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How Do I Write Better?

I get this question quite a bit, so I thought I’d answer it.

How You Write Better
Write a lot. And by “a lot,” I mean more than you think you need to, or think you have time for. Anyone who writes for a living will say the same thing. Write a lot. Turns out, the more you write, the better you get. I used to write only news articles, and it seemed like it took me forever to write anything different. Makes sense. I needed more time. I still don’t think I write well, but after reading some of the garbage on internet sites, I feel a little better. Look, there are styles. My style is different. I don’t know what that style is, but I don’t care. I write a certain way, and I’ve decided that I don’t care what other people think about it. If you’re just writing for your blog, you shouldn’t care either. Just write the best you can, in any style you want. Just don’t publish stupid.

Tips
Buy a style guide. Learn correct punctuation and grammar. I’ll give you an example from a previous sentence above… “Anyone who writes…” can also be written as “anyone that writes.” A person is a “who.” Not a “that.” Learn the basics and  you’ll at least have an upper-hand. I know this section says “Tips” (plural), but that’s the only one I have. Style guide. Buy a book or religiously ingest one of the many online ones. Just avoid Grammar G!rl. The site is helpful, but there are too many ads and graphics and it’s too… I don’t know… dumb.

How You Might Write Originally
What I normally tell people to do is write like they talk and then rewrite. It’s so much easier to use your normal phrases than struggle with perfecting original sentences. Just start throwing out words, even if they don’t seem right. Who’s going to see it? So you’re doing a crappy job at writing. So what? Don’t post it yet.

Example: Your Writing
Oh my God, I was in Florida and saw a snake run across a woman’s foot. It was a black snake. Then I walked across the street and was attacked by red ants. And when I complained, the lady said ants are normal and there were also alligators to deal with and more alligators down the street. She was drunk. What kind of place is this? Ack. Barf. Gag.

Improvement: In My Opinion
I unfortunately went to Florida. Cocoa, to be more specific. I might have well been in a jungle. Wow. Florida. Don’t go there unless you’re a discarded python.
My host lived in a place where they had to build by making sure their lot was above the flood line. In their case, they had to build their duplex over six inches of trucked-in sand, adding the normal hurricane-proof accessories.
My first glance at their lifestyle was seeing them drink bottles of vodka. At my count, she drank 10 shots a day and he drank 15. He had that red-nose-thing going on. Plus a little more red-face time. Apparently he was still finding work. So I hung out with her. But it was more like I sat there and watched her watch soap operas. She called them “stories,” which is a term I thought went out of style decades ago.
One morning I was shaving and heard what could only be described as a blood-curdling scream. Well, it was a little more extreme than that, but you get the point. I rushed to the porch and a black snake had crawled across her feet. She was wearing a mumu… something you accessorize with when you’re grossly overweight and watch soap operas all day while drinking vodka. She transferred to the bench they had in front of the house, which I realized was now a fainting chair. She was hyperventilating. Crap.
The guy came home soon after and helped calm her down. This was the day I realized calming down mumu-wearing people was close to impossible without a group-style atmosphere. My internal thought was this: “Girl, you apparently live in a place where animals don’t want you around. And the snake wasn’t poisonous. Please deal.”
He invited me to walk around the neighborhood and explained the building guidelines and history of the area. The history mostly had to do with alligators and giant snakes. I was wearing Tevas because it was freaking hot. Oh, I’m sorry I forgot to mention that Florida is also painfully hot and humid. I will never understand why Disney World is down there, but I guess that’s a different discussion. Anyway, my Teva-wearing self stepped into a nest of some sort of angry ants in an empty lot. Fire ants? I don’t care at this point. The pain was… um… Florida. I decided to leave.

Summary
Just write what you can and rewrite it. And maybe rewrite it again. Then write more. A lot more.

Wedding Book Review

I’m taking a rather difficult course from The Association of Bridal Consultants so I can stand out as a guy who does more than officiate and bartend at weddings. I figured if I need to write anything, I can just increase my post count. Here’s one of the projects I have to do:

Read a wedding-related book and write a 150-word report on it. Name three things that you found helpful and describe how you will incorporate them into your business.

