When a Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés (‘Tamper Down’ Edition)

From our That’s Just Sad desk

Every now and again the hardclipping staff chronicles the mangled phrases uttered by the differently clichéd among us and, man, they are legion. Here’s our latest batch, in reverse chronological order.

• The other day the Boston Herald reported that “Boston’s Irish community is on high alert after ICE agents detained a local leader for deportation, sparking fears that thousands of other illegal immigrants living and working here for years could be next.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had this to say: “There’s a fear out there, we have to try and tamper the fear down.”

All due respect, Mistah Mayah, but you can temper the fear, or tamp the fear down. Either way, please stop tampering with the English language.

• Back in January, the New York Times featured this headline on Page One of the Business section: “Fears for the Future Prompt a Boon for Dystopian Classics.”

Er, not to get all negative on the Grey Lady, but wethinks you either prompt a boom or are a boon. Bon?

• Also in January, NPR’s All Things Considered ran a piece about young undocumented immigrants currently protected under the Obama DACA policy but worried that Donald Trump might rescind it. Without that protection, a young woman said, “maybe I could do a job under the books.”

Actually, she would do the job under the table, or off the books. We just hope she’s okay.

• Last December, as Trump struggled to find “top-name talent for his January inauguration,” the Herald reported that Ayla Brown, American Idol distant runner-up and daughter of Scott Brown and Gail Huff, said she’d be “‘honored to perform’ if tapped by the  president-elect.”

Brown added, “It surprises me that a lot of people are turning the other cheek.”

Turning him down, yes. Giving him the back of their hand, maybe. But turning the other cheek? Nah.

• Last November, a Boston Globe piece in the Sports section featured this statement on trade rumors swirling about the Boston Celtics: “And, unsurprisingly, they caught like wildfire . . .”

Surprisingly, the writer didn’t know that the rumors would have either spread like wildfire or caught fire. Not to damper things down.

• Headline on Mediaite last September: “Colbert Shreds Into Gary Johnson’s Gaffe History: ‘Bombing That Bad Should Be a War Crime'”.

Sorry – you could tear into Gary Johnson’s gaffe history, or you could shred it. Either way, Johnson definitely deserved to be ripped.

• Also last September, Politico’s 2016 Blast tipsheet featured this item about the jockeying over whether NBC’s Lester Holt should fact-check Donald Trump in his first debate with Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON’s campaign is pressing its case to anyone listening not to let DONALD TRUMP get away with it, POLITICO’s Nolan D. McCaskill reports. Trump’s campaign is firing back, arguing that the media is biased against the GOP nominee and that Clinton is, in fact, trying to “game the refs.”

Not to get technical about it, but she would have been trying to game the system, or work the refs. Just for future reference.

• Again last September, during a discussion of New Hampshire’s “silver tsunami” of seniors on WGBH radio’s aptly named Under the Radar, Granite State radio personality Arnie Arnesen said “we’ve really been dragging our knuckles in addressing this problem.”

Ouch. Much less painful to be dragging your feet, yeah?

• Yet again last September, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton talked to Politico’s Campaign Pro about his super PAC’s focus on digital advertising in the 2016 elections.

A factor that distinguishes us is that we buy almost no broadcast TV. Almost everything we do is digital and social media communications because, one, it’s the way of the future, and two, it’s much more cost effective and three, we want to catch up with Democrats on digital.

Not to get super PICy about it, but one, digital and social media communications might be the wave of the future, or two, they might be the way forward. As Sam Spade would insist, there’s no third way.

• Finally – from both last September and Politico’s New York Playbook – Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-Mario Not) said this about the 2016 New York State Fair, which broke the previous attendance record from 2001: “This fair is a different fair than it was. Not to cast dispersion on what it looked like last year, but I’m casting dispersion on what it looked like last year.”

First of all, it’s cast aspersions.

Second of all, the definition of dispersion is “the action or process of distributing things or people over a wide area.”

Which is exactly what Andrew Cuomo has not done as governor of the Empire State.

So maybe shut up.

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