I haven’t had time to carp and nitpick about trivial things lately. My mother’s health and other major life-changes have beaten me over the head with lessons about what is important. But I don’t give up easily. Here are some things that bring me out of my chair, shouting at the television, even when no one else is home:
There are at least three current commercials on television with “consumers” shown and a screen graphic that reads “REAL PEOPLE–NOT ACTORS”. I don’t know about the millions of other unpaid community theatre actors out there. Maybe I’m the only one who assumed he was real. I choose to be offended by this. I know it’s unreasonable. Somebody make them stop.
I’m against trendy, hip and stylish phrases, too. We ought to be able to vote on these and get rid of them when they become annoying. I start calling a phrase “trendy” when I hear it three times in five minutes. Why does everyone in the media (politicians included) think the phrase “in his/her wheelhouse” needs to be bandied about? I first heard it in the musical/entertainment world, but now I’m hearing it used for political candidates, so I know it’s catching on with unimaginative people. Here are three alternatives for people who can’t seem to find a different phrase:
He’s a natural at that. She cut her teeth on that. They’re already very experienced with that. He’s quite able to do that. She’s been doing that a long, long time.
Ok five. I couldn’t stop. If we don’t refrain from over-use of trendy words and phrases, they will die the slow death of “awesome.” And by that I mean that the original word will not mean what it used to mean. Awesome can never again be used again to describe something that truly inspires awe. It’s become just a nice polite word with which to respond or describe…anything. We killed it. Awesome.
Here’s another thing: Has anyone else noticed the incredible number of political candidates, pundits and talking heads who have learned to start sentences with the word “look” ? “Look, when the President does this…” “Look, Congress isn’t going to…” “Look, the economy’s in a tailspin…” Watch any discussion panel or sound bite and start counting, I don’t mind it once in a while, but repeated over and over, it takes on a condescending tone, as though the speaker feels the need to patiently explain something to me. And wouldn’t “listen” be more appropriate? If someone tells me to look, I expect to see something. I want to see them pour a glass of water on their head, or pull a large bunch of bananas out of their coat.
Finally, why is it necessary for so many political candidates to tell me what they intend to do “On Day One”? “I’ll tear up that agreement On Day One.” “I’ll submit this to Congress On Day One.” Quite frankly, I’d prefer that the new President sit down in the Oval Office, find out where all the gears and levers are, listen to a few instructions and get settled. Day Two is perfectly all right with me.
We all know that every candidate has been instructed by the experts and marketing test groups to say things like “On Day One.” It’s an active phrase. It’s not passive. It doesn’t just sit there. It means they’ll do something. It’s so much better than “Oh, I’ll get around to it sooner or later.” I think if I ran for office, I would promise to get things done on the day before Day One.” The other candidates would start promising things a week prior to Day One, six months prior. Eventually, they would work themselves all the way back to now. And then, they’d have to do something.