Please Stop Talking Like That!

“There, wolf.  There, castle.”

“Why are you talking that way.”

“I thought you wanted to.”

“No, I don’t want to.”

“Suit yourself.  I’m easy.”

I can sit here and quote Young Frankenstein scenes all day, but what does this have to do with anything?

The reason all news reporters sound the same, is that they’re actually taught to speak that way.  It’s called non-regional diction and it’s goal is to make them sound like they’re not from anywhere. 

Someone thought we wanted them to talk that way.  We don’t.

At least Igor (pronounced eye-gore), was trying to sound interestingly haunting, but what Dr. Frankenstein wanted was for him to talk like and be Igor. 

In an effort to reach everyone, news reporters relate to no one.  No accent, no personality, no character, and therefore no authenticity.  It’s bland, flavorless, and monochrome.

Kind of like Sears, where I can buy underwear, a ping-pong table, a wide-screen TV, a dishwasher, and a rechargeable reciprocating saw all under the same roof.  I just can’t trust that.  In an effort to be all things, they became nothing.

Once all the personality is stripped away from every reporter, the over-inflated voice inflection is added. Throw them in strategically if you can, but anywhere is fine.  Then learn the weird, elongated downturn inflection of the last word of the story, which is used to convey a serious tone.  How would we know that three people trapped in an avalanche was serious, if not for that trick of the voice?

Some reporters add short dramatic pauses and along with the exaggerated inflections and downturns, they end up sounding like artificial intelligence designed by a collaboration between William Shatner and Christopher Walken. 

I’d rather have Walken tell me about the weather.  Traffic?  Put Samuel L. Jackson on that one. Okay, maybe we can’t afford that level of personality, monetarily or otherwise, but what we really can’t afford is a disengagement and disconnection of humans communicating with humans, from a disingenuous commentary on tragedy to a fake excitement about a soup line. 

And it’s not just the news.  Can we get just one sports commentator who didn’t recently graduate from the 1972 curriculum of cliches and empty phrases?  “You can see it in his eyes John; this kid came to play.”  “It looks like the fat lady has sung.”  “He’s just having fun out there.”  “This young lady is a real athlete.”  Ugh … I miss John Madden!

It’s fake, contrived, useless, confusing, and utterly unrelatable. 

In an effort to relate to everyone, we connect with no one, including ourselves.  Not every song is a hit and not everyone likes the hit song and that’s okay.  In fact, it’s a good thing. Create and play your music for those who want to hear it.  Trying to please those who don’t will turn any “song” into a dud and steal our soul. 

Be real.  Cheers

Photo by Freddy Kearney on Unsplash

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