Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tom Hanks' inimitable sentences

I could listen to Tom Hanks enthuse all day--about anything except symbology. His speech patterns have carried over to his writing in the latest letters section of the New Yorker, where he has a great letter about his electric car. He's got a real talent for the long sentence, and you can hear his voice so clearly:
Peter J. Boyer, in his otherwise spot-on piece about the car industry, assumes that I once leased G.M.’s sadly fated EV1 electric car and, like other drivers of that twin-seat rocket of a vehicle, watched the emission-free car be wrested from my garage, towed away, and busted up into pieces of metal, glass, and rubber smaller than razor blades (“The Road Ahead,” April 27th). Luckily, I did not.

I like the pacing of these sentences:
It had four doors, a rear hatch, room for my family, including a dog in the back, power windows, A/C, a great sound system, and the fastest, most effective windshield defroster known to mankind. When the car companies collectively, and, to some, diabolically, decided to take these cars back, the electric vehicles disappeared. But not mine. I have the pink slip. I own that car, and it is still driven every day, albeit by one of my crack staff of employees. My electric car recently crossed fifty thousand miles on the odometer with its original battery but without so much as a splash of gasoline.

I've listened to Tom Hanks' amazing tribute to the Dave Clark Five at the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony several times (Thomas Kyd gets name-checked?!) and smile every time. I assume he wrote it. So so good!

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