Well, I’m taking this goal rather slow, so I’m still not 100% sure I’ll end up with my own business, but I can definitely churn out 150 words.

THE BOOK
I read The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss, who can be easily described as a wedding planner for the stars. You know… those Hollywood types. I got the book for free as a promotional item when it came out it 2008. I didn’t read it until last year. Wildly informative and very well laid out. I’m sure the book from The Knot is good as well, but Mindy’s book is so comprehensive, I didn’t feel the need to purchase another.

THINGS I FOUND HELPFUL
Something that the ABC course didn’t have a lot of was illustrations. Mindy’s book contained many, especially when it came to 1) attire for the bride and groom, 2) hairstyles for women, 3) makeup.
She also included two insanely comprehensive planning timelines… one for 12 months and one for 6 months. If you’re a bride trying to plan your wedding in 6 months, I feel sorry for you. I’m not trying to get your business, but please understand that planning your own wedding is very difficult. My first bride who didn’t decide to have me officiate their wedding was so freaked out by the first step (the guest list) that she had a meltdown and had to go to the hospital. Get a planner. Or at a minimum, get a day-of planner, which is even more critical. I’ve probably been to more weddings than you. Day-of planner. Please.
Just a few other things I found helpful from the book: It has good processional orders and great lists of questions for vendors. The ABC course had some good questions as well, so I can combine them for a larger list, and add my own questions that I have found important.

HOW I CAN INCORPORATE THE FACTS INTO MY BUSINESS
Why do I find this concept vague? Every single fact I learn seems like it would be helpful. But OK, I’ll pick a couple.
1. I hate dealing with flowers. This book broke it down to a point where I can deal with them. I’ve even been to two flower shops this month to learn more. Motivation: good. Plus, my wife is helping educate me.
2. This book is more for brides, but I can definitely announce that it confirmed what the ABC course mentioned… one of the hardest parts of planning the average wedding is ironing out the guest list. The horror stories are phenomenal. And as you already know, it sent my client-bride-to-be to the hospital. This is definitely a fact that will help me in my initial meetings.
3. I’m not even sure this concept was touched on in the book, but I didn’t get it from the ABC course. If you’re a groom, please be patient. I say this because brides are normally the ones that do more work. Maybe butch up. Help out. Don’t take her stress personally. I know it’s difficult. I really can’t explain how much your wedding will test you as a couple. The planning and the ceremony and the reception and everything else turns out to be one of the biggest days you’ll ever experience. Go to couple’s therapy. Seriously. The average U.S. wedding is around $30,000. Don’t shy away from a therapist who charges $200 an hour.

600+ words. Win.

The Superintendent Who Digs Through Our Trash

THE TRASH
Everyone in our building takes their trash to a specific area of the basement. There are garbage cans everywhere, with so many city-mandated recycling signs, it’s like trying to deal with the visual assault in Times Square. Despite the massive amount of signage, it’s still not clear where the specific bags should go. There are just too many signs. It’s insane. It was a year and a half ago that our drunk superintendent told us which cans are dedicated for which types of trash. The gross trash goes here, the glass and plastic go here, and “just pile up the cardboard next to these cans.” Never a problem. But yesterday was different.

THE PANIC
I had just finished tossing the garbage when I heard a new sound in the basement: a wildly barking dog. I looked over to see an angry chihuahua running toward me. Around the corner I heard the drunk superintendent: “Good boy. Good boy!” The super stumbled around the corner, stumbled down the hall and shouted “What are you doing?” I looked at him and felt the resulting confused look cross my face. “Tossing the trash.” The super was panicked and approached the cans. “Where did you put it?” I’ve dealt with the super for a long time, but this was odd behavior even for an alcoholic. I didn’t quite know how to respond to such a stupid question so I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know… in the cans?” The super zipped his head from side to side, scanning the area. His eyes were wide. “What trash did you throw away? What cans did you put them in?” I guessed that I was going to have to placate him. “The garbage went in there, and I put some cardboard over there, in the usual spot.” That wasn’t good enough for him. And the chihuahua was still barking with that shrill, high-pitched yipping that can make your head hurt. The super continued panicking as the dog kept barking. “You know the glass and plastic go over here right? OK, there’s your cardboard. What did you put in here?” He opened a can meant for the gross trash and took out my bag, rolling it around in his hands.

