When I heard of the KU football team’s miraculous win over Georgia Tech Saturday I went straight to Kansas City’s news source – the Kansas City Star – for the tale of the tape. Had it been a nail biter, a see-saw battle whose outcome was only determined in the closing seconds? I wanted the straight scoop, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Instead what did I get?
A drawn out exercise in overwrought sportswriting by Star sports reporter J. Brady McCollough. A story that actually kept me from the information I sought. For five complete paragraphs it tap danced before giving even the game score.
Surely now, I then thought, the who, what, where, when and why would settle in and I’d learn what happened.
On McCollough rambled for another 14 – seriously count ’em – graphs before even relating that KU quarterback Jordan Webb completed four passes in the first quarter on KU’s second possession.
By then frustration had set in. I wanted to read about the game, not some sportswriting homer waxing Homer. KU’s win was not the Iliad nor was there a reason to send readers on an odyssey of purple prose.
What’s purple prose?
“Prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself,” one definition reads. “Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated sentiment or pathos