TRI Semester at Sea Student Discovers Worst Paragraph Ever Written

April 13, 2010

INT’L WATERS off the coast of CAPE VERDE ISLANDS- University of North Carolina junior Xialou Johnson has discovered what is now unanimously considered the worst paragraph ever written.  While aboard the cruiseship TRI Fantasia during her Semester at Sea, Xialou innocently enrolled in a Philosophy of Science course and discovered this sickie freakshow:

Xialou’s account of the discovery is harrowing.  She recalls turning to the first page only to find pre-existing drool on the opening paragraph, evidence that she had been reading it over and over and blacking out each time.  After Xialou presented several other students with this little-known course reading, the students reported experiencing eye bleeding, fisticuffs, and rape.  The ship’s faculty and crew eventually intervened, leaving their near round-the-clock ‘italian buffet and karaoke contest’ gala to ship off the only copy of the text for review.  Ultimately, only the Committee on Horrible, Horrible Things would decide whether or not this was the worst paragraph ever written.

The committee found several initial factors that worked in its favor.  First, to be a truly terrible paragraph it had to be grammatically correct, otherwise some of the horror is lost in verbal ambiguity.  Lo, the review board on terribleness decided that this behemoth is crystal clear in its grammar, with an almost Hemmlerian precision to its diction, syntax and punctuation.  Second, it had to have a distinct and comprehensible meaning, something that could be lodged in the brain like Satan’s arrow.   Reports from readers are unanimous that the author’s meaning slips unnervingly from their mind just as it is grasped- like the name of Jack Nicholson’s character in that Witches of Eastwick movie.  Still, the passage’s infernal message is there, if only for an instant.  It sits amidst words like ‘ontic’ and ‘supervenience’, the devil’s trade words upon which he plies his awful craft.

What really tipped the scales was the third factor- a deliberately cruel nature.  The brute chapter opens fairly innocently with a question on how the mental and the physical interact, and to what degree.  A legitimate, fairly common inquiry that within a few sentences devastates any of the good and true left in the reader’s synapses.  Faced with processing phrases like “nonreductive physicalists” and “supervenience”, most neurons will immediately kill themselves.

No, no.  It is too cruel, the committee decided, not to be the worst paragraph ever, especially when one considers that this is the opening chapter of what is, with difficulty, referred to as a ‘book’.  Many theorists actually believe “Supervenience as a Physical Concept” to be linked to the mythologized S&M device, the Devil’s French Tickler.  The Committee’s pronouncement was unanimous.

Finally, we can put this issue to rest, and The Worst Paragraph Ever sits in a dusty hallway in a little-known museum in Geneva.  Still, the thought that it cannot get any worse must be small comfort to people like poor Phillip Rodriguez-Martinez, who so far has been unable to get ‘converse dependence of the physical not the mental’ out of his head.

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  1. Sanjay Peekayvie on October 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Not sure exactly how I found this site, but it’s pretty funny. Keep up the good work, and I’ll have to check this strange situation you reported in international waters.

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