As one foreigner to another (and other TV reporters).
There was a time when English was spoken practically over the whole world. Those were the days when the sun never set over the British Empire. It wasn’t so long ago. In my school, in Spinkhill, a hamlet near Sheffield, we had been taught not only English grammar, syntax and suchlike, but also literature, poetry and elocution. For a young immigrant from Poland, most of it sounded Double Dutch.
Yet, somehow I, a bloody foreigner, managed to matriculate, (by the skin of my teeth). And then I came to Canada. Already in England the erosion of literary English was well on its way, but it was nothing compared to what was happening on this side of the Big Pond. While I fully approve the Americans’ emancipation from their royal oppressors, some respect for their mother tongue is, and surely should be, desirable.
Periodically, writers and poets lament our misuse of the English language, invariably to our cutural detriment. We seem to feel good about it. And that reminds me. No one ever feels well, anymore. They all feel good. About what, they don’t say. They imply that we should already know. "You know", they repeat ad nauseam, a glazed haze filling their eyes. "No Sir/Madam, I do not know," I hasten to assure them. To no avail. "You know," they repeat, often five times in a single sentence.
Here are a few more of my pet peeves:
I love women. Females are the progeny-bearing members of fauna. While I am sure there are many among the female persuasion do not qualify to be called women, others, hopefully most of them, do. Women, ladies, gentlewomen, matrons, girls, all of them are of the female persuasion but hopefully are not identified solely by their sexual prowess.
The same is true of males v. men, only in reverse, so to speak.
Stories are the domain of fiction, not of news programs. News programs are intended to provide reports on the latest events. They are not stories––often embroidered beyond any semblance of truth by those who tell ‘stories’. The news-casters (as they were once called) are supposed to stick to reporting facts, sometimes referred to as the truth (an old-fashioned word apparently missing from their dictionary).
And the newscasters should deliver, speak, tell us or announce the news, NOT perform them. This includes the ‘weathermen/women’ who should attempt, no matter how unsuccessfully, to forecast the weather, not perform a fandango in front of a wall-screen thus making the map near-invisible. By all means they can unload their dramatic frustrations in their own homes, in front of their retarded families, but please, not in my living room.
Next––"Music" (originally referred to as pandemonium, or excruciating noise).
It used to be customary for two people not to speak at the same time. Good elocution demands it. It is apparent that the speakers, particularly on TV, became so depressed by this old-fashioned notion, that now they choose to compete against the near constant accompaniment of percussion, while they ‘perform’ the news. This is true of most business new in Canada and, to a lesser degree, in the US. The noise of percussion is often so loud as to drawn most of the speaker’s deliveries. It is possible, of course, that they have nothing interesting to say.
There are many other peeves to which I’m sure you can add a number of your own. I have no wish to enervate you too much. You might well not feel well. (Or is it good, in your case? In my days good defined ethical stature, not the condition of your physical wellbeing).
I shall conclude with a quiet request (no drum-roll, please). When you’re alone, walking in the wilderness, or even on your balcony, by all means relieve your internal pressures by breaking wind. But please, do not break news. It sounds disgusting.