Let’s hit the ground running and create the right synergy, so we can go after low-hanging fruit. If you don’t have the bandwidth, phone me. Let’s touch base and think outside the box.
I did not create the paragraph above. I stole it from the internet to illustrate that this is an essay about the annoying overuse of buzz words by people in the media. I have long ago confessed to being a TV news junky, although recently I have been able to go on a bit of a diet. But I still engage sufficiently to become irritated by the expressions one hears repeatedly, metaphors that may have been clever the first 100 times they were used but are now downright irritating.
I also resent the repeated use of these words and phrases because they can also be downright intimidating. Their use is supposed to send a signal that the person using them is an up-to-date expert. The user is “in,” and if you didn’t connect with the metaphor, you are so not.
I have no idea how these words become popular, but I have my suspicions. Perhaps once a year, representatives from the business and news media hold their annual “Edgy Word Convention” at a large venue, maybe Madison Square Garden. After days of meeting in small groups they come together to vote on a fresh list of buzz words aimed at cleverness, which is then disseminated to all the talking heads with instructions to begin use immediately.
I know my little fantasy is not plausible, but I’m at a loss to explain how these expressions permeate newsprint and TV with such widespread usage. If anyone has other ideas, please let me know.
Their origins notwithstanding, below I present my personal list of current offenders. Words and phrases that I wish never to hear again!
Low Hanging Fruit.
Clearly a phrase that originated with gathering produce from a tree by someone with acrophobia, the phrase has become a metaphor for something that is easy to obtain, achieve, or take advantage of. In other words, picking off what’s easy, and maybe avoiding the harder work of explaining that the tougher stuff is being avoided?
One of my personal favorites when it comes to words I never want to hear again. Originally, a wheelhouse described that part of a boat or ship serving as a shelter for the person at the wheel. Now, in trendy terms, it has come to mean outside of one’s area of interest or expertise. Surely there’s an explanation for the transition. But unfortunately, that explanation isn’t in my wheelhouse!
Another favorite. The word, which means exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally, has been so overused on TV and in speeches by our President, that I fear the word itself has become, you guessed it, hyperbole!
Please! Leave this word where it originated, in math and science. Meaning having two parts, its overuse extends to decision-making, ways of thinking, describing sexual identity, or lack thereof. Given the binary choice of yes or no when it comes to the word “binary,” my choice is definitely NO!
The term, which originally refers to a range of frequencies used to transmit a signal, has been co-opted to mean the ability of a person or an audience to deal with a particular set of facts or circumstance. Personally, my band width for tolerating jargon has significantly narrowed!
Take a Listen
A ridiculous phrase that it very popular with TV reporters when they are about to present a video or a piece of audio. As often as I’ve heard it spoken, (and that would be very often) I still ponder how one actually “takes a listen,” as opposed to simply listening.
Give me a break! The same news I heard at 8:00 o’clock this morning is no longer breaking at 5 PM, Mr. Blitzer!
Enough already with the “gates!” It’s been 50 years since Watergate and surely all the clever media people can come up with a new expression to label a scandal!
It’s Like Playing Whac-a-Mole
Anyone out there actually play Whac-a-Mole? I doubt it. It’s an arcade game you play with a mallet and try to drive a little animal into the ground, and when you do, another little animal pops up. Sounds pretty violent to me. So, how did it become the overused metaphor to describe a situation where you solve one problem, and another crops up?
My list is actually longer, but I’m woke to your band width, so I’ll stop now. But if you watch breaking news, take a listen. Let me know if you hear some hyperbole. I’m always eager for a good cliché!