The Red Pen of Doom

Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.

Category Archives: Speechwriting

Defense against the Dark Arts: Propaganda vs. journalism and rhetoric

As the race for the White House gears up, you are being bombarded with stories, 30-second ads, attack tweets and Instagram videos. Back in the 1970s, the average person got … Continue reading

September 24, 2015 · 2 Comments

How Obama’s 2015 State of the Union tries to break the mold

State of the Union speeches are tough. Here’s why: (1) By tradition, you have to lay out a laundry list of policy ideas. (2) Laundry lists are inherently boring. (3) … Continue reading

January 22, 2015 · 2 Comments

The one where my wife gives WWU’s commencement speech and PEOPLE CRY

Here’s the thing:¬†20 years ago, my wife and I put on black robes and listened to speeches before getting our pigskins from Western Washington University‚Äďand exactly a week later, got … Continue reading

November 12, 2014 · 3 Comments

Why creativity gets squashed like a bug

Oh, everybody says they want something new and creative. But as this article from Slate shows, even places that are supposed by be hotbeds of artistic and creative genius, like … Continue reading

December 8, 2013 · 6 Comments

Mixed Writing Arts is to writing as MMA is to fighting

Since the dawn of time, writers have spent their lives toiling in their own secret tribes and guilds, each clan claiming to have mastered the One True Art. Copywriters swore … Continue reading

December 4, 2013 · 1 Comment

Watch this rare and beautiful graduation speech – DO IT NOW

Most graduation / commencement speeches put the B in Boring and fall into three categories: (1) standard “go change the world!” blah-blah you’ve heard 20 times before, (2) people trying … Continue reading

May 25, 2013 · 3 Comments

Top 10 Myths of Journalism School

Oh, if I could go back in time, and whisper in the ear of my younger self during journalism school. Not that I was busy screwing it up. Editor-in-chief of … Continue reading

September 12, 2012 · 15 Comments

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