Sunday, October 2, 2011

Name that Author

More newspapermen have been ruined by self-importance  than by liquor.
-- Walter Lippmann, 1940

Let’s limber up with some stylistic analysis.

An op-ed this morning in a major national newspaper  begins thus:

I’ve done a lot of television book interviews lately, and I continue to be struck at …

For twenty points:  Who wrote that?

…   (tick,   tick,    tick)

-- You guessed it!  Thomas Friedman!

He never disappoints.   Read further and you will learn that

The term “outsourcing” is also out of date. There is no more “out” anymore.

!!! No “out” anymore.  “Out” is out!  Tell your friends! -- Uh-oh, now that we’re all “hyperconnected” (©2011 Thomas L. Friedman, All Rights Reserved), they’ve probably already heard anyway.  Quickly, hurry on to the Next Big Thing.  -- Darn!  Tom’s already there.

~     ~     ~

Scholars have long used stylistic analysis to determine disputed authorship.  Bacon or Shakespeare?  Here, for example, is Hamlet, had it been written by Tom Friedman:

To be, or not to be?  Now, that’s a very good question.  I myself have asked that exact same question of countless cabbies in innumerable world capitals, in the course of my global travels, and they  always tell me the same thing.  “Tom,” they say, leaning over confidentially…

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