Let He Who Is Not Sinning at This Precise Moment Cast the First Stone

People do not deserve to have good writing, they are so pleased with bad. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are two separate axes on which bad writing is graded: the technical and the moral. First we ask how poor the craftsmanship is. How, exactly, does the piece fail? Which of its author’s many inadequacies does it reveal? Could it have been improved by any half-competent editor or is it totally beyond redemption? Is there, in all that twisted wreckage, a body worth saving?

Then we turn to questions of culpability. How much blame does the writer deserve? Should we avoid her at parties? Should we begin civil proceedings and claim damages for emotional distress? Or are her crimes against literature heinous enough to count as crimes against humanity?