I just don’t understand how stuff like the second paragraph of Robert Kaplan’s story on Pakistan in this month’s Atlantic make it into print:
To travel the Makran coast is to experience the windy, liberating flatness of Yemen and Oman and their soaring, sawtooth ramparts the color of sandpaper, rising sheer off a desert floor pockmarked with thornbushes. Here, along a coast so empty that you can almost hear the echoing camel hooves of Alexander’s army, you lose yourself in geology. An exploding sea bangs against a knife-carved apricot moonscape of high sand dunes, which, in turn, gives way to crumbly badlands. Farther inland, every sandstone and limestone escarpment is the color of bone. Winds and seismic and tectonic disruptions have left their mark in tortuous folds and uplifts, deep gashes, and conical incrustations that hark back far before the age of human folly.
Maybe there’s something genius about this that I don’t get…but seriously, “conical incrustations that hark back far before the age of human folly.” “Old rocks sticking up from the ground” would have worked well for me.
I’m curious if anyone likes this – the rest of the article is better in my book, but still contains one-liners like the above. I just don’t think it’s worthy of a primo spot in one of the best monthly magazines.