THE FETISH(?)
He was massaging the bag. Get a gross visual in your head and magnify it. Did he have a trash fetish? I didn’t want to find out. I quickly turned around to leave and heard him say, “We got fined.” He then started talking to his dog. “Everything’s good. He did good.” Yeah, he was talking to his dog, assuring the barking chihuahua that I had placed my trash in the correct receptacles.

THE ANSWER
I got one of our doorman to explain. Turns out there are city trash inspectors that can fine owners/landlords if tenants put recyclables in their gross trash. The fine this time was $100. So now the super has to make an increased effort to dig through our trash. An online search helped me understand this behavior. A $100 fine means they’ve been busted before… likely twice. The super’s panic came from the possible next fine: hundreds of dollars for each bag that has gross trash mixed with recyclables. The building can fight the fine, but it’s not easy.

MORE ANSWERS
One of our three doormen has been sick for a month. Intestinal issues. Possibly an ulcer. He finally called out. The super had to put on a coat and watch the door. He showed me his phone that had text messages from the sick doorman, who was refusing to see a doctor despite having an awesome medical plan from his union. This doesn’t really matter in relation to the trash story, but sometimes stupidity needs to be acknowledged. The super said the city inspectors walk down the street and tear open bags of gross trash (in the black bags) to make sure there aren’t any recyclables in them. Now here’s the important part: Once the inspector notices recyclables in a black trash bag, (s)he fines the building and then turns into a detective. If there’s any identifiable garbage, they march up to the offender’s apartment and crack the whip. An envelope with your name on it? A letter with your apartment number on it? Your trash turns into an inspector’s dream.

SUMMARY
Recycle. And shred everything with your name and address on it.

An Open Letter Regarding “An Open Letter to ‘Never Forget’ Bumper Stickers”

In case Jolly Evil’s site goes down, I’ve pasted her entry at the bottom of this post. Trust me, it’s worth reading.

Dear Ms. Evil:
I’m a little late to the party, but I’d like to comment on an open letter you wrote in 2012 regarding “Never Forget” bumper stickers.

I read your post the day it went online, and I just read it again today. My reaction was the same each time. I was in tears. Part of those tears are from the guilt I feel about having my own emotional response to such a tragic event that I didn’t even witness in person. Just like the “Never Forget” bumper stickers, my emotions seem self-serving.

I’ve heard so many people across the country say they understand what it might have been like being in Lower Manhattan at the time. That’s not possible, and what you wrote makes that clear. Unless you’re pushing through checkpoints and wiping yellow dust from around your windows, you really can’t understand the magnitude. It’s hard to even acknowledge you saw the jumpers.

I was in a television newsroom the day the planes hit. Our executive producer initially rushed out of the control room to say we were going live to New York to cover a fire consuming the top of the North Tower. Some of the staff still thought it was a local news story and didn’t care. But then we saw the video feed of the plane hitting the South Tower. This is going to sound insanely callous, but the only other time I’ve heard a reaction that loud in a newsroom was when Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear. Please let me assure you, the difference in mood between these two events is as extreme as you’d expect. The plane hit the tower and there was a loud silence.

Despite the magnitude of the attack, the head of our network insisted we go to “alternate programming” and let our sister station cover it. (S)he came into the newsroom to announce it, and the loud silence ceased. There was simply a silence. One of my writers was so incensed, he immediately logged out and left. Our show team was released a short time later. When I got home, the Pentagon was on fire. I cried, just like I cried when I read your open letter. No one knew what was going on. The FAA had grounded flights. I looked outside my condo, and for the first time, I saw no planes or contrails. The skies where empty.

