Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

“Stand Up” and other Colloquialisms

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If I hear “at the end of the day” one more time, I’m going to scream.  Not really, but think about how many times you’ve heard a pundit say it at the end of an interview.  It’s supposed to be them, as an expert, saying that there is really no other way for the argument they are making to go.  They are claiming a definitiveness based on their own interpretation and authority.  But what happens when opposing sides are saying it?  Whoops, there goes another expression that was created to give power to one side that is being used by all sides and, thus becomes powerless.

Gravitas was that about five years ago.  Remember Gravitas?  If you had Gravitas, you had weight, heft.  You and your position and opinion was what everyone sought and what no one would question.  It was a reference to the immensity of gravity, which of course, is tied to the solidity and ubiquity of the Earth, without the bothersome physics.  But where is it now?  Gravitas has floated away. 

Finally, my favorite of the day … “Stand up.”  I’m hearing it especially from public radio stations.  It sort of feels like a back handed imploring by stations currently engaged in the warfare of fund drives.  Lets get the basic definitions out of the way first.  To Stand Up, means to have a backbone.  And if you don’t or won’t stand up, you are not worthy of respect.  You slither.  They can’t come through the radio and slap you for being a freeloader, listening to public radio programs without contributing to the station that airs them.  But they can insult you by implying what you are not if you don’t donate. 

Can’t stand up is another matter.  Stations constantly remind listeners that they can pay whatever you can afford, but of course, they suggest you afford the most you can.  They’re careful about that, considering some people need the infomation but can’t always put food on the table or gas in the car.  And if you can only afford the minimun, put it on an automatic payment so they’ll be sure to get at least that on a renewing basis. 

C’mon people, at the End of the Day, you have to Stand Up to have Gravitas.

I love language.    

Written by Interviewer

February 16, 2013 at 08:37

Posted in Scratchpad

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