CULTURE

From Bernie Sanders to Pope Francis, These Are the Worst Sentences of 2019

The Lyttle Lytton Contest has highlighted the worst sentences of 2019.

While many people appreciate great writing, sometimes terrible writing is so hilariously bad that it deserves attention, too.

That's the premise behind the Lyttle Lytton Contest, an annual competition held by beloved interactive fiction writer Adam Cadre with the sole intent of highlighting the comedy of bad writing.

Entrants into the Lyttle Lytton Contest imagine themselves as fictional authors writing fictional novels. They then compose the worst possible opening line(s) under 200 characters long.

The full list of 2019 winners, as chosen by Adam Cadre, can be found here. Highlights are as follows:

bernie sanders Senator Bernie Sanders And Group Of Bipartisan Legislators Reintroduce Resolution To End U.S. Support For Saudi-Led War In Yemen Getty Images


1. "The POTUS (President of the United States), who was Bernie Sanders instead of Donald Trump, started his job for the day." -Jake Scott

This is a beautiful entry, as it immediately breaks the fiction of its own narrative while still seeming like a believable opening to a Bernie Sanders fan fiction.

2. "Manfred, Freya the Viking goddess's last raid's 9-months-later surprise, cried for nursing. Meanwhile Blutdurst, the passionate and devoted battle-axe, urged for sharpening." -Dominikus Plaschg

What adventures does fate hold in store for Manfred the Viking God baby and Blutdurst, the dull battle-axe? These sentences are both so, so stupid, and yet somehow compelling.

3. "If I'd have known then that it would be my own brother under the clown mask, under the phantom pirate mask, I never would've agreed to split up and check it out, not for a million Scooby Snacks." -Gabriel Stevenson

Continually referencing Scooby Doo seems to be a key element of this hypothetical novel, which is actually frankly amazing.

4. "Natalie, an atypical girl, sat reading Beowulf as her uneducated girl peers sniggered around her." -Anonymous

YA fiction usually tends to revolve around children who are outsiders in some way, but usually that's explained with a bit more subtlety.

5. "Truant children mocked Jack Tranton as he walked. He could have easily dispatched them with his military training. But he ignored them." -Max Peake

The best way to connect audiences with a character is to describe their capability of killing children.

juggalos Joseph Bruce, Violent J, Joseph Utsler, Shaggy 2 Dope ASSOCIATED PRESS

6. "Tiffany had always dreamed of attending the Gathering, but even as Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J stomped triumphantly onstage, she couldn't take her eyes off Brian." -David Otto

The fact that there isn't a well-known Juggalo romance novel is a downright tragedy.

7. "Her perfectly formed breasts swayed soothingly as I (also a woman, this isn't a 'male gaze' thing) fell in love with them." -Greg Filpus

Don't worry, this male-authored lesbian romance is not about ogling women's perfectly formed, smoothly swaying breasts. It is NOT THAT.

8. "Light flowed like butter into the morning windowpane." -Anonymous

Can light flow like butter? If so, how?

9. "Sally was fully prepared to slide down the water slide to impress Frank akin to how her eggs slid from her ovaries down her pubescent Fallopian tubes." -Ryan Tang

This sentence reads so uncomfortably, it's frightening. Presumably, the author would later be outed as a pedophile.

2019's Winning Entry:

green parrot Creative Commons / Arthur Chapman

10. "'Are you okay?' asks my sister Tlaloc. 'You're as green as the parrots that inhabit this part of the continent.'" -Lachlan Redfern

This one's especially clever because good world-building revolves around detailing the world through showing, not telling. Lachlan knows this, so he tries to convey the setting as South America through a simile involving green parrots. Unfortunately—or fortunately—it is a very, very, very bad simile.

"FOUND":

The "Found" entries highlighted by the awards are real sentences found in the wild, not crafted for the specific intent of being laughed at. Too bad.

pope francis

11. "With her 'yes,' Mary became the most influential woman in history. Without social networks, she became the first 'influencer': the 'influencer' of God." -@Pontifex tweet quoted by Aidan Lockett

Pope Francis' tweet from earlier this year made the list, of course. It is possibly one of the most horrendous things ever written, and as a book's opening it would be wonderful.

12. "Papua New Guinea is so violent that more than 820 languages are spoken there." "Ask E. Jean: My Husband Is Sleeping with My Mother" quoted by Katherine Morayati

This seems objectively racist.

2019's "Found" Winning Entry:

Alex Rider Stormbreaker Puffin Books

13. "It was a soft gray night with a half-moon forming a perfect D in the sky. D for what, Alex wondered. Danger? Discovery? Or Disaster? Only time would tell." -Alex Rider: Stormbreaker quoted by Ben Roberts

There is a real book out there that opens with a character apparently discerning a secret, English-language-based message to himself from the moon.

