Thursday, January 10, 2008

1-10-08: Meaningless Words

Sometimes I hear stories on the radio or TV and hear strange and meaningless sayings. Take today as an example. I was listening to a story on the way home from work about an incident on a flight near Calgary, something about bad turbulence that injured several passengers. Canadian officials said they had already started a full investigation. Not a half investigation, a full one. Then again, when was the last time you heard about a half investigation being done? Probably never. So why say full investigation? There may be some technical reason for saying it, but I don't know why, and I bet most people don't either. So just say investigation. I'll know what you mean.

This then reminded me of the variety of meaningless, wasteful terms and cliches that are used so frequently in the news and politics. Since it's an election year, you heard it all too often. So and so is for change, or reform, or they're for the people. Oh really? And last election the candidates were just in it for the cash or the recognition. I like listening to Ron Paul because he sounds different. It's like that movie with Robin Williams, where people elected a comedian as a president and people weren't all that shocked (there was a glitch in the voting software that was the reason, but that's another story). They just liked him because he was different.

I don't necessarily think the terms are completely meaningless or that the candidates are all phony. I'm sure they're good people who honestly think they have all the answers. But they don't know people well enough. People get tired of the same old thing. After a while, they just welcome change for the sake of change. And that's a bad thing. You have to know how to balance your delivery so that people don't get bored. It's sad, but it's just human nature. So when I hear candidates use the same cliches as before, I try my best not to ignore them, because I know there's a message being lost in there.

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