Must every task be grim?

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.

One thought on “Must every task be grim?

  1. I have been hearing “run the table” lately. First in sports, now in politics. My husband said it has to do with playing pool. The other (old) phrase I hate is “at the end of the day”. Also, do you notice during commentary news groups someone always says “Look, … Blah blah blah” when it would make a little more sense to say “Listen …” . Another bad one is when news announcers call police “cops”.

    I hear these on the news channels. Wouldn’t you think that the cable news networks would give their people a list of “do not use” expressions?