Culture Feature

​​This Haunts Me: The Shredded Cheese Wife Guy

One Texas couple became a meme after they went 18 minutes without shredded cheese on their fajitas. What could be worse?

Courtesy of Junkee

Karens. Even if you don't know them by name, you know who they are.

Karens have been asking to speak to managers all over American suburbia ever since Kate Gosselin debuted her infamous reverse-mullet on Jon and Kate Plus 8 in 2007. "Karens"—the collective nickname for middle-aged entitled white women who love nothing more than being pains in your ass—have been walking among us for quite some time, but as shelter-in-place orders and mask mandates have taken over the world, the presence of Karens has become even more apparent.

Last weekend, a Karen went viral in a since-deleted Tweet for a reason only Karens would empathize with. Jason Vicknair, a 40-year-old man from Allen, Texas, was just trying to enjoy his first date night out in three months with his wife at a Tex-Mex restaurant called Mi Cocina. Things took a turn for the worse.

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CULTURE

This Week in Internet Hell: "Game of Thrones" Is Sexist and YouTube Gets Emotionally Violent

What's a "ProJared" and why should we care? Society has proven once more that we love sticking our noses into strangers' emotional conflicts and watching their personal lives burn.

VectorStock

But on to the really important news this week: Society has proven once more that we love sticking our noses into strangers' emotional conflicts and watching their personal lives burn. It's not that we love or condone emotional violence—we're just terrible people who are glad not to be one of the following individuals.

1. No One Knew What "Camp" Meant at the Met Gala—but Neither Do We?

All we learned from this year's exclusive event is that its theme of camp isn't gender-bending fashion, Zendaya in a Cinderella dress, or Lady Gaga removing layers like she's melting from all the attention. It might be Lena Waithe's historic jacket, though.

AsiaTatler

2. Game of Thrones Doesn't Know How a Woman Thinks or Speaks or Acts or Survives

With its final season winding down, Game of Thrones seems to believe that women can't be strong without men and that people can suddenly see in the dark. With female characters showing poor development, weepy dependence on others for validation, and given deeply problematic lines, it's almost like the show...maybe...just isn't that good or worth the hype in the first place? Sorry, never mind me: I'm a "Never Seen an Episode and Don't Care" type of viewer, according to our writer's Dan Kahan's Game of Thrones quiz, "What Type of Viewer Are You?"

popdust internet hell Brienne ugly-crying like the amazing, strong, beautiful woman that she isMetro

But on to the important questions: Was that or was that NOT a damn Starbucks cup in front of Dany?!

popdust game of thrones starbucks cup What was news like before "Game of Thrones"?USA Today

3. YouTube Gamers ProJared and JonTron Trended on Twitter

This man is an online "celebrity." Gaming YouTuber ProJared is apparently divorcing his wife, who, among other things, accused him of soliciting nude photos from his underage fans. Once again, this man earns his living by owning a YouTube account.

Twitter

4. Honor the release of It: Chapter Two's trailer by buying your very own Pennywise!

We loved Stephen King's classic novel It, we enjoyed the film adaptation, and we maybe peed ourselves a little when the trailer for the sequel premiered this week. So in the vein of evil clown fandom, please consider purchasing this eBay seller's "Haunted 20 inch tall CLOWN Doll spirit Vessel. Supernatural Paranormal power."

Meet Ollie, "a spiritual hobo clown vessel that is 20 inches tall. Sometimes late at night you will hear talking in his room. We have seen Shadow figures all around him. Ollie the hobo like's to play with the car keys, like hiding them at times and putting them right back where you first looked for them, he is a joker. He also likes to play with the lights and TV remote, Radio and much more. I got his name from my spirit box voice recorder and confirmed it on my Ouija Board as Ollie."

User: terris145 /eBay Everything Else>Metaphysical>Psychic, Paranormal

User: terris145 /eBay Everything Else>Metaphysical>Psychic, Paranormal

5. Please Let This "Nice Man" Drive Your Car to Florida

Here at Popdust Internet Hell we usually feature one of Florida's gloriously dumb criminals, from posing as a police officer to pull over an actual police officer to smearing your own feces all over a public picnic table. But this week, we just want to spotlight this lovely Craigslist user who wants the best for you and your car and is maybe also fleeing the state: "➡ Nice Man Will Drive Your Car To South Florida"➡ Nice Man Will Drive Your Car To South Florida." Good luck, Michael!

Craigslist



Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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