Wednesday, February 5, 2014

That's Going to Leave a Mark

by H. Linn Murphy

I missed my post date because I had the most vicious flu I'd had in a decade.* I wasn't getting out of bed for anything, including food. But now I think I will live. I'm back up and ready to wow. So here it comes:

The Olympics are here in all their heroic majesty. And less-than-majesty. I always wonder whether much of the glitter is a fey glamor cast by lots of clever spin. How much of our country's (or any other) mistakes are swept under the bleachers along with other countries' victories? How many of the home country's gaffs find the light of day?
No clue who this really is.

Part of the problem is the writing (or lack of). Some of the things these Doorknobs say are ridiculous. Listening to them often reminds me of watching Mystery Science Theater 2000. Who makes these things up?

For instance who sits there (In I forget which Olympics) after the pairs man has dropped the female on her face and after she rises bloody and nearly missing a tooth, "Oh that might hurt."
Or of downhill skiing, "These guys are going really fast but they still might get beaten." Huh? I would think that if you're going to be on international TV commenting on an Olympic sport that you'd want to study up about your sport. I'd personally want not to sound like an inbred baboon in front of millions of people.

Apparently it doesn't bother some people, because they continue to say dorky things on an ongoing basis from Olympics to Olympics. What they really need, if they can't possibly become an expert about their sport, is a cheat sheet of intelligent things to say and those occasions when it's safe to say them. Or barring that, at least cut out the head-to-wall-banging "duh" comments that try to tell us what our own eyeballs have already deduced and make the comments funny:

"That special skating uniform gave our American skater a boost, but it won't be enough to catch the Dutchman, Sven Kramer. He puts in longer hours, has a skating venue right outside his door, and has the drive to do it on sheer talent, without having to rely on a speedy suit."
Or:
"Our skater must have forgotten to take off his skate guards because Kramer's air wake just blew him off the ice."
Or maybe:
"It's all over but the crying. Let's go out for ice cream."

"He missed that triple toe loop due to coming down sideways on his right blade going a direction the leg just isn't designed to turn."
Or:
"Holy Rubberlegs, Batman. He looked like the stretchy dude from the Fantastic Four. That's gonna leave a mark."

"Bode's times have been consistently the fastest times on the mountain. He carves his turns well and keeps his body tucked and quiet. He isn't afraid to take a risk but he knows when to do it. Watch him cut across the hill to avoid the rough place at the bend which has foundered three skiers already this morning."

"Clearly Sochi's unseasonable warm weather is going to make trouble for skiers. The warm afternoons will melt the snow, which will then ice over at night, leaving the slopes slicker than a politician trying to explain insurance reform to his constituents. Skiers will need to wax their skis to accommodate the temperature changes."

"Missing that shot means Burke will have to do an extra loop of the trail as a penalty. It'll be a miracle if he can ski to a win, now. The Austrian had an extra loop due to a missed shot, but he put on a burst of speed it's doubtful Burke can dredge up."

Just like the sports writer and his commentator, the writers of other literature need to do their homework so they know what they're talking about. *Do your research. *Write what you know and have done, if possible. *Talk to people who have really 'been there and done that' if you can't be there, even if you're writing fiction. *The more firsthand your information is, the more accurate. Just like when playing 'Telephone' the further you get from the source, the more scope for fallacies. 

(Disclaimer: I have no idea if any of these pictures actually match the names of the athletes I mentioned just as examples. They're simply stock photos.)

[* Edited: moved to Feb 5, the regular post date for our blogger.]

1 comment:

  1. I'm still rolling over the fact that a minister said we know they have hot water for their showers because we are taping them turning on the water and leaving the condo. I mean really!!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.