Network higher-ups cracked the whip and got us back on track. We were covering the attacks again. I immediately came back with a go-bag, ready to stay for as long as needed, in an attempt to help give the country an understanding of what was going on. But that was impossible. Rudy Giuliani with a dust mask? The towers collapsing? The video from Shanksville? People walking so many miles to get home? Ms. Evil, I’m so sorry. It did nothing for you. You were living in a world that video and words couldn’t explain. I tried. And failed. Everyone did.

I recently saw a very long documentary about New York City which ended with the attacks and the recovery. That’s why I looked for your post again. Just like the bumper stickers, the documentary seemed hollow, despite the extreme videos they showed. I agree with your opinion. Even for me, I don’t need constant reminders from things plastered on cars. I now live here in NYC, and am constantly forced to see that stupid building. I get uncomfortable when I see or hear airplanes flying over the island. And wow, I should mention again how much I hate seeing the Freedom Tower, not to mention the constant news reports about the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

I remember Ronald Reagan getting shot. I remember the Rodney King beating and the subsequent riots. And yeah, I remember the buildings collapsing with the insane number of conspiracy theorists later trying to hammer into our heads that the government was involved. Maybe I’d like to forget those things. I’d love to be able to stop dwelling on the attacks. The stickers aren’t helping.

Ms. Evil, you haven’t written in a while. I wish you would continue.

Respectfully,
-Zim

Dear Stickers,

What specifically are you concerned about me forgetting? My roommate waking me up in our dorm on 9th Street after the first plane hit? Seeing ant-sized jumpers, all falling at the same sickening speed? Watching the buildings crumble outside my window, like an action movie without the sound? 

I don’t need you to remind me about the hordes of exhausted, shell-shocked people trudging up Third Avenue, all colored beige, dust piling on the shoulders of men’s suit jackets and hanging from women’s hair in clumps. I lent my against-all-odds functioning cell phone to a woman who worked downtown, and I won’t forget how bizarre it was when she asked me if it was OK to make a long-distance call.

We were inside an emergency zone. Only residents were allowed south of 14th Street. People trying to get downtown all ended up in Union Square Park, including reporters, who were putting people on camera and letting them get hysterical. Going to the grocery store meant crossing a National Guard checkpoint and a mob. I remember showing our Student IDs to a Guardsman on our way back, and I remember his gun, the most threatening weapon I’ve ever seen in person.

Word got out that a theater south of the checkpoint was open for free. I did forget some of the movies we watched that afternoon. We saw at least three – everything that was playing except for Apocalypse Now Redux. When we left, the staff was handing out napkins for us to hold over our mouths. We would all grow accustomed to the thick, choking cloud, with its layers of yellow dust that gathered on our windowsills for months.

Stickers, I’ll be honest, I’d forget more if I could. Just enough to lose the worst of the feelings that come back sometimes. I’d like it if my chest didn’t seize up when planes fly overhead, or when I pass an officer with a semi-automatic rifle, or see one of you, who want so badly for me to remember the worst day of so many people’s lives.

It’s been 11 years, but you’re still surprisingly pervasive, with your block lettering and flag motifs. People are still buying you, sticking you on their cars and trucks so that everyone behind them gets the all-important reminder. But I promise, I will never forget lying in bed with my eyes wide open, thinking about the people buried alive two miles away. We’re good. You can all peel off now.

The original post is here.

 

Verizon Wireless and Network Extenders

[Imagine a logo of Verizon Wireless. I don't want another Cease and Desist order.]

This is a paraphrase of my lastest call to Verizon Wireless.

[Ring.] [Autobot maze.] Hello, this is Verizon Wireless. My name is Xxxxxx, how may I assist you this evening?”

“Hi. I just moved across the hall and now can’t get cell phone reception. I have to go five floors down to the lobby to make calls or receive messages. Can you help?”

