Box this up and ship to Siberia

From Don Hewitt:

There are a number of expressions that really annoy me, both in the
media and everyday speech.

  • “Totally”– To add “totally” to something is redundant
    and ignorant. Can something be in worse condition than to be
    “destroyed?” Could someone be more than surprised? “Totally”
    surprised means…….?
  • “Win-Win” situations. What ever happened to “mutually beneficial?
  • “Thinking outside the box”– This has got to be one of the
    most ridiculous sayings ever concocted. Do people go sit in
    boxes to think? Ah, yes, maybe they sit in Kitty Litter Boxes.
    In that case, I would definitely “think outside the box.”
  • “Celebs” and a host of other moronic abbreviations. This
    oh so clever expression makes the user sound like an idiot.
    Trendy abbreviations communicate nothing more than that the
    one using them is so very up to date and clever. Belch.
  • “Goes” — an expression meaning movement away from an object
    or person. But it doesn’t mean “says”, as in “He goes, Well
    I did not know you were in town.” Duh. How about “He SAYS?”
  • Off the grid

    Tom Lemanski of Kildeer, IL, shares these gridiron groaners:

    Your page inspired me to offer some football terminology. I like football

  • The one-foot line: no such thing. One-inch line
    is also non-existent.
  • Gutsy: Bold? Couragous? Surprising? Strategic? Innovative?
    Heroic? Anything! For a while, some sportscasters went with internal
    fortitude. Now Fox has brought us back to gutsy.
  • Adding “a” before every name reference: … a QB like a Brett Favre or a Peyton Manning. Further proof that less is more
  • When they measure for a first down by running the sticks and chain
    onto the field, how do they measure in the first place? They eyeball
    Then make a big deal of taking a closer look when they think
    it matters.
  • There should be fines or something. Perhaps fines would support a language abuse police force?

    Fashion crimes

    From Peter Lynn:

    Some words and phrases I’m getting a little tired of:

  • Killer app.: Unless the technology functionally resembles
    the HAL 9000 computer from “2001,” it’s not a killer application.
    It’s just a tired phrase.
  • Diva: Being used today to discuss almost any female singer
    or demanding star, it should strictly refer to female opera stars.
    Elton John is not, and cannot be, a diva — no matter how bitchy he
    acts. The term “prima donna” has already been extended to refer
    to tempermental, conceited people, so let’s please retain the precision
    of “diva”.
  • Fashionista: What a pretentious word! Surely Che Guevara
    would roll in his grave at the thought that the “-ista” suffix used
    by freedom-fighting guerrillas has been co-opted by those in the fashion
    industry, as if their escapades on the runways of Milan are of the
    same importance as the struggle for liberty in the jungles of Latin
  • Been here before

    Pat Curry’s all-time pet peeve:

    It was deja vu all over again.” Deja vu is the sensation
    that you’ve been, done or said something when you’ve haven’t before
    (as so wonderfully described in the Diana Ross song of the same name).
    I’m forever seeing stories in which people who did something 20 years
    ago reunite and the experience is described as deja vu.

    They feel terrible, OK?

    R. G. Harris of Detroit,
    Michigan, read the proceedings below and passed the following along:

    I agree especially with the criticism of broadcast journalists
    and would add that they should also be forever forbidden from asking
    inane questions of crime or disaster victims. Does anyone really doubt
    how one feels when they have seen their home destroyed (totally destroyed
    to the reporters) by fire, flood, tornado, etc. Or need they ask how
    the family of a murder victim feels?Many other words or phrases should be eliminated. Among them:

  • A real team player;” “Ready to hit the ground running;”
    a “self-starter;” and “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team‘.”
  • We should also stop “doing lunch” and “taking meetings.”
  • As a retired police supervisor, I also have strong negative feelings
    about many cases of “cop-speak.” I once heard an arresting
    officer testify as follows:

    “I observed a male subject exit a red colored vehicle and
    proceed on foot in a westerly direction.”

    Wouldn’t it be easier to see a man get out of a red car and walk
    west? A “red-colored” as opposed to a red-flavored or red-shaped?
    A “westerly direction as opposed to a westerly size?

  • Do we ever sound so stupid as when we try to sound smart?

    Prior restraint

    Larry Sommers
    of the Public Affairs Office, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs,
    shares three of his pet peeves:

  • “Prior to” – Military memo writers never say “before” when they can say “prior to.” It’s always something like, “Be sure to move your vehicles from the north parking lot prior to 1600 hours, when
    the night crew will be be plowing.” This manner of writing creeps
    into military journalism, e.g.: “Sgt. Kevlar is seen here polishing
    his boots prior to reporting for duty.”
  • “Tragic death” – On both local and national television,
    and in quite a few newspapers as well, it seems death = tragedy. We
    know, of course, that only a few deaths (Oedipus, Hamlet, Buddy Holly)
    are actually tragic; some deaths (Gauguin, Chuckles the Clown) are
    banal; some (Osama bin Laden, the Crocodile Hunter) might be satisfying;
    and ALL THE REST – roughly 99.9 percent of all human deaths – are
    just deaths, no adjectives need apply.
  • “Yada-yada-yada,” So-and-so added/ noted/ explained/ commented/ remarked/ pointed out. Fortunately, more typical of
    student journalists than of professionals. More than nine times out
    of ten, “said” is the better choice. It is the exception to the rule
    that we should look for more lively verbs. One would usually prefer
    the smack and tang of the quote itself to draw the reader’s attention,
    without being upstaged by some fancy-schmancy verb-of-assertion hovering
    just beyond the quotation marks. Of course, that assumes the writer
    has been able to discover an interesting and relevant quote somewhere
    amid the speaker’s ruminations.
  • Senseless slaughter

    Jay Kelly wonders:

    Television interviewers, especially Wolfe Blitzer, often ask,
    “What is your sense of the situation?” Or, “What is your
    sense of the problem?”
    Wouldn’t it would make more sense to
    ask the the interviewee what he thinks or feels about it, or what
    his reaction or his opinion is?

    You say it’s your anniversary

    Samantha Lynn declares:

    The thing that’s been driving me most berserk lately about the deteriorating educational level of the talking heads is this sudden habit of saying
    five-month anniversary” of things. After all, “anniversary”
    is from the root “annum”, meaning YEAR… The only thing that bothers
    me more is when the same idiots compound their stupidity by saying
    “first-year anniversary” of things…

    Almost famous

    Jon Rathbun lends fame to the following:

    I hate the use of terms like “well-known” or “famous” in celebrity obituaries. When I read the daily deaths on the Associated Press wire I figure that if a famous (fill-in-the-blank) were famous, I would not need to be told of this fame. It seems that including the term is AP’s way of telling you that you have never heard of the deceased.

    Like Abba, only worse

    Mark R. Yeatts suggests:

    Here are several phrases journalists have used so many times, they
    clang against the ear like a hit song from that Swedish Super-group,

  • Journalism is a “reflection of reality.”
  • Polls described as “a snapshot in time.
  • Any use of “on a daily basis.”
  • Market drops attributed to “Wall Street jitters.”
  • “The schoolhouse door.”
  • “Women, blacks, and other minorities.”
  • “The children” are ubiquitous though we never hear about “the adults” or “the grownups.”