Not his best work

November 21, 2007

My parents say that clear, effective writing is in decline, and not just among instant-messaging teenagers. My dad’s favorite examples of this include the messages penned by Robert Redford for his Sundance catalogs. The latest one is a doozy. (Read it aloud for maximum effect.)

Holidays again. Forgive me while I dodge the rumble of the million footed throngs that have succumbed to the marketing ether for Christmas and its days.

Holiday. Can we, without disappointing the children and others who long for the surprise of gift giving, just look to a different value to digest, wherever you are? Those details that are natural and sometimes hidden? That have a satisfying and long lasting lifespan? Things that you miss when you’re away? That when someone might remind you, you say, oh yes, how wonderful. And of course the most vivid of details: loved ones who are there in body and spirit.

Happy holidays from all of us at Sundance.

Didn’t that go down about as smoothly as a sixth serving of pecan pie? Personally, I was so distracted by Redford’s clunky syntax and questionable grammar that I almost missed the irony of seeing these anti-commercial sentiments in a holiday catalog of luxury items.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your most vivid of details.


  1. Ironic, I think, is the way Mr. Redford? uses his poorly worded; phrases to entreaty us not to buy things?In his, Sundance catalog? Where, he, sells things.Merry Turkey day.

  2. I wonder if Redford originally wrote this in Japanese and then had it badly translated. It sounds a lot like "Engrish"; see engrish.com for examples.

  3. OMG, LOL!!!!

  4. Besides the poor grammar and just plain odd word and phrase choices, his writing drips with so much irony that I'm afraid I'll need an endless supply of bath towels to clean it up. Sigh. Why doesn't he just say, "Hey y'all! Pretend to simplify, but actually buy, buy, buy!" The message would be much easier to understand.

  5. Ha! Sounds a lot like the classic "all your base are belong to us", especially since it's even more blatant when compared to your excellent writing.Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and had enough turkey to satisfy your long lasting lifespan.

  6. A big hearty congrats is due over here!CONGRATULATIONS Ultrarunner of the Year!

  7. Hysterical! It inspired me to look up the similarly overwrought style of Coldwater Creek catalogs. Here's an excerpt:Look around: do you see the magic of Christmas? It's there – lit by a piney candle, the spark of an earring, the whirling satin of a dancing dress. Your own joy makes it all the more personal. So, then: Celebrate. Laugh. Have a child's sense of wonder for this, the most magical time of year.A) Star light, star bright, first star they see tonight may be – you, in an Eastern-influenced duster of midnight black glinting with coppery luster. A tapestry weave of exceptional detail; a long, lean jacket of timeless lines with formal French-knot closures…(I'll spare you the rest)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: