Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Media Personalities Hackneying Phrases and Creating Previously Non-existent Words

I listen to quite a bit of radio when out driving in the car, or even sitting at my keyboard as I am now. The first part of my title for this post is something of which most of us are painfully aware, although we may not all be familiar with the term "hackney/hackneyed/hackneying". Quite simply put, when a phrase becomes "hackneyed" it has been made trite or banal though overuse. In other words, we have tired of hearing it! One of my most unfavorite (if they can create words, so can I) of these is the wearying overuse of the phrase "At the end of the day..." - which I just heard "America's National Treasure" use on the radio. At the end of the day, I could just scream, "Are you talking heads incapable of turning a phrase?" Just for a change of pace, why not try throwing out an occasional,  "When all is said and done...", or "When the dust settles...", or "As the sun begins to set on...", or tell us how "The bottom line is..."? Better yet, how about just a simple "As I see it...", or "The outcome of this situation will/may/should be...". I am fully aware that most of those recommended phrases have themselves become hackneyed, but if they all would be frequently interspersed by broadcast personalities, they would not be nearly as noticeable.

Fox News Radio is particularly bad for hackney and creation. The personalities on Fox are apparently lexicographers (by network acclamation), and are therefore permitted to create new, non-existent words for the English language. Recently the popular non-word seems to be "political strategerist". THERE'S NO SUCH WORD AS "STRATEGERIST"! What was wrong with using the dictionary defined word of "strategist"? Did it sound too mundane? Were there not enough letters in it to emphasize the importance of this critical occupation (sarcasm)? Does a "strategerist" do something other than analyze, recommend and implement strategy... as does a strategist?

Call it one of my (many) "pet peeves" if you like, but there is something inherently wrong about anyone who uses the English language as the means of earning a living, using that language incorrectly. To me, it's virtually impossible to ignore. It's like seeing a Volkswagen Minibus attempting to navigate the slalom course at a Sports Car Club of America rally. For the most part, our beloved "Talking Heads" are not uneducated people., so why are they so cavalier in their use of the English language?