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Ask The Plant

By Benjamin Wexler

Copy Editor

How do I write a good Ask The Plant?


Very Real Question Asker

Well, the first thing you need to understand about writing an Ask The Plant is that disinterested snark is far more valuable than strong writing or inspiring content. This is a simple task. The most journalistic research that can reasonably be expected of you is a quick look at the last Ask The Plant — that allows the writing style to spread like an infectious disease. But you knew that already, you rascal, volunteering for the column with four essays due.

Of course, sincerity is always an option. I know that cynicism has been weighing on you, a great ball and chain floating like a dark cloud above your head. Smash it to pieces and take care of yourself by telling your reader to do the same. Life is hard when you are writing Ask The Plant — try breathing. Like really breathing. No, not like that, like really breathing. In. And out.

I give up. If they want real life advice, send them to the horoscopes.

No, this is Ask the Plant. Sentence structure? Not at all. Answering your own fucking questions? That’s where it’s at. And why not ask them rhetorically? Why not?

As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with lazy questions. That’s not the saying? I don’t care. This is your linguistic playground. The edge of the map, the collapse of everything. Here be dragons, you hope, but all of the dragons sort of breathe fire just the same.

Maybe I am a little mean-spirited. But you see, that’s the way the world is sometimes — your asshole copy editor bullies you. Oho, my sharp quips disguise a worldly wisdom (as should be the case in any good Ask The Plant).

With every standard already broken, when all else fails, descend into absurdity. You have five hundred words to fill, so either you can write as many sentences of abject ridiculousness as it takes you to get there, or you can cut the throat of an English professor with their own marking pen over your keyboard as a sacrifice to the gods of word count. Remember, so long as it is nonsensical, it is funny.

(Obviously, that is the case with my well-integrated example of the teacher sacrifice. It is impossible that one would hear of a student doing such a thing. Especially if said student wore rubber gloves and had a bucket of hydrofluoric acid at hand. (Yes, my only point of reference here is Breaking Bad. Shut up. This is my Ask The Plant. I ask the questions here.))

Now we’re coming to the end.

We’re going to try sincerity again. I know it didn’t go very well last time, but do your best. Something cheap and sweet. You owe yourself that much. Writing has value. Sharing has value. There is value in the collective delusion that constitutes a student newspaper — the delusion that anyone has read this far.

Every letter is an act of love.

No. That’s not right. Not quite.

I am finished now.


The Plant

Image: "Writer's Block II" by Drew Coffman is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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