Yes, when I was about 17, my friend David’s father took us to one of the Watergate hearings in New York. He was a real serious lawyer. As a young man, he had worked for the government at the Japanese War Crimes trials. He worked at that time for Metromedia, TV channel 9 in New York I believe. He was so excited about the trials, he was almost gleeful. We went in on the train and met him at what I assume was the Federal courthouse. He had some kind of passes, but we still had to wait in line to jockey our way in past the reporters. The name Whitney North Seymour pops out of my memory. Dave’s Dad was a great admirer of the man with the million dollar name; perhaps the story was he had worked for him or with him in the old days. I remember it was the trial of Richard Kleindienst and was a turning point because he was one in a long line of successive Attorney Generals and he was the first honest guy who was willing to talk. Infamous John Mitchell testified that day which was the real highlight of the proceedings. He was the very definition of the word “staunch” in the way that Dick Cheney might define the word “snarling.” His even more notorious wife Martha was there and at the time she was more watched by the tabloids than her doomed husband. Doesn’t Nixon seem almost innocent compared to the creepy liars we have in office now? His deceptions were almost quaint in their “I shall take over the world and do away with my enemies” simplicity. I think so.
Now even Harvard people can’t write! I feel like I am living the movie “Idiocracy.” Again, it’s not so much that people write badly. It’s that editors let it get through! They’re the ones who are supposed to be in charge! Their job is to make all that copy presentable. It’s an article about Harvard trying to expand it’s real estate holdings into residential neighborhoods. We all know they’d eventually like to swallow up the whole city of Cambridge… gets rid of all those unpleasant poor and blue-collar people. I’ll add details later. I’m too upset right now.
Here’s some details–it’s the May-June 2007 issue of Harvard Magazine. An unattributed article called “Ready for Growth? begins on page 60 in the mag section entitled “John Harvard’s Journal.” After a good lead line, the first paragraph goes all to hell with sentences like
The public first heard of the project in 2003, but as this issue went to press, a neighborhood association remained concerned about aspects of it, the job was out for bids, but Harvard had yet to secure permission from the city to proceed.
The thing that threw me off was the botched list of facts telling me 1) a neighborhood association remained concerned about aspects of it, 2) the job was out for bids, and 3) [??] There was no 3! There wasn’t even an “and.” Instead, there was a “but.” But I realize now that the comma after “aspects of it” should probably have been a semicolon or a colon or a dash. More run-on sentences, my pet peeve.
Soon enough, there’s a semicolon that should have been a period. It’s one of those long sentences beginning with “In March 2004…” There’s no reason on God’s green earth that the word “planning” should be followed by a semicolon. The next part of sentence, beginning with “after 14 public meetings,” is undeniably a complete sentence, easily able to stand on its own two feet. There’s more where that came from, but I’m tired, and it’s late…