Again. Forget the oil spill, the nation is drowning in word spill.
This weekend, in South Bend, IN, I attended a graduation, and offer excerpts from the commencement address.
NBC anchor Brian Williams on Sunday urged 2010 University of Notre Dame graduates to help find ways to contain and correct the massive oil spill that is polluting the Gulf of Mexico.
“As we speak, there are 4 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil is pouring, billowing into the Gulf of Mexico.”
“As I stand here, there is nothing to stop it,” he said.
“We are staring, make no mistake, at a slow-motion environmental disaster,” Williams said.
The anchor said he is certain this graduating class has the brain power to help fix it.
Please note that the highlighted phrases are meaningless, word compost at best, that when removed do not alter the message.
As we speak ?
Note, he’s the only one speaking while thousands are compelled to listen.
As I stand here.
Hmmm, 15,000 attendees noticed, as we were seated.
Make no mistake.
Is he emphasizing the ignorance of the audience that clearly must know nothing of the BP disaster ?
Williams is probably an o.k. guy, but he and his ilk have inundated us with worthless drivel.
The more vacuous Matt Lauer incessantly resorts to the following:
- Be that as it may
- Truth be told
- By and large
- If, in fact
- That being said
Harry Smith, suffering from terminal sappiness, makes me beg for the return of Howard K. Smith and Walter Cronkite. George Stephanopoulus, among the best, is being held hostage by the toys and bubbles network, ABC, and the certified dingleberry, Charlie Gibson.
Why can’t Andy Rooney and Charles Osgood buy these guys a copy of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style”, if only to reference in the bathroom during moments of meditation ?
First published in 1918, “forty-three-page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English”
Williams, conferred the traditional honorary academic credentials, never graduated from college (he left early for an internship with the Jimmy Carter campaign).
But Brian will always have a terrific punchline,” No, I never graduated from college, but I do have a degree from Notre Dame”.