Mon, 29 Aug 2005

I’ve gone on a bit much lately about ‘speaking in a human voice’. It’s not just true for people in marketing; the news folks should get on the bandwagon too. The use and abuse of adjectives I’ve seen today (I’ve watched several hours of CNN and Weather Channel) is just nutty. Perhaps most importantly in a situation like a hurricane, they can’t just shut up. They have to keep talking. They can’t let themselves be speechless, like normal human beings. They can’t just be awed at the power of nature, like normal human beings. They can’t say ‘I’m doing something stupid because it is fun, or because I like being on TV’, instead they have to ‘bravely venture out into the wind’. I want to see the images, and I want to get the details, so I’m still watching, but what they need to cover this sort of thing are poets who aren’t afraid to cite numbers or get wet, and instead we have hacks who don’t speak the same language as the rest of us.

It is probably worth noting that in non-hurricane contexts, they still can’t be speechless or outraged or shocked- everything is delivered neutrally, or in the case of Fox, spectacularly over the top. I think maybe a big reason people love the Daily Show is because Jon Stewart talks like they do when they talk about the news, or at least, like they wish they could talk if they had a team of comedy writers. No one wishes they had a team of news writers, or marketing writers. Maybe that’s a lesson.

Took a GMAT practice test this morning, which kept me completely out of the loop all morning. Other than being interrupted by a flaky network, it was good; I’m confident at this point I can make a pretty high score.