You know how the Academy Awards people often give a special award announced before the ceremony? This year the tradition comes to the Delete Key Awards, which recognize authors who don’t use their delete keys enough.
The first Delete Key Award for Lifetime Achievement goes to Randy Pausch (1960–2008), the computer science professor who wrote The Last Lecture after learning that he had pancreatic cancer.
Like many books considered for tomorrow’s Delete Key Awards shortlist, Pausch’s bestseller shows his love of clichés. Unlike the authors of other candidates, Pausch admitted in his book that he loved well-worn phrases. He also explained why: He taught students who didn’t know the clichés and for whom they seemed fresh.
Pausch’s honesty was unique among the authors considered for Delete Key Awards since their inception in 2007. It sets him apart from the many writers who pretend – or really believe – that their clichés offer startling insights. And Pausch used his clichés with enough wit and charm to endear him to legions and make him the star of a YouTube video that more than 9 million people have watched and that led to a book contract.
For these reasons, Randy Pausch receives the first special Delete Key Award for Lifetime Achievement for the line:
“I liked my students to win one for the Gipper, to go out and execute, to keep the drive alive, to march down the field, to avoid costly turnovers and to win games in the trenches even if they were gonna feel it on Monday.”
A review of and reading group guide to The Last Lecture (Hyperion, 224, $21.95) appeared on One-Minute Book Reviews on May 30, 2008.
The finalists for the 2009 Delete Key Awards will be announced tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, at roughly 30–minute intervals, that will include samples of their bad writing. The full shortlist will be posted by 5 p.m. and the winners named on March 16.
© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.