Sunday, December 14, 2008

Breaking News: CNN continues to bring inanimate objects to life

From "New GPS podcast looks at foreign affairs and global policies."

Now, I love Fareed Zakaria as much as the next left leaning news junkie grammar snob--er, I mean Snot. I liked him better in the early days for his gift of explanation to the American public as to why "they" hate us. I guess it was inevitable that the paragon of newsentertainment would get ahold of him.

There is sooooo much to work with on this example. The combination of assumed-to-be widely-understood terms (CNN is trying wayyyy too hard); use of the term "new" applied to a program which is also new. Global policies? I can't. As a bit of introspection has revealed, Cicero can be a bit too literal, and perhaps too Snot-ty. So I'll merely focus on CNN's staggering, stubborn, and stupid ability to attribute human behavior to--not just inanimate, but written and/or recorded--objects. A "podcast looks..."

Personification is cute and charming when used by children who address their stuffed animals. It can be an interesting technique to describe societal shifts or events (e.g. "economic diarrhea"). Message to CNN: your credibility as a serious news outlet **may** be in jeopardy if you can't master basic English. The old Cicero might acuse CNN of contributing to the decline of civilization. Now, that's a little over the top, isn't it? The "new" Cicero will stick to basic judgmental superiority.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

But WHEN, for gods' sake?`

Livia has just returned from a pleasant holiday lunch with her two best friends. No, really. Livia does have friends after all. But she digresses. Charming as the interlude was, Livia must report a somewhat unsettling exchange with the waiter:
Livia: Please, where is the ladies' room?
Waiter: See that mirror over there? It's gonna be right to the left of it.
Pardon? You mean it's not there now? Does it just drop in from time to time? Is there any predictability as to its presence or absence? And "right to the left"? Which is it, for heaven's sake? Inasmuch as her query was not prompted by idle curiosity, dear hearts, imagine Livia's consternation. Exactly when is it "gonna be" there, please?

Please note that rooms within buildings generally have fixed positions, particularly rooms set aside for ladies who wish to retire for a few moments. They stay put, in other words. This sort of intellectual and elocutionary laziness will not be tolerated, loveys. You have been warned.