“Certainly, Mr. Zim. I have your new address as Xxxxx Xxxxx Drive, Apt. Xxx. Is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“It looks like you’ll need a Network Extender. That will cost you $200. But before we sell that to you, we’ll have to confirm with the FCC that there are a limited number of Network Extenders in your area.”

[My brain melts and I recover.] “OK, I’d like to make sure I understand you, but I don’t you to feel that I’m lashing out at you personally. Are you saying that I’m a Verizon Wireless customer living in the most densely populated area of the United States, but I still can’t get reception? Even with a new-generation phone and higher-end cell phone plan? And now I have to pay an extra $200 for the privilege of using the service?”

“Yes.”

“And I can’t fix this any other way?”

“No.”

[My brain melts again. I recover again.] “OK, so I’m assuming Verizon doesn’t have enough cell phone repeaters in my area or that I’m blocked from getting signal from one. Does that sound about right?”

“Yes. The good news is that we can ship this to you immediately and you won’t have rental fees on the unit. It’s yours to keep.”

[Sigh.]

THE NETWORK EXTENDER
If you haven’t heard of Network Extenders before, let me introduce you to Network Extenders. They’re needed even in Manhattan. I paid the $200, knowing I was powerless to do anything else. I realize there’s going to be some “life hacker” who professes to know a cheap solution, but please don’t bother telling me about it. I just didn’t have the time to gather $100 worth of garbage and solder it all together to make it work. I plugged the Extender into an outlet and our router, and got a signal instantly. The only difference is that when we make a call, there’s a beep before the phone dials the number. We even hear the beep when we’re across the street or behind the building. Apparently this thing works. I want to hate the fact this is a necessary purchase, but it’s just easier to give in and move on. My current assumption is that there are no other Network Extenders in the area (how is that possible?) or that they found a way to link our Network Extender only to our phone numbers, so they can sell as many as possible in our area.

[Sigh]

Dear Spammer (part 2)

Spammer Number Two

YOU’VE COVERED ALL THE SPAMMER REQUIREMENTS
–Never bother to create an original avatar.
–Create a screen name that obviously points out you’re trying to sell a product or service.
–Use an IP address already linked to spammers.
–Create an email address from Germany, such as “SomeNameNotRemotelyLinkedToYourBusiness@SomeRandomSite.de”
–Add a URL linked to the product or service you’re selling. Add malware and spyware to the site.
–Never, ever have your comment make sense.

BREAKDOWN OF YOUR COMMENT
–“Web site” is actually one word… “website.”
–I don’t know what “quality depending articles” are, but if that’s an actual, logical phrase on the planet where you live (and your planet adheres to the same grammar rules), it should be written like this: “quality-depending articles.” I know you don’t want an explanation, but I’ll give you one anyway. “Quality” and “depending” are both modifying the noun “articles.” That makes “quality depending” a compound modifier. All compound modifiers require a hyphen. The hyphen turns both words into a single adjective, which helps people more efficiently follow along while they’re reading.
–Since you’re obviously a fan of brevity, I question the logic of starting this run-on statement/question with “I know.” It’s not really needed, although I get why you added it.
–I would also like to suggest deleting “and additional material.” The articles themselves are the material, which makes your additional words redundant. It’s like saying “I know your restaurant offers delicious food and additional food…”
–Your comma makes me hang my head in shame. Honestly, I’m embarrassed for you. Use a period instead, then start your question with the initial letter capitalized: “Is…”
–Knowing the massive amount of websites available to humans, it would make more sense to ask “Are there any other web pages…”
–“Which” is a word that typically introduces a nonessential clause. Use “that” instead.
–You wrote “offers” twice. I’m certain you can find a replacement for one of them if you thought for a second or two.
–The word “things” is an abstraction. Try to avoid abstractions if you desire stronger writing.

MY SUGGESTION
“Your website is fascinating. Do you know of any others that include such quality articles?”

