Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Mayor Daley Writes Like Stephen King, and Other Literary Insights

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    NEWSLETTERS

    We’ve been enjoying feeding our prose into the new website I Write Like, which compares ordinary scribblers’ styles to those of 40 famous authors. So we thought we’d do the same for a few Illinois politicians, using excerpts from speeches, interviews and press releases.

    Bill Brady
    Here’s a snippet from an interview Brady gave Ward Room in April: “But as governor, I can put some real meaningful policies in place that can help everybody. I look at Illinois as a business.”

    We ran the whole interview through the site, and according to I Write Like, Brady is in the tradition of KURT VONNEGUT, author of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, whose title character is a wealthy Midwestern politician. Like Vonnegut, Brady is also full of whimsical, fantastical notions: he believes that cutting taxes will increase government revenues.

    Mayor Daley
    Listening to the mayor, it’s sometimes hard to believe he’s even read a book, much less learned to speak a recognizable language. But here’s an excerpt from his infamous press conference on guns:

    “Next will be hand grenades, right? We’ll say that hand grenades are OK. I mean, how far can you go in regards to mass weapons? To me, any gun taken off saves thousands of lives in America. I really believe that, I don’t care what people tell me. You have to thank the police officers for seizing all these weapons. We lead the country in seizing weapons. This is unbelievable.”

    According to I Write Like, Daley’s speech resembles the prose of horror master STEPHEN KING. That fits, because at that same press conference, Daley threatened to stick a gun up a reporter’s butt and pull the trigger.

    Toni Preckwinkle
    Toni Preckwinkle is probably our most erudite politician. Preckwinkle lives in Kenwood, was a schoolteacher for 10 years, and likes to read 1,000-page history books. Here’s Preckwinkle in a May interview:

    “I’ve been a Democrat my entire adult life,” Preckwinkle told Ward Room. “I’m not just a Democrat, I’m a Democratic committeeman. When I decided I wanted to run for county board president, I got in the Democratic primary, at a time when I fully expected that Forrest Claypool was going to be a candidate.”

    Appropriately for a woman of her education, Preckwinkle’s speech resembles the prose of novelist/philosopher DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, who was also a Democrat from Illinois.

    Barack Obama
    Barack Obama is the only Illinois politician who has actually written a book, so we fed in this paragraph from his memoir, Dreams From my Father:

    “I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant. TV, movies, the radio; those were the places to start. Pop culture was color-coded, after all, an arcade of images from which you could cop a walk, a talk, a step, a style. I couldn’t croon like Marvin Gaye, but I could learn to dance all the Soul Train steps. I couldn’t pack a gun like Shaft or Superfly, but I could sure enough curse like Richard Pryor.”

    It turns out Obama writes like MARGARET ATWOOD. No surprise. He’s practically channeling the concerns of a 70-year-old white woman from Ontario there.

    According to the Guardian, Atwood herself tried out the website, and discovered she writes like … Stephen King.

    Mark Kirk
    And finally, here’s Mark Kirk, sounding like Uriah Heep as he ’umbly apologized for exaggerating his military record:

    “Now, I’ve made mistakes when characterizing certain aspects of my accomplishments and experiences. I apologize for my mistakes and I pledge to correct any errors. I am not perfect, and I was careless. I will do better and make sure this never happens again.”

    Of course, that day, Kirk was a match for CHARLES DICKENS.