Jack Shafer tells us that the Times reporter Alexei Barrionuevo has difficulty not copying other people's writing. But I think he should actually engage in plagiarism, at least when he's trying to write soft-core porn:

 At the Bar Urbano disco, boys and girls ages 14 to 18 are stripping off their shirts, revealing bras, tattoos and nipple rings. The place is a tangle of lips and tongues and hands, all groping and exploring. About 800 teenagers sway and bounce to lyrics imploring them to "Poncea! Poncea!": make out with as many people as they can.

"A tangle of lips and tongues and hands, all groping and exploring"?  From the foreign desk of The New York Times? I'll grant that this is an important story -- how could a story about the sexual mores of Chilean teenagers not be? -- but if you're going to publish stories about an outbreak of horniness in Latin America, at least consult Penthouse on how to make the writing non-humiliatingly bad.

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