MJE is bewildered as to why perfectly good words in the King’s English are abandoned and replaced with flaccid alternatives. It’s as though the entire American populace is trapped in a perpetual yoga class. I wonder whether the same phenomenon is occurring in other cultures and languages. If you find out please shoot me a soothingly worded note.
There are any number of egregious examples but these are some of my favorites, meaning the ones I hate the most.
“Be mindful.” Does that translate into paying attention, like the recording on the subway that tells you to “mind the gap.” The last time I heard that bit of verbal dryer lint it was uttered by a humanoid blessed with the mind of a gopher.
“Be present.” Does that mean not being absent? Well if you’re there you are obviously present, and if you’re not you are absent. The benefit of being absent is that you are out of earshot.
“Stay in the moment .” It’s only 60 seconds, do you really need a reminder? Plus, isn’t that a conundrum? If you are consciously making an effort to stay in the moment then by that very action you are in fact outside of the moment?
“Get in touch with your feelings.” Frankly, I have no idea what the hell that means.
“Start a conversation” That used to mean extending your hand and introducing yourself to someone and trying to find a topic which you and your new pal can discuss. Like, “Is it just me or does Mitch McConnell look exactly like a turtle?” which you could follow up with “and don’t you think that guy, Mike Pence the governor of Illinois, the one with the white hair has SS officer written all over him.” Now that’s what I call starting a conversation.
“Reach out.“ The lyrics to “Reach Out I’ll be there” by the Four Tops immediately come to mind. “Come on girl, reach out for me, and I’ll be there with a love that will pull you through.” I don’t guess that’s what he means when some television bobble head intones “we reached out” to the head of the terrorist group El Kabob regarding its recent beheading of a hapless American tourist stupid enough to be wandering around Syria but did not receive a reply.
“Unpack.” Often used in conjunction with the following as the first of a two part process of newsgathering.
“Drill down.” After you have “unpacked” it is then necessary to “drill down.” Get it?
I am deeply disappointed to hear even veteran newscasters use this term, trying to appear hip and appeal to the all-important 20-30 year old demographic.
Yo, geezer news nation! Those guys are not watching you, they get their news from John Stewart. Duh.