We are drowning in content. There are listicles, videos, books, podcasts, and articles — anything you could imagine and want, of any ideological bent, is easily accessible, courtesy of the internet.
Because we’re having to shuffle and sift through so much content, the way we introduce a piece or a set of ideas — or even fiction — becomes even more important. Unless the reader is sufficiently motivated by the title of an article or has already committed to reading what you’ve written, then you only have so much time to capture their interest or signpost to them that quality writing is en route.(Readers will no doubt notice that the intro to this short post was less than stellar).
So as the first piece to what I’m hoping to accomplish with this series — which is short and informal posts on culture, politics, and (almost) anything else — I’m going to list the introductions to some works, non-fiction and fiction, which come to mind when I think of interesting and captivating introductory sentences and paragraphs.
Alice Dreger in Galileo’s Middle Finger
“Soon enough I will get to the death threats, the sex charges, the alleged genocides, the epidemics, the alien abductees, the anti lesbian drug, the unethical ethicists, the fight with Martina Navratilova, and of course, Galileo’s Middle Finger. But first I have to tell you a little bit about how I got into this mess. And explain why I think we now have a very dangerous situation on our hands.”
Caitlin Flanagan in “Death at a Penn State Fraternity” — Atlantic
“At about 3 p.m. on friday, February 3, Tim Piazza, a sophomore at Penn State University, arrived at Hershey Medical Center by helicopter. Eighteen hours earlier, he had been in the kind of raging good health that only teenagers enjoy. He was a handsome, redheaded kid with a shy smile, a hometown girlfriend, and a family who loved him very much. Now he had a lacerated spleen, an abdomen full of blood, and multiple traumatic brain injuries.
Ben Sixsmith in “Why Your Friends Political Opinions Shouldn’t Matter” — Areo
“Logging into Facebook, I see Corbyn memes jostling for space with videos warning of the Islamization of Europe; petitions in support of transgender rights alongside disdainful cartoons about ‘SJWs.’ I have liberal friends, conservative friends, communist friends, and ultra-reactionary friends. This is how I like it. It makes life interesting.”
Kristen Roupenian in “Cat Person” — New Yorker
“Margot met Robert on a Wednesday night toward the end of her fall semester. She was working behind the concession stand at the artsy movie theatre downtown when he came in and bought a large popcorn and a box of Red Vines.”
Eoin Colfer in Artemis Fowl (one of my favorites growing up)
“How does one describe Artemis Fowl? Various psychiatrists have tried and failed.”
John Irving in The World According to Garp
“Garp’s mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theatre.”
From Under is a series of short and informal posts which tackle culture, politics, and (almost) anything else.