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Life Arts

Let's Phrase This Another Way

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by Walter Brasch

O.K., all you loyal readers, I'd appreciate it if you would "Put your hands together" for today's commentary. I want you to "give it up" for me. But, most of all, I want you to "show me some love."

If you'd like to stand and applaud enthusiastically, that'd be waaaay cool.

At one time, TV audiences saw a flashing light that had the word, "applause." That's all that was needed, just in case no one wanted to cheer an oncoming actor or TV guest.

Now we have the host telling us in so many ways that we have to--well--put our hands together and give it up while showing some love.  

I have no idea how those phrases became a part of the American language, but they are there. And they are annoying.

On almost every TV game show, the host will enthusiastically ask, "Are you ready!?" The contestant will respond, "I was born ready!" Maybe the genome project should be looking for the "ready gene," instead of worrying about such mundane things as genetic predisposition to breast cancer.

"Brand new" is another phrase that is useless. TV hosts like to announce "You can win a brand new car!" Advertising agencies splash us with "brand new" products. And if you go to an obstetrics ward, you can see all those "brand new babies."

Also annoying is TV news people talking about icons or something that is iconic. When Justin Bieber is called a pop music icon, isn't it time to stop and think about what an icon is? I'm sure there's an admonition somewhere about worshipping false biebers?

Speaking about false things, far too many politicians, business executives, and other news sources will say, kind of confidential-like, "Let me be honest with you," and then say something that was probably rehearsed to make the reporter think she or he is getting an exclusive. Shouldn't the reporter then question everything else that source ever said? Far too often, reporters let their sources skate past any embarrassing follow-up questions.

The language of business is also annoying. While most of us fall asleep after the first two sentences of an annual report, most of us also know that when a corporation announces it plans to "rightsize," "downsize," and "outsource," it really means Management is planning to "maximize its profits" and get rid of the lower-paid workers who were responsible for any profits the company ever did have.

"That was then, this is now" and "To the best of my recollection, at that point in time" are two phrases we should put into a concrete time vault and keep from appearing for at least another eon or so. By then, there will be no point and the now will be a then--or something like it.

I'm also getting annoyed with hearing sportscasters tell us that a team that is doing better than the odds-makers believed, "came to play," What else would the teams be doing? They have contracts. They have schedules. Does anyone think they came to seed the field or take an afternoon nap? Of course they came to play. That's why it's called a game!

We can also "terminate with extreme prejudice," a phrase we all learned from watching TV spy movies, the feel-good phrases, "I feel your pain" and "Thank you for sharing that." The downside is it would mean that for the other 14 weeks of a semester, college interpersonal communications classes would have to find other ways to communicate feelings.
Does anyone else think it's time to find replacements for "Bro," "M'man," Dude," and "You go, girl"?

And while we're dumping overused phrases, how about burying, "You're the man!" or its less grammatical brother, "You da man!"

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www.walterbrasch.com

Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional (more...)
 

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Walt,Good article as always.  Words, phrases,... by Paul Roden on Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 10:17:47 AM