You’re not William Faulkner

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From the L.A. Times:

«Los Angeles has the largest intact, though now dormant, movie theater district in the nation, having lost to the wrecker’s ball only three major palaces: the cavernous Hill Street at 8th and Hill; the Paramount at 6th and Hill, a glorious Crypto-Egypto-Mesozoic pile of poured concrete with a Spanish exterior so solidly built that the contractor hired to tear it down lost his shirt in the process; and over on Main Street, the California, its elegant Beaux Arts facade never altered, not even its marquee, until it was replaced by a parking structure.»

Where to begin? Kudos for using a colon to denote the start of a list and using semicolons as list markers for long, comma-containing phrases. However, this technical achievement has produced a train-wreck of prose that’s so dense and unwieldy that only sex-starved matrons from the Victorian era would enjoy teasing the content out from this mess.

If a writer cares a wit for his reader, he will not subject them to long, streched-out sentences so chocked full of complex descriptions of list items that the original sentence is utterly obliterated. Let’s see if we can clean this up a bit.

Los Angeles has the largest intact, though now dormant, movie theater district in the nation. The wrecker’s ball has claimed only three major theatre palaces: the cavernous Hill Street, the formidable Paramount and the ornate California.

Try as I might, I cannot fit in the additional information about these ancient theatres into the new paragraph in good conscience, since this article attempts to review the movie Grindhouse, not give a survey of L.A. movie houses. It’s true that some fascinating details (and word count) are lost in my version, but I think it reads better.

What do you think?