COLUMN: Topple the tower of babble

COLUMN: Topple the tower of babble

Politicians should speak less and say more.

It’s starting to get silly again.

With the American presidential election over last fall, I expected that political speech writers would give us a break from the banal.

But the hurricane of the humdrum is back.

Politicians should speak less, and say more.

There’s a flurry of rhetoric rolling in, many from B.C. politicians eyeing seats in Victoria for the May 14 provincial election.

The problem is the endless repetition of “moving forward,” “the people of British Columbia,” and “at the end of the day.”

These phrases have taken over, leaving any actual point of the speech in the ditch.

The words, ultimately, mean nothing, yet they’re at the core of every stump speech, public apology, resignation, accusation, interview, public posture, policy declaration, and related mindlessness at the microphone.

Isn’t it just easier to have dead air? Five seconds of silence here or there could make the speaker and the audience focus. The audience might suddenly remember that they stopped listening a few move-forwards ago.

I’m stunned that speakers aren’t booed every time they say “move forward” or “moving forward.”

Forward to what? Are we talking distance or time? Is there a mathematical formula for it?

It makes the listener (at least the one paying attention to the semantics) want to – how is it usually said? – spend more time with their family.

Sorry, but if you’re standing at the mic, you’re not moving forward. You’re just standing there, so stop that silliness and say something useful without the “F” word.

Facts are better. Try those instead.

And another thing, if you’re eyeing a seat in the B.C. legislature, you know you’re dealing with the people of British Columbia. You don’t have to say it to your audience. Over. And over.

We know who we are, and so do “B.C. families,” an apparent sub-species of “the people of British Columbia.”

Last comes the silliest one of all.

There’s a kind of climax to “at the end of the day,” as if the words yield some sort of fantastic conclusion to an argument.

Here’s my argument: The best way to use this phrase is thusly: “At the end of the day, I used an irritating verbal crutch, indicating closure or synopsis, because I am a moron who can’t finish a comment without resorting to this tired old cliché.”

Here’s a fact, speech writers – at the end of the day, the sun goes down.

Tomorrow, try again.

bjoseph@surreyleader.com

 

Surrey North Delta Leader