Sincerely,
-Zim

Overheard on the Subway

A guy was taking to his female companion, pointing out he has started hearing people complain when they have to reach into their pocket for their cell phones to access the internet. Like it was too much effort. He wondered how long it would take before wearable voice-based computers became normal. Her reply:

Google Glass is the Segue of the 21st century… and “Owner of a Lonely Heart” would have been much better with more cowbell.”

There was obviously a little tangent there at the end, but we listened to the song when we got back to the apartment. Yeah, more cowbell would have been a nice addition. Remix, anyone?

Dear Zim

I got a non-spam comment immediately after publishing that post about a spammer. From reader “B:”

Hey Zim,
Just saw your latest two posts on WordPress Reader. They seemed out of place. You’re not turning into a curmudgeon are you? ;)
B [Rest of the name withheld for privacy reasons]

B:
Absolutely not. Just coincidence. To prove I’m not permanently curmudgeon-y, here’s a photo of a 23-year-old Spam t-shirt. Still looking pretty new.
-Zim

Spam Shirt
SPAM is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods, LLC. Copyright. All rights reserved. Etc.

Dear Spammer

I shall now engage in an activity similar to arguing with a brick wall.

Out of the dozens of spam comments I receive, this one caught my eye. It’s from “muscle mass builder exercise” regarding my rant on listicles.

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site?
Its very well written; I love what youve
got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one
or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

AN OPEN LETTER TO MMBE
Dear MMBE:

Even though you’re either a spammer selling a product or an automaton, I’d still like to thank you for so nicely inquiring about my walls of text. I’ve been breathlessly waiting for a complaint linked to my blatant disinterest in photos.

[Imagine a photo of an ubiquitous internet kitten.]

Before I go further, please allow me to remind you that I take people a lot more seriously when they adhere to the basic principles of grammar. In your case…

–Your first sentence should end with a period, not a question mark.
–You use way too many hard returns. If you insist on using them, remember not to split sentences.
–You need to include apostrophes in your contractions.
–I’m fascinated that you know what a semicolon is, although it’s not necessary here. You could easily replace it with the word “and” for a much more logical sentence structure.
–“…what youve [sic] got to say” should be written like this: “…what you have to say.”
–You probably don’t know what “sic” means. Google it. (You might need to Google “automaton” as well.)
–Your third sentence is missing a word.
–You’re inconsistent with your use of numbers. You typed “one” and then “2.” According to certain style guides, you should spell out numbers smaller than 10. In other words, you should have typed “one” and “two.”
— I’m on the fence about your closing question mark. If you write like you speak, maybe I’d let it go. But even then, that means you “talk up,” which I find annoying. It comes through in your writing. I would suggest a period instead.
–I know I’m being nit-picky about this one, but your use of “better” twice in the span of three sentences suggests you have a limited vocabulary.
–One more tiny suggestion: Capitalize the first letter in each word of your screen name. That all-lower-case thing isn’t working for me.

[Imagine a photo of something I ate for lunch with a caption including "Yum!"]

Now let’s dissect what you wrote based on the post you commented about. That post includes a humorous visual element linked to the topic, as well as a screen grab at the bottom. In the middle of those embedded items, my text is separated into sections with headings in bold type. The only long section includes 50 examples, but they’re in a bullet-list format. Personally, I think it’s visually arresting.

[Now here's a link to someone who hates you.]

Since you asked, I’d like to explain why I use a limited number of photos. I hate them. I hate taking them. I hate looking for them just to make my worthless posts look pretty. I write to burn off steam, and if I took the time to search for photos or take my own, I would end up annoyed and have less time to write. That, in turn, would force me to burn off more steam. And that, dear MMBE, would leave you with more posts with walls of text to sift through. Despite your complimentary tone, some people might think I’m a horrible writer with nothing important to say. I might even agree with them. All I know is that after reading your comment, I’m sure everyone would agree I write better than you.

