It’s time for my annual rant on the overuse of the phrase “sort of” on NPR.
Dear Smart People being sort of- interviewed on NPR,
You’re annoying me with your sort of- overuse of “sort of”. I know I’ve said it sort of- before, but it’s time for you to make a sort of choice about whether it is “sort of” something or actually something.
I’m not referring to it’s use to describe a class of something, such as a sort of fish, but rather as wimpy filler, to weaken a statement’s force or meaning.
Be bold! Say precisely what you mean, smart people on NPR!!!! You’ll sound even smarter than the other people who they interview on NPR!
And it’s often followed by very I’m-an-intellectual pause. That’s why I used the dash a few times above.
Ok, so this has been bothering me for awhile now. I suppose everyone has their English language pet peeves, but this is it for me. This is the big one! I rarely hear it outside of NPR interviews. I don’t know what it is about academics, scientists, or political science people of the NPR ilk that makes them say it, but it’s kind of like the Valley Girl thing. When you identify yourself with that persona, then you have to like totally talk like in a certain way…gag me with a chainsaw.
Yeah, so perhaps these guys want to identify themselves with this intellectual crowd, and somehow this mannerism has become a part of that. The problem is that it weakens everything that they say. Everything comes out mushy. You will probably never hear this kind of mannerism on Fox News, which tends to be anti-intellectual. Where life is simple and definitive. Obama is bad. Taxes are bad. You’re never gonna hear someone on Fox News say that Planned Parent is sort of bad. NO! If people who watch Fox know one thing for certain it is that Planned Parenthood is so bad that it is run by Lucifer and his minions. No doubt about it. There’s no discussion or moderation to be made! I respect it. However, in case you’re wondering I will not depend on any newscast that I perceive to be biased. No Fox. No MSNBC. And I know that many believe NPR programs to be biased, but I’ve never once heard one of the anchors express their own opinion on the news. I’m sure there are other ways to be biased that I’m unaware of, but the fact checkers put NPR and BBC at the top. And I trust independent fact checkers.
So please! NPR people! Get it together! Make up your mind!