On Naming an Obama Trend (“Obamatrend”?)

I just heard Suzanne Malveaux, en route to DC for Ted Kennedy’s official endorsement announcement of Barack Obama at American University, say that she’s been getting numerous crackberry messages from colleagues that traffic is impossible in the area. Apparently, people are dancing in the streets. That’s what she’s heard at any rate, and she attributes this to “Obama Mania.”

That got me thinking: is that one word or two? And couldn’t it be mushed together into a portmanteau, like “Obamania”?

So I ran a few searches (just Google, I’m afraid — I’ve got work to catch up on today), and looked at the number of results to see which version is most popular. Here’s what I got:

By the way — apparently none of the three has enough search volume to give me any results at Google Trends, but I’ll check back in a week or two. As Obamamania (or whatever you want to call it) grows, I have a feeling the search volume is going to get cranked up a notch or two.

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Give It To Me Straight

Remember this?

At about 2:05 into the video, Cronkite says,

From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1 PM Central Standard Time — 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.

“President Kennedy died”

I bring this up because I got up this morning, fed the cats, made myself some coffee, booted up the old ‘puter and switched on the eye of hell to see if there was anything in the news. That’s when I heard Heidi Collins, her hair done all wrong today (hey CNN hair people — it doesn’t help to make her head look like a rectangular prism) announce that “Henry Hyde has passed.”

“Henry Hyde has passed”

The moment I heard that, I remembered Cronkite from 44 years ago. Actually, as I remembered it, Cronkite had simply said, “President Kennedy is dead.” (N.B.: I was four months old when Kennedy was assassinated. Obviously, I didn’t remember it from seeing it live. In fact, my mother tells me that when the news of Kennedy’s death was announced, I was in front of our apartment building in Brooklyn, playing on a patch of grass.) But my point remains the same: he gave it to us straight.

Whether that particular phrase was in Collins’ script or she said it of her own accord, it just makes me wonder why journalists on the eye of hell have decided it’s better to feed us euphemisms. Is it their place to soften the blow when they bring us bad news? Not only does “passed” sound softer than “died,” to my ultra-sensitive atheist ears, it’s tied in with passed on to something else — that is, it’s tantamount to Collins announcing, “Henry Hyde is in Heaven, sitting at the right hand of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

Hyperbole? Well, duh. I’d like to think that an anchor on any channel other than CBN would be fired if they took things that far. But the point stands. It’s the news. Give me facts, and don’t dilute them with the kind of language you use around children to keep from upsetting them.

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