Kate Crimson of Gibsons, British Columbia, can bear the following no longer:
“Turned up dead” — how I hate that! I hear it over and over to describe the discovery of a body, especially on Primetime with Stone Philips reporting on the murder of the day.
“Two weeks later, he turned up dead.” “Nobody knew what had happened until she turned up dead.”
“Yes, she finally showed up, but she was dead,” they seem to be saying. Does a body actually “turn up?” Maybe it turns over hearing this phrase, but I doubt it turns up.
You are almost guaranteed to hear this phrase if you watch faux news shows like 48 Hours. It is a constant.
I often wonder how the close relatives of the story subjects feel when they hear “turned up dead” applied to their departed loved ones.
That’s my rant for today.
Thank you for your time.
Always a pleasure to help one spew!
Writing Tools author Roy Peter Clark thusly rants:
I heard it this morning while driving to work, as I knew I would. The radio reporter described the efforts of rescue workers to pull dead bodies out of crushed cars and out of the muck at the bottom of the Mississippi River. The failure of the bridge in Minneapolis at rush hour made this “grim task” necessary.
There it was — the phrase “grim task.” Let’s kill it along with its first cousin “grisly task.” I’ve heard it and read it for more than 30 years now, and it is more tired than ever. I’s appearance is so predictable that it has become, to borrow a phrase from George Orwell, a substitute for thinking. I would argue that at a time of death and destruction, the failure of writers to craft something original is a sign of disrespect.
Clark’s blog is here.
Eric Zorn of the Chicago Trib is told to give “kerfluffle” a rest. And readers weigh in with tons more loathsome media utterances, most of which have been covered here, though this is a new one:
The one I hate is “decadent.” Why is it that this word is only used to describe chocolate? To prove my point, I just looked the word up on Answers.com and the sponsored links on the side were for brownies and chocolates. Are we really that unoriginal that we can’t think of any more than one use for a perfectly good adjective?
Here’s the ironic part: “decadent” is defined as “self-indulgent.” In a society where half of us are 300 lb., oversized-SUV-driving, workaholic narcissists, there are oh so many many opportunities to use this word.