Tuesday, January 5, 2016

So NPR is kind of, you know, afraid to get in the, like, weeds.

Don’t get me wrong. NPR is, for all of its faults, essential. But it’s not, like, what it used to be. Or is it sort of just me?

So, NPR has, like, lots of announcers—“hosts” and correspondents, not newsreaders—who insist on using the phrases "kind of" or "sort of", like, it seems every three, you know, sentences. It’s as if they fear speaking a full, kind of, declarative sentence. Maybe they’re afraid someone will fact-check whether it was, in fact, the third time or it was, alas, the fourth time in the past three weeks that Trump had, kind of, insulted Bush, Clinton or Rubio in the first 18 words of the third sentence of his fourth speech of the, like, week.

And when it comes to interviewing someone on anything that's like, connected to, you know, the economy or finance, NPR announcers, like, insist on, kind of, chuckling that everything is too complicated and their listeners could not possibly be, like, interested in, or capable of, delving into the details. So they, like, cut off the interview by saying it's "too in the weeds" or some other, like, reference to "the weeds" that makes me wanna, you know, throw up.

And, like virtually everyone under 40, they are, like, really into using the word "like" in their interviews, either as a, you know, meaningless filler, or as a verb to mean, sort of,  "said," as in, "She like ‘please stop misusing that word.’”

And, to top it off, either they or their interviewees, like, always end each phrase with their voices ascending to a higher note--sort of like "duh duh duh dee dee dee." This incessant "upward inflection" is kind of, like, annoying. 

It's not as if I'm, like, intolerant of the younger generation, but I do get really sort of irritated by the non-stop banalization of the English language by everyone, and when NPR does it, I, like, despair. If NPR has no standards, what basis do we believe that any grammatical, usage or punctuation standards will survive? It makes me feel more and more like I'm a member of the, like, Grammar Community.

So, I hope Robert Segal never retires and NPR, like, kind of, you know, brings back Bob Edwards. And Red Barber, while they're, like, at it.

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