Grumpy old guy
A reporter on National Public Radio referred this morning to Iraq as the war-torn nation. Is there anyone with a radio in the United States who is unaware that there is a war in Iraq?
Why have newspaper reporters seized on in the wake of in the sense of after or because? Do they all aspire to own yachts? Or does it just contribute to some desired effect of pomposity? It is the wake of a larger boat that causes a smaller one difficulty. So is using in the wake of a sneaky way of suggesting cause and effect without establishing the circumstances as such?
In the wake of is one of those metaphors worn so smooth by overuse that they have lost their original impact and blurred their meaning. Free rein is another, which explains why it so frequently turns up in copy as free reign.
One of our reporters used the “X is not alone” transition for today’s editions, and it slipped past the copy desk. You know the device, because you have seen it a thousand times. An article begins with description of some person’s situation that is representative of a larger issue. Then “X is not alone,” followed by the description of the larger issue. This device has become such a cliche that omitting the “X is not alone” sentence makes absolutely no difference.
Well, it sometimes does to the writer. Another Sun reporter once complained that the copy desk had deleted the “X is not alone” sentence from an article. I explained that the device was a cliche that we had been trying to eliminate from the paper for a decade. The writer’s response: “It’s not a cliche when I use it.”
Another article in this morning’s paper described a woman who had lived with an older man (and who is a suspect in his death) as the man’s one-time paramour.
Paramour? What’s today, 1935?
Also, it’s supposed to rain this afternoon and then turn cold. Feh.