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Do You Recognize the Cadence of This Sentence?
Old 04-19-2018, 08:44 AM   #1
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Do You Recognize the Cadence of This Sentence?

The first sentence of a novel I'm working on will be this:

The president ... for lack of a better word ... was a crook.

I want most of the readers to immediately recognize the "sound" of that sentence as being like this quote from the movie Wall Street:

https://youtu.be/VVxYOQS6ggk?t=41s

Did you recognize it?
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Old 04-19-2018, 08:53 AM   #2
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Nope. But we go to about one movie a year and that one isn't on the list.

But everybody's a copy editor, right? I think your verb is misplaced. I would suggest:

"The president was ... for lack of a better word ... a crook."
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:13 AM   #3
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Love that movie. Some of the extras in the movie were from my former firms. Was in my 20's then and all excited about working in that area.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:17 AM   #4
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For those old enough to remember Watergate, it brings back "I am not a crook..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The first sentence of a novel I'm working on will be this:

The president ... for lack of a better word ... was a crook.

I want most of the readers to immediately recognize the "sound" of that sentence as being like this quote from the movie Wall Street:

https://youtu.be/VVxYOQS6ggk?t=41s

Did you recognize it?
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:36 AM   #5
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It didn't ring a bell.

Also, to pick a nit: I think "Gecko" uses the "...for lack of a better word..." phrase to subtly recognize that the term "good" is an imperfect one because of its multiple meanings. In his context, I think he means "functionally advantageous," ("that is a good starting salary to advertise, we'll get some qualified applicants") as distinct from "morally correct." The shock value of the phrase is in the listener's conflation of these two meanings.

"Crook" has a straightforward meaning. If "the President is a crook," there is no "lack of a better word" to describe him. Maybe " . . . for lack of a more polite term . . . ", but there's no "better" term.

Again, a nit. I am NOT a published author!
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Old 04-19-2018, 10:26 AM   #6
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I did not recognize the phrase as being related to Wall Street. Could also be because I haven’t seen the movie since it was in theaters (I was 15 at the time).
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
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For those old enough to remember Watergate, it brings back "I am not a crook..."
+1
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:10 PM   #8
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My undergrad degree is in journalism. We had a whole class on copy editing! Blue-pencil that bad boy to "The president was a crook, according to several sources inside the White House"!

[Then the musical theater fans can hear the cadence of "The Gentleman is a Dope"]

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Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
But everybody's a copy editor, right? I think your verb is misplaced. I would suggest:

"The president was ... for lack of a better word ... a crook."
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:29 PM   #9
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Yep. I 'heard' it immediately.
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:47 PM   #10
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Immediate recognition.
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Old 04-19-2018, 07:35 PM   #11
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Interesting. I thought it would be more recognizable. Glad I checked.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
For those old enough to remember Watergate, it brings back "I am not a crook..."
Yes, and I saw Wall Street, and I remember the "greed is good" theme (though not so much in that exact phrasing).

But 'president' and 'crook' conjures up Dick Nixon in no uncertain terms for me.

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Old 04-20-2018, 07:41 AM   #13
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For those old enough to remember Watergate, it brings back "I am not a crook..."
+1 that is what went through my mind when I read it.
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Old 04-20-2018, 07:58 AM   #14
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"Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal..."
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