Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's late, I should go to bed, but I have this horse. . .

A. J. Clemente: the f-bomb and the death of coherence

This has to be a hoax.


Beside the fact that the guy immediately fires off the f-bomb (along with a quite charming, accompanying s-bomb), he is absolutely bloody awful, worse than some high school student shooting a YouTube video during spring break.

His partner (whom he seems to address as "man") not only stumbles over her copy (perhaps understandably, since the co-anchor has just bleeped his career all to fxxk) but has a noticeable lisp.

Anchoring is usually considered to be the prestige job in any newsroom. Who knows why, because I think reporters out in the field work much harder and put themselves at far more personal risk. Usually this means careful screening of candidates, not scooping some foul-mouthed idiot off the street.

We won't get into the ludicrous errors passed off as truth,  clownish stumbles in grammar and useage that nobody even notices even more (such as: shouldn't the verb match the subject? Didn't we learn that in kindergarten?)

Here's a very simple example: "Having dug a hole under the fence, Ricky went to look for his missing dog." The worst of it is, people aren't reacting to this kind of verbal soul-murder any more because, like a lot of excruciatingly bad grammar and useage, it is worming its way into passive acceptance and will soon be considered "correct", even cited in modern dictionaries. Do you know why that happens? Because it is done over, and over, and over again until people don't hear it any more. 

A particularly excruciating example pops up in my memory: an anchor introduced a story by talking about "chickadees". "Parents should not be giving chickadees to their children for Easter." Well, THAT seemed right enough.

The clip was, of course, about baby chicks. As in: baby chickens. As in: those little yellow fluffy things that come out of eggs at Easter time (for the express purpose of being mauled to death by children).

Not one person complained or even noticed that chickadees are small, sparrowlike birds that don't migrate but stay here in the winter. They make a sound similar to: chickadee-dee-dee-dee-dee. . . (I know, because I have seen/heard them.)

When I wrote in to complain to the station, their response was, "Well, no one else has complained about it." This is a defense I particularly loathe. Why? It's similar to that repugnant question, "Are you sure?" This question denigrates your feelings and in fact negates them completely. If you're not "sure", you're either lying or vacillating so much that nobody should be taking you seriously anyway. And why ask? It means your credibility (not to mention your mental competence) is seriously in question.

"No one else has complained" means that valid, proper complaints require one thing: NUMBERS. The higher the number of complaints, the more seriously they are taken. One person complaining about something is completely irrelevant, making the protestor look like a foaming crackpot who won't have the least effect on the ratings. 

Your complaint will only be considered valid if it's clumped in with hundreds or even thousands of others (but even there, it's in danger of being buried by the lemming stampede of public conformity). If no one else has complained, you might as well keep your mouth shut and go away.

Then again: your comment may have a tiny grain of credibility. But only if you're sure.