It is late August once again, the time when newspaper columnists’ thoughts turn to getting their columns in quick so they can get to the park and enjoy the weather. As such, it is list time at the Post-Gazette.
Columnists love lists because they are simple to compile and fill space quickly. As Tony Norman says in today’s column:
[I]n lieu of actual work, I present a list of fiction and CDs I’ve picked up over the last year that I’ve enjoyed.
This is an error on Tony’s part. He should have gotten two columns out of this premise, one of books and the other of records. As it is, he is only able to discuss the books in any detail, and the records section is nothing but a list of names, indicating nothing except perhaps that Tony Norman listens to far too much college radio for a man of his age.
Brian O’Neill, known on the streets as Bone-Ill, takes Tony to school. he got not just one but two columns out of a much more limited premise: lists of Pennsylvania movies. Now that is opinion-writing excellence.
When you see these fellows out on the frisbee-golf course, you can ask them for the secrets of their success. They will tell you:
1. Listing things.
2. Writing them down.
3. Typing them into a computer.
4. Commentary, if there is time.
5. Out of the office by eleven!