If it really disturbs you that I don’t use enough photos, I’d like to point out the massive number of books that contain none. Hardbacks? No photos inside. Paperbacks? No photos inside. Digital books? No photos inside. Dr. Seuss books? Yeah, those have photos. Illustrations, actually. Either way, they’re cool. Maybe you could give those books a try. Start with Green Eggs and Ham. It’s a classic.

[Imagine one last photo: a baby that looks like almost every other baby on the planet.]

I will now direct you to some posts that contain multiple photos. Here’s one. Here’s another. This one ended up with blurry pictures, but I have since purchased a new camera. This one has a ton of photos, but the formatting is close to embarrassing. This post is more visually pleasing. Gape at those miracles of editorial brilliance and let me know if you got a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Respectfully,
Zim

Editorial: The Worst Article in the History of Articles

People are giving away free food. Apparently, it’s practically a crime. Gothamist published a petulant article yesterday with the headline “Sorry Queens, the U.S. Open’s Free Food Truck is for Manhattan Only.” I was stupidly curious enough to click and read the rest. Here’s a summary of the four paragraphs:

PARAGRAPH 1
Fact: People behind the U.S. Open are getting a food truck and giving away free food.
Whiny Response: It’s a publicity stunt that will only take place in Manhattan.

PARAGRAPH 2
Fact: The U.S. Open is being held in Queens, with the truck handing out free food three times at popular spots in Manhattan.
Whiny Response: Giving out free food is horrible if you ignore the other four boroughs.

PARAGRAPH 3
Fact: The U.S. Tennis Association said they have limited time and wanted to focus on high-traffic areas that would reach more people.
Whiny Response: Drunk fans and people who tolerate stadium construction should also get free food.

PARAGRAPH 4
Fact: The USTA is holding its first-ever Queens Day event with live music from a range of Queens-based bands. There will also be opportunities to get coupons and offers from Queens-based business, including local restaurants.
Whiny Response: The USTA has the audacity to hold a free event.

ACCURATE TRANSLATION OF THE FACTS
The USTA is holding a free event in Queens and giving away free food in Manhattan in conjunction with the U.S. Open.

PURPOSE OF THE ARTICLE
To increase Gothamist’s web traffic by manipulating facts and attempting to generate misplaced rage. It worked at least once because I’m dumb enough to add the link to my own website. Gothamist wins.

The food editor at Gothamist tries to shock us into believing the USTA is ignoring Queens by giving away free food in Manhattan, but obliterates her own argument by adding that the Association is holding a free event in Queens. To soften the blow of this contradiction, the author describes the free event by using quotes to describe the USTA’s goal: To “celebrate the borough.” She also waits until the last sentence to announce that the event is free, ending by saying it should “help offset the cost of the dinner you’ll have to pay for.”

I fully understand this is 2014, and the need to cut through the clutter and get attention requires media outlets to take extreme measures. But when those extreme measures include a blatant lack of perspective and a total ignorance of editorial judgment, that goes a little too far. Giving away free food is not a publicity stunt. It’s marketing. The USTA is not ignoring Queens if it’s holding a free event in Queens. This is not the time to make yet another feeble attempt to criticize Manhattan because it gets more attention than the other boroughs. I honestly do feel bad that some tourists limit themselves to the areas between Central Park and Battery Park. But the U.S. Open is one of the bigger events that actually gets them outside their typical comfort zone. The author should just retitle her article “Hey, There’s a Popular Event in Queens But I’ve Still Found a Way to Advance My Hate-Agenda By Pointing Out that Manhattan is the Most Popular Tourist Area of the United States and One of the World’s Financial Centers.”

I wonder where the author lives. I’ll bet you anything that if tourists invaded her neighborhood like they do Times Square, she’d find a way to complain about that too. She should do herself a favor and title her next article “Top 10 Reasons Why I Ignore the Basic Rules of Journalism and Should Start Putting Quote Marks Around My Job Title of Food Editor.”

This has been an editorial from a former news writer who’s now nothing more than an admitted hack… and lives in a part of New York City that’s also ignored by tourists and trucks with free food.

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