Monday, August 14, 2006

Indicators That We Have a Problem

Top Five Verbal Tics That Really Bother Me and Indicate a Major Problem on the Part of Those Who Verbalize Thusly:

1. "We are moving forward." People who say this almost invariably have no idea what they're doing or what they're talking about or where they're going. Saying "moving forward" pleases the speaker and makes him/her feel that he/she has posited some sort of vision and a way to get there. Listeners, if they really think and observe, always realize that the speaker has neither a real vision nor a way of getting to a destination. The best thing that has happened to the phrase "moving forward" recently is that Toyota has taken it on as a slogan. Unfortunately, many people in business, management, and higher education have not recognized the silliness that car salesmen now use the expression that "really smart people" have been trying to use. Sugar Ray Nagin is always "moving forward." Can somebody tell me which direction that is?

2. "What you're seeing is that . . ." This formulation is used a lot by Rush Limbaugh and people on Fox News. What they really mean to say is "What I'm seeing is that . . .." I object strongly to someone else telling me what I'm seeing. Let me see it, and then I'll explain what I see. Then you can tell me if you agree with my perception. That's called a real dialogue. "What you're seeing" ends dialogue from the outset. Sugar Ray Nagin often tells us what we're seeing.

3. "The other piece of it is . . ." Lately, I've run into allegedly smart people who use "piece" to describe abstract things. "One part of the plan is this; the other piece is . . .." That really bothers me. "Piece" is a concrete word. Please don't use "piece" to describe what should be described as "aspect" or "idea" or "thought." I haven't heard Sugar Ray use "piece" in this way, but I'll bet he has in meetings.

4. "Freedom . . ." This is a blanket to cover up or wrap in a warm fuzzy all sorts of rotten behavior. You can do anything at all if you say it's in the name of freedom. "Freedom"'s just another word for . . . you are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Sugar Ray uses "freedom" to disguise his total gutlessness about telling people, "No, you can't rebuild a slab house there. You should raise your house or rebuild in another part of town." His way of saying this is, "I trust citizens to make intelligent choices." Abdication.

5. "The Saints are going to win 3 to 5 games in 2006." I think this is self-evidently absurd. The perpetrators of this particular bit of silliness know who they are.


Easton Ellsworth said...

Nice points. I'm a stickler for accuracy and I also hate hearing things like what you mentioned.

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Roy Bragg said...

I'm impressed with your blog and the mission set forth at the top of the page. I'm a journalist from San Antonio and want to write about that exact topic for my paper. Could either Mr. Clio or Mr. Melpomene contact me ASAP: rbragg at

Karen said...

going forward is also used..I say go or move just do something

jeffrey said...

I think what you're seeing is that Jamal Brown is having difficulty preventing defensive ends from moving forward and limiting Drew Brees's freedom to throw before his delicate shoulder is clobbered.

The other piece of it is I'm unimpressed with the defense as a whole. I still say they're looking at 3-5 wins this year.