Fight it to the death

Jeremy Wagstaff contributes:

“Fighting for his/her political life”

I really hate it, though I can’t put a finger on why. I guess it just seems so irritating that journalists might be so convinced of the importance of their beat to compare negotiating a speedbump in one’s political career with someone on life-support.

Like when blog is a verb…

Jeremy Egner despises:

“Hearts and minds”
Any lazy use of a noun as a verb. (“Journal” is the most grating. I
blame Oprah for this one, though I’m not sure she’s responsible.)

In music criticism:

  • Get (his/her/their/your) _____ on” (ironic appropriations of hip-hop jargon make me want to bust a cap in hack critics)
  • Kick out the jams
  • Party like its (year reflecting a specific musical era)” (e.g., a retro disco band “parties like it’s 1979.” a tired rip-off of Prince’s “1999″)

and, finally:
decidedly mixed reviews

Hold the Mecca

I’m adding this one at the suggestion of a Prints the Chaff reader.

How about confining references to Mecca to the city in Saudi Arabia?
A pilgrimage to Mecca is one of five things a Muslim must do at least once. What say we avoid likening a sacred duty to stopping by a vacation spot, nightclub or spa?

This is war

Edith Rudy would ban:

War broke out.
I guess we keep it in a cage somewhere? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the news on any channel use any phrase other than “War broke out” when announcing the beginning of hostilities anywhere.

Somebody call a slayer

David Giffels of the Akron Beacon Journal wonders:

How many more “slain” gunmen must we endure before headline writers exit the middle ages? Knights “slay” dragons. Modern killers simply kill. (“Senselessly.” But that’s an issue for another day.)

Easy does it

Bruce the Sanity Inspector would ban:

Stories which bemoan the fact that there are “no easy answers“. Well, if there was an easy answer, I wouldn’t be reading about the subject in the newspaper, now would I?

I see that Jennifer Grieco beat me to abominating the lazy “center around“. The only situation I’ve ever known where it is physically possible for something to center around something, is an lp on a phonograph spindle.

Look back in anger

Chuck Stroup requests:

Could you please add “past history“, as in ‘the gunman had a past history of violence’ or ‘the patient has a past history of cardiac problems‘. Is this to avoid confusion with their ‘future history’? It is just history!!!! Grrrr…..

Each, yes; every, no

Gabe Goldberg avers:

Some people never use one short word when more words can take up more
space. I’ve never understood the phrase “each and every” except as an
indication that those same people don’t read what they write. Do they
think it’s more comprehensive than “all”? That it adds emphasis? That an
item might escape if the entire gaggle isn’t twice included? Beats me.

Answer her this

Lynne Sherwin of the Akron Beacon Journal opines:

I just HATE HATE HATE it when a tragedy of some kind takes place and the survivors are always described on TV as “searching for answers.” “Friends and family are searching for answers tonight after Wile E. Coyote was crushed by a falling anvil.” Just what the hell was the question?

Dust in the wind

Thomas Marzahl suggests:

As an editor at Agence France-Presse, I frequently run into the word
dusty“, usually used to describe a town or village where not much is going
on and is rather run-down. Inevitably it’s a place in the Third World or
developing world… I don’t think there’d be a lot of people who would
describe a small Bavarian village or an English hamlet as dusty. So it’s the
Tubmanburgs in Liberia, or Bunias in DRCongo that get labeled as such…
carrying with it a whiff of condescension.

Banned for life? I’m not sure. But dusty should be used with extreme care.