When A Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

Well, that’s just sad.

The hardworking staff has a habit of recording mangled phrases in the press, and here’s our latest batch.

• About a week ago, the Boston Globe ran a story about CBS’s decision to stop broadcasting the July 4th Boston pops fireworks gala. David Mugar, the show’s executive producer, lamented that “the rest of the country will not be able to see Boston in its finest.”

Actually, that would be at its finest. Or maybe in its finery. But probably the former.

• Last month, a report on APM’s Marketplace included the phrase “if many follow in his lead . . . ” – which should have been follow his lead or follow in his footsteps. But probably the former.

• A New York Times Magazine piece on the Obama-Romney 2012 bakeoff, in which the reporter mused, “Sitting in the dark motel room, I got a sentimental yearning again – for something that might break with the predictable regiment that followed a Sobering National Tragedy.” The hardyearning staff is pretty sure he meant regimen.

• On CBS This Morning, New Republic publisher Chris Hughes commented that something or other is “harder said than done.”

• In the Boston Globe, Legal Seas Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz said of the restaurant chain’s controversial ad campaigns “we like the tongue and cheek, the double entendre if you will.”

• An NPR report said Obama administration officials had told Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi “don’t fuel the flames” of protest in his country. Better he should not fan the flames or add fuel to the fire, yeah?

• An automobile ad claimed “we’ve got you covered eight ways to Sunday.” Not to get all calendar about it, but shouldn’t that be six ways from Sunday?

• MSNBC’s First Read described New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as “a firebrand who doesn’t shirk from a fight.” Huh? Shrink from a fight, yeah? Or shirk his duty. But probably the former.

• The New Hampshire Journal in 2012:


A new poll shows the presidential race tightening . . .

Say no more.

• Former NBA player Reggie Miller on Hall-of-Fame siblings: He and his sister Cheryl “have bragging rights until I guess maybe the Mannings will be brother brother in the Football Hall of Fame, but for now, I don’t see anybody coming down the pipe.”

Actually, that would be coming down the pike or in the pipeline. Not to get technical about it.

• Finally, from ABC’s The Note: “Once again we have to ask: Is the 2012 election just a lot of sound and the fury signifying nothing?”

Hey, Noteniks: Lose the the, and you might be on to something.

And that’s the prose and cons of it.


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8 Responses to When A Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

  1. After GWB said he wouldn’t “put a timetable on the definition of the mission” in Iraq, the whole notion of words having to make sense just flew over the window for me.

  2. Tony Grima-Muise says:

    More of these, please! Thoroughly enjoyable. Though I do understand – as someone who is a better writer than speaker – which may not be saying much – that folks gabbing on a talk show can easily flub a phrase while speaking off the sleeve.

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