The Sunday Edition

Let's step up, reach out and throw clichés under the bus - Michael's essay

The media are bringing out their new spring line of clichés.
Michael's essay 1:31

Are you getting tired of stepping up? I know I am. I find it very tiring. And sometimes boring as all get out.

Everybody wants us to step up these days, even our super-charged prime minister. Last week he promised that Canada would step up. For something or other.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians should "step up." (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
Which is not to be confused with reaching out. Reaching out is altogether different but I'm not sure how. Given the choice between stepping up and reaching out, I think I'd pick reaching out. Less calisthenic.

Yes, the media have brought out their Spring line of clichés, with some new offerings and a refashioning of old favourites.

We media types are very meticulous about tending our precious garden of clichés and  buzzwords, and sharing them with our various publics.

If they have anything in common, this year's, like last season's, seem to involve a good deal of physical exertion. 

In addition to stepping up and reaching out, people are more and more caught up in the excitement of drilling down.

Commentators, pundit panels and professional explainers are chronically addicted to drilling down. 

Again, some people get tangled up in confusion sorting out the difference between drilling down and doubling down.

I think that doubling down removes the obligation of the listener or reader to drill down.

Same way with connecting the dots. My wrists can get very sore very quickly if I spend a lot of time connecting the dots.
Connect the dots ... (

But if you're looking for real fatigue, try throwing somebody under the bus. Everybody is throwing somebody or other under the bus this season, especially politicians and really especially Republican politicians.

Residents can now take the Greyhound from Kitchener's Charles St. terminal to Pearson International Airport. (Amanda Grant/CBC)

On second thought, perhaps you are the kind of person who is quite experienced at throwing somebody under the bus, and do it with ease.

There is some physical exertion needed to pick the low-hanging fruit but not much. And politicians and reporters come out on top in the need to pick the low-hanging fruit.

Again in the physed cliche department, when politicians are not fruit-picking, they are invariably walking something back.

This happens after they take some insensitive or inappropriate statement out for a walk in the bright noonday light of media attention.

Sensing trouble in the room, they walk it back. Radio hosts do a lot of back-walking.

Speaking of which, when we say someone is the smartest person in the room, I want to know how big the room is and who are the other people? How did they get in? Did they buy a ticket?

Sharing is back this season, you'll be glad to know. More and more conversations are winding up with one or the other party saying, "Thanks for sharing."

Sharing is a friendly word; it sounds like caring and comes with a lot of emotional empathy.

I forget whether it's a gerund or a participle.  

There are some familiar faces in this spring's lineup --- selfie, game changer. Awesome, of course, and basically. 

Michael Enright: "But the most exciting newcomer in cliché fashion-land comes from an unexpected source, squinty-eyed weirdnik Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas." (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
But the most exciting newcomer in cliché fashion-land comes from an unexpected source, squinty-eyed weirdnik Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Asked to comment on the release of part of Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns, the gentleman from the Lone Star State called it "a nothing burger."

You could practically hear the media biggies swoon. 

Watch for it friends, in the coming months. We will be served nothing burgers until our mental waistlines explode.

Personally I think all media should avoid using it.

Like the plague.

Click the 'listen' button above to hear Michael's essay. 


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