fevereiro 05, 2005

Vale a pena ler «How to Read a Column», o texto com que William Safire se despede da sua coluna do The New York Times. Um resumo:
«1. Beware the pundit's device of using a quotation from a liberal opposition figure to make a conservative case, and vice versa. Righties love to quote John F. Kennedy on life's unfairness; lefties love to quote Ronald Reagan. [...] 2. Never look for the story in the lede. [...] 3. Do not be taken in by “insiderisms”. [...] 4. When infuriated by an outrageous column, do not be suckered into responding with an abusive e-mail. [...] 5. Don't fall for the "snapper" device. To give an aimless harangue the illusion of shapeliness, some of us begin (forget "lede") with a historical allusion or revealing anecdote, then wander around for 600 words before concluding by harking back to an event or quotation in the opening graph. [...] 6. Be wary of admissions of minor error. [...] 7. Watch for repayment of favors. Stewart Alsop jocularly advised a novice columnist: "Never compromise your journalistic integrity – except for a revealing anecdote." [...] 8. Cast aside any column about two subjects. It means the pundit chickened out on the hard decision about what to write about that day. [...] 9. Cherchez la source. Ingest no column (or opinionated reporting labeled "analysis") without asking: Cui bono? [...] 10. Resist swaydo-intellectual writing. Only the hifalutin trap themselves into "whomever" and only the tort bar uses the Latin for "who benefits?" [...] 11. Do not be suckered by the unexpected. Pundits sometimes slip a knuckleball into their series of curveballs: for variety's sake, they turn on comrades in ideological arms, inducing apostasy-admirers to gush "Ooh, that's so unpredictable." Such pushmi-pullyu advocacy is permissible for Clintonian liberals or libertarian conservatives but is too often the mark of the too-cute contrarian. [...] 12. Scorn personal exchanges between columnists. Observers presuming to be participants in debate remove the reader from the reality of controversy; theirs is merely a photo of a painting of a statue, or a towel-throwing contest between fight managers.»