Lancer Letter 04-19-11

Words That Annoy
by Richard Scaletta

(To be read in the style of Andy Rooney.) Have you ever noticed how certain words and phrases come into vogue and are then overused? Take for example the word “crisis” and its use by television news anchors. It seems that in the war of superlatives, everything must be deemed a crisis. The news anchor reads, “A new report released today noted that the incidence of bunions among middle aged Americans is on the rise.” The caption at the bottom the screen would read, “Bunion Crisis in America.” Not to downplay the fact that there really are crises in the world, but it seems that newscast market share can only be increased by creating a sense of emergency and immediacy.

Another two words really getting on my nerves is the phrase, “clinically proven.” Everything sold on television these days is clinically proven. Clinically proven to help you lose weight, make your teeth brighter, make your breath fresher, and generally improve the quality of your life (which of course they want you to believe is presently miserable). What exactly does clinically proven mean? Is there a standard by which that claim is made? How many people need to participate in a clinical trial – two, two hundred, two thousand? Where do I find the report verifying this “clinically proven” claim?

Finally, it seems there are many awareness activities taking place. Everyone is trying to make others aware of some issue, disease or cause. While the intent for these activities is noble, awareness activities seems to spawn more. . . well . . . awareness activities. Will anyone actually DO SOMETHING about the problem or will it fix itself just by making everyone aware?

So what do my little pet peeves about these words have to do with General McLane? Absolutely nothing, other than to present evidence that everyone from the superintendent to the kids in kindergarten really need a break!!!!! I hope you and your family enjoy yours.

The Lancer Letter is a weekly editorial by Richard Scaletta, Superintendent of Schools, General McLane School District. Opinions expressed are Mr. Scaletta’s views on the issues and subjects of discussion.

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