Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Columnist Curries Contumely Composing Class Collection

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Columnist Curries Contumely Composing Class Collection

Article excerpt

It figures that of all the columns Burt Constable has written for the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill., the most controversial would be about a second-choice topic.

"You write about abortion or guns or something you really put your heart into, and there's no reaction. You give kids 129 words in a column - and there's a firestorm," Constable said.

The unlikely sore subject: A yearlong English class assignment for freshmen at Buffalo Grove High School. In lieu of a final exam, students are required to find as many published examples as possible from a list of 300 vocabulary words. Students Lauren Blumenthal and Joshua Sowa sent Constable the list and asked if he could - please, please, please! - include five of the words in an upcoming column.

Constable did way better than that: He stuffed 129 of the $10 words into his 600-word column. He even put his paragraphs in rough alphabetical order. The "B" graf: "I may be biased and brazenly boorish by even breaching the idea that a computer search is a brigandish blasphemy to the Gods of learning, but for those students who blanch at the bleak prospect of having to read this column, I promise to buoy your spirits and tackle the brunt of your assignment by utilizing bona fide words from your list. …

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