RANT ALERT: This is not a political rant. This is a language rant. I care far more about language than I do about politics.
Apparently, the state of written and spoken communication has deteriorated to the point where, as long as we include most of the important words, as long as we’re able to communicate the “main idea,” as long as we’re reasonably sure the reader / listener will “get” what we meant, it doesn’t really matter whether what we’ve written makes any real sense anymore. Here’s a case in point:
This morning, the newscaster stated that, due to an approaching hurricane, the Republican Party had shortened its national convention by one day “in order to lessen the impact of the storm.” I guess the citizens of Tampa should be very grateful, having been saved from the worst ravages Mother Nature had in store.
This was not some on-air, off-the-cuff remark, either. This was clearly someone reading copy.
One assumes that there’s an editor out there somewhere who at least casually reviews the written story before it’s broadcast to millions of listeners. I say “millions” because this was a national, not local, broadcast. We all fall down on the job sometimes, but if your sole job is to review & revise material for accuracy and clarity, one might expect that a greater sensitivity to those features would be employed, no? Maybe I’m just too finicky.
Later, on my way to work, there was this: The local radio station had a story about a man who was arrested for a couple of crimes, one of which was “personifying a police officer.” I would imagine that this carries a somewhat lesser penalty than impersonating a police officer, though I’m not sure, as I’m not really clear on what’s involved in personification. I guess it really doesn’t matter anyway. I “got” what the reporter “meant to say.”
That seems to be good enough, these days.
—Here Endeth The Rant—