This is called a lede because it’s supposed to lead readers into my column. It succeeds despite the odds.

Here I introduce my topic. Gender-neutral housing. Singapore. My grievances about the Levin administration. Syria is important and I believe we should do something about it, but that column has already been written. I write about sex instead. Sexual climate sells.

This paragraph explains why the topic matters. This is difficult because most topics don’t. I feign outrage at an event (e.g., Occupy, Meatless Monday) and concern for a slighted group (e.g., New Haveners, carnivores). The fact that I’m neither a New Havener nor a carnivore is irrelevant. By now punctuation runs amok, and it will continue to do so throughout the piece. I know the MLA handbook lists rules on the use of em-dashes, but I don’t heed them. I also throw in a semi-colon; I’m feeling fancy.

Here I make a claim. It’s bold. It gets its own paragraph.

The aforementioned bold claim floors my readers, so I begin this paragraph with the word “Indeed,” which has no real meaning but serves as a buffer that allows readers to get back on their feet. This is important because they must be standing to fully understand the moralistic diatribe that follows.

I believe my cause to be so immediate that it flaunts the need for structure, so this paragraph meanders without apparent logic. I cite a personal anecdote and a theory from seminar. No comma stands between them. I use words that sound impressive but are actually meaningless, like “structures” and “society.” I also mention “agency.” Descartes makes a cameo.

I begin this sentence with the word “however,” which means I’m contradicting something. I may or may not know what this is, but I believe “however” to be an elegant construction. In subsequent paragraphs I’ll use the words “despite” and “although” to similar ends. I avoid “but” because coordinating conjunctions are never used in the beginning of a sentence. I’m no simpleton.

At this point I’m running low on permutations of the aforementioned bold claim. I know only so many synonyms for “outrageous,” so I reach for the thesaurus. I settle for “horrendous.” I also stumble upon “hobgoblin,” which I use. The fact that I’m writing about Passover is irrelevant.

I should, at some point, acknowledge dissenting views. Here’s good. These sentences may begin with, “One would argue,” or “Some may say,” because indefinite pronouns allow me to refer to theantiyale and River_Tam without writing their names. Nuanced arguments are hard to dismiss, so I reduce them to simple sentences. The sentence that follows begins with “however.”

Dialogue is important, so I mention it here. I label it as “constructive,” which means nothing. I make a reference to moving forward and advancing the best interests of the community. I align these with my own. Throughout I imply that I value others’ opinions. This is a lie.

Lest you forget it, I reiterate my outrage. I’m no longer sure of its target, but my fingers keep on punching angrily at my keyboard. They are passionate. I’m leading up to the conclusion and use big words, which I saved for the occasion. By this point it becomes apparent that I’m actually clueless about my topic, but I know I’m right, so I type in a period before you think too hard.

I rush into an ending, which is circular because a column may take any shape but must have a good reason to avoid the circle. I reiterate the aforementioned bold claim and shift words in an attempt at cleverness. This may or may not succeed. To conclude, I throw in a one-sentence paragraph.

It’s pithy.

Teo Soares is a junior in Silliman College. Contact him at