Image: "Reaching out" is often a euphemism for "marketing".
Carly Simon: "You probably think this song is about you." [YouTube 4:16]
This is about the news media's descent into corporate Newspeak.
It's about a once-dignified news outlet that is reporting on Ontario Provincial PC candidate Doug Ford's alleged manipulation of his dead brother's will - and I quote:
"The Star reached out to Doug Ford Tuesday asking if he could answer the specific allegation ..."
Forget that there should be an "ON" after "FORD". If there was any proof that the news media have been terminally corporatized, the phrase "reached out" has got to be it. It may seem authentic and even impressive to some people, but to me it reeks of affectation and makes me doubt everything said thereafter.
Why couldn't the Star have simply said "The Star asked Doug Ford on Tuesday if he could answer the specific allegation"?
Is this the beginning of 1984 where workers are provided with certain words and terms to use so that they become complicit in masking the robotic reality of their own situation?
If Ontario elects Doug Ford as its premier then all the smart people have clearly moved away, and only the Trump-type-lovers remain. No couth; no scruples; just money he didn't create and an ego to match his girth.
But The Star turns out to be even ickier than Ford or Trump. Apart from the timing of the article to do what Russia was accused of - that is, attempt to influence an election - it comes across as eerily robotic in its speech. Maybe Alexa wrote that article?
As I've complained repeatedly before, the corporatized media and our media-fed schools are destroying our spoken, written language through bad grammar and buzz terms. Original meanings are gradually being lost or co-opted in an increasing use of Newspeak.
Here's a list of Orwell's Newspeak words. See if you don't find eerily similar qualities creeping into what now passes for English.
Fortunately, there are other entities who are as put off by all the "reaching out" as I am.
FastCompany: 5 Phrases You Should Never Use In An Email -- If you want to sound like an intelligent person rather than a cliché-spouting robot ...
Johnsmurf.com: ...we can blame those old AT&T ads that encouraged folks to "reach out and touch someone."
TheDailyTelegraph: in the seemingly never ending litany of stupid business phrases with little or no actual meaning, now comes what I believe could be the most irritating of all — “reaching out’’.
There are alternatives offered, but good lord, you don't have to use alternatives! Isn't it obvious that "I'm writing to you"? Or that "I'm contacting you"? Can't we just get to the point and say, "I'm hoping you can provide answers to the following questions"?
The first time I was treated to the "reaching out" ruse was in an email conversation with a man in the Executive Office of the TD Bank, and I knew immediately that he was a prime example of the Peter Principle. He assured me that he had "reached out" to his technical team and that I should rest assured that the glitches in some online features of my bank account would soon be resolved.
I could actually see him in my mind -- the vacant eyes; the drooping shoulders; the wince when he'd see my name in the list of emails. Still, for months I persisted in the hope that my online account would again be fully functional because Mr. Peter Principle was "reaching out" on my behalf.
And you might not think it but I was polite and dignified in my queries. Too polite, perhaps, because one question never answered was this: "Has the bank been hacked?" It was as if I'd never asked. Needless to say, I am no longer a TD customer.
There are all sorts of over-used buzzwords nowadays to beguile the public into accepting (and paying more for) "innovations". One that grates on me almost as much as "reaching out" is "excited". "We're so excited and you will be too."
There must be something wrong with me, because all I do is gag slightly and then wonder if these companies are "manned" by high school cheerleaders.
Just Google this: "we're so excited about our new product" if you want to see how google-eyed the whole business world has become.
Here's a list of 50 alternatives to the word "excited". "Happy" didn't make the list; too dignified I suspect. And not nearly bug-eyed enough.
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