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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 20 , 2012/ 26 Adar, 5772

Nation wondering: what happening to language?

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Something funny going on across the country. Verbs disappearing. Other speech parts, too. Meanwhile: sentence fragments, participial phrases running amok – starting in New York and Los Angeles, then blanketing the entire nation.

Law enforcement puzzled. FBI, no leads yet. Investigations ongoing.

And now a theory: Nightly news to blame. Anchors talking like machine guns – firing words in short bursts. Three to a dozen at a time. Not a new phenomenon – but happening more and more often.

Some recent examples:

  • "Tonight, no safe haven in Afghanistan."
  • "Remembering former teen idol, Davy Jones, of the Monkees."
  • "On our broadcast tonight, amazing race. A photo finish in the first presidential contest of the year. As tight as it gets."
  • "More violence in Syria as an international conference meets on the crisis."
  • "Overseas now."
  • "New details tonight about the man accused of setting dozens of arson fires in Los Angeles."
  • "Back here at home, a developing story tonight."

Taken out of context, sounding pretty funny. Sounding pretty funny even in context, for that matter. Speak like that? Real people in real life? Never used to. Not without dramatic consequences, anyway: Men in white coats, chasing you with nets. Nice private room with padded walls, no door handle on the inside. Kindly faced psychiatrist dropping in, showing ink blots. Group on Thursdays.

Some people making excuses for this: Headline-ese. TV broadcasts sounding like newspaper front pages. Space constraints in both cases? Little room for grammar? Not buying it. "Is" not exactly a long word. "Are" either. "We have"? Short also. Shave half-second off Geritol commercial. Problem solved!

Another reason for not buying headline excuse: Phenomenon not happening just at top of show. Here excerpt from middle of March 3 CNN piece on presidential race: "Oliver and Shannon Travis earlier in the day out at the caucus site." Oliver and Shannon what? Reporting? Waiting for candidates to arrive? Playing tubas while sitting naked in giant tub of Jell-O pudding? Without verb, audience not having any idea.

Here further transcript excerpt, few seconds later same show:

Shannon Travis, CNN political reporter: "John, Washington state very important in this contest."

John King, chief national correspondent: "Could conceivably be battleground state in November."

Sounding like 1950s movie dialogue: Me Tarzan! You Jane! Heap big trouble, kimosabe! Get doctor! Him know how bad Clarabelle hurt!

Not just CNN, either. Here ABC's Katie Couric talking to correspondent in field: "Anthony, four straight months job growth now."

Four straight months job growth now? What kind of sentence that? No subject. No verb. No object. Word salad!

Other people viewing this with alarm, too. Example: PBS NewsHour, several years ago. Terence Smith, beginning his story as follows: "Today in Washington, around the country, television reporters, talking like this." Smith quoting Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw saying, "I pull the chain, you know, when I catch it … I have had a talk with a couple of our correspondents about … speaking in complete sentences with a beginning, middle and end, with all of the component parts."

Brokaw's lecture not sticking, apparently. Even NPR doing it. NPR! Home of 43-minute segment on precise meaning of musical term "appoggiatura," 10-hour segment on physiology of wine tasting, and 71-part series on kickback scandal affecting fair-trade sandal collective in Uruguay. Nowadays hoity-toity NPR correspondents sometimes sounding like Incredible Hulk after couple of dozen beers. Any morning expect to hear: "Pope, Catholic bishops meeting! To talk! About things! Enough now! Too many words! Make brain hurt! Me Sylvia Poggioli, NPR, Vatican City!"

Trying to imagine everyone doing this. Colonial forefathers: "Dissolving bands with England, holding truths self-evident. King acting like big jerk. Not taking it any more." Jane Austen: "Everyone know bachelor with money need bride."

You get idea.

Making matters worse: This coming on top of text-message emoticons, TMI, BFF and Twitter truncation mking ppl drop ltrs 2 stay w/in 140 chrctrs. English language not dying – being slowly hacked to death. Soon everyone sound like funny cave-man talk seen on Internet: "Man hungry! Woman kitchen!"

Good thing Themistocles not around to see this. Long time ago, man named Plutarch write: "Themistocles said that a man's discourse was like to a rich Persian carpet, the beautiful figures and patterns of which can be shown only by spreading and extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are obscured and lost."

What people say now? "Meh." Pretty soon, height of eloquence flinging poo. That OK! Fine by newspaper columnist! Win poo-fling contest every time. LOL!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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