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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Viva Commerce! (#13)

McDonaldDear McDonald’s,

I notice that in one of your recent advertisements for the double cheeseburger, you describe the sandwich as “melty” and “beefy”. I’m familiar with the latter word, which Webster’s defines as

1 a : heavily and powerfully built [a beefy thug] b : SUBSTANTIAL, STURDY [beefy shock absorbers]
2 a : of or suggesting beef [a beefy flavor] b : full of beef [a beefy steak]

Since I don’t eat beef, I’ll just give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that at least one of those definitions accurately describes your burger. It does seem fairly sturdy in the ad.

This brings us to that other adjective: melty. I looked, and it’s just not in there. It’s not really a word, folks.

Taco Bell logoI’m guessing you got it from Taco Bell, with their “melty, melty, melty” cheese. Well, I’m here to tell you that Taco Bell is wrong, and I would have thought you’d know better than to use a word just because they do. If Taco Bell jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?

I’m very disappointed in you.

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Viva Commerce! (#12)

Dear Universal Technical Institute,

Universal Technical InstituteThat name of yours is quite a mouthful — Universal Technical Institute. Ten syllables in those three words. Of course, if the institute really is universal (on top of being technical), it must be a pretty big place. But that’s neither here nor there… well, again, if it’s universal, then I suppose it really is both here and there. But I digress.

Considering the length of the name and the cost of time on the eye of hell, I can understand why you’d feel the need to come up with an abbreviated version. I wonder, however, if you considered possibilities like “UniTech,” “UTech,” “UT” or “Universal” before you decided to go with UTI, which in case you didn’t know, already has a pretty common usage for something other than technical institutes, universal or otherwise.

One other question: do your vending machines serve cranberry juice?

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All New – The All New Version

Ford 500I wrote a post last year about the use of the phrase “all new” in advertising, but I assure you, this post is all new.

Remember the Ford Taurus? It was pretty popular back in its time. In fact, I think it beat out the Accord as the most popular car in the US for a year or two. It was discontinued just a year or two back, and replaced with the all new Ford 500. The 500 wasn’t such a big hit, though.

Ford TaurusWell, Ford is going to make everyone happy now, as the 500 is to be replaced with the all new 2008 Taurus. That’s a picture of an ’08 Taurus to the right, and the picture above is an ’06 500. Do you see what I see?

I see two almost identical cars. The new model doesn’t have the chrome strip along the side, the taillights are different, and it looks like the front turning signals might be slightly different as well, but that’s about it. So basically, what those deep thinkers at Ford have done is to take a not new model, attach a not new name to it, and come up with what they refer to as an all new product.

While I’m on the subject, the old all new post mentioned the use of the term “hit” being used for any program on the eye of hell, whether it received a large audience or not. Well, I saw a promo for Fox’s new game show, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” last night. I think the program has aired once or twice at this point. Did they refer to it as a hit? Actually, no, they didn’t. Instead, the promo spoke of the “Don’t Forget the Lyrics phenomenon.” At first, that kind of threw me. Is a phenomenon bigger than a hit? Then I realized they’re probably just using the dictionary definition of the word: an observable fact or event, or an object or aspect known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition. That’s fair. I mean, I haven’t seen the show, but I think it’s safe for me to assume that if I were to tune in, I would experience something through my senses.

I just prefer not to find out exactly what that experience might be.

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