Mayor Daley Writes Like Stephen King, and Other Literary Insights | NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Mayor Daley Writes Like Stephen King, and Other Literary Insights

    processing...

    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.