepit, leaning in on itself, the way an aging possum carrying a very heavy, overcooked drumstick in his mouth might list to one side if he were also favoring a torn Achilles tendon, assuming possums have them.
The wind whispering through the pine trees and the sun reflecting off the surface of Lake Tahoe like a scattering of diamonds was an idyllic setting, while to the south the same sun struggled to penetrate a sky choked with farm dust and car exhaust over Bakersfield, a town spread over the lower San Joaquin Valley like a brown stain on a wino’s trousers, which is where, unfortunately, this story takes place.
The Zinfandel poured pinkly from the bottle, like a stream of urine seven hours after eating a bowl of borscht.
She purred sensually, oozing allure that was resisted only by his realization as an entomologist that the protein dust on the couch from the filing of her crimson nails was now being devoured by dust mites in a clicking, ferocious, ecstatic frenzy.
Cynthia had washed her hands of Philip McIntyre – not like you wash your hands in a public restroom when everyone is watching you to see if you washed your hands but like washing your hands after you have been working in the garden and there is dirt under your fingernails — dirt like Philip McIntyre.
T’Bleen and Golxxm squelched their way romantically along the slough beach beneath the three Sommodian moons, their eye-stalks occasionally touching, and tenderly belched sweet nothings like, “I don’t think I’ve ever had such a charming evening,” and, “Say, would you like to gnaw that hunk of suppurating tissue off my dorsal appendage—it really itches.”
Wearing his new slacks from L.L. Bean, and entering the pen to feed his three big dogs their usual three cans of dog food, some of which ended up on his new pants, Kevin then left the house to attend a revival screening of ‘Serpico’ with Alpo chinos.
He walked into the bar and bristled when all eyes fell upon him — perhaps because his build was so short and so wide, or maybe it was the odor that lingered about him from so many days and nights spent in the wilds, but it may just have been because no one had ever seen a porcupine in a bar before
His chest glistened like a pumpkin seed, either one fresh out of the pumpkin but with all the orange strands of pumpkin flesh removed, or one straight out of the oven after being coated in just the right amount of oil and then baked; the point is that it was smooth, fairly shiny, and that color.
Living next door to the Lesters for nearly twelve years now, Mrs. Nestor, fully aware of her husband’s fondness for pulchritudinous posteriors, was unable to deter Chester Nestor’s constant quest for Mr. Lester’s sister Hester’s monster keister.
And the winner is… For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.