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Monday, October 03, 2005

Worst sentence from the weekend papers

I have a nominee for the title of "Worst sentence from the weekend papers."

It occurred in a story written by Paul Salopek in the October 2, 2005 edition of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Midwest Edition, on page 1 in a story titled: "Last Stand in the Arctic."

The story is about a dwindling herd of caribou in the Yukon Territory. I'll not go into the merits of the story; you can decide that for yourself. The set-up is that Old Stephen Frost, a Gwitchin Indian elder has just fired his rifle twice at eight caribou in the water. The shots go high. The caribou head to the bank of a stream.

Here's the sentence:
Peering back at Frost with the large, frank eyes of children, the animals vanish into a maze of willow branches dense as basketry.
I'm not wondering how the animals can be peering back and vanishing into the woods at the same time. (However, I do have a mental picture of the caribou backing into the woods). No, most readers will be familiar enough with how deer behave to know what Mr. Salopek was describing.

It's the "large, frank eyes of children" part.

Perhaps my title is a little harsh; the description of the brush along the streambank being a "maze of willow branches dense as basketry" is a gem.

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