Archive for February, 2012
The confounding death of Shannon Raymond and the charges against Victoria Turley, in whose house Shannon Raymond died: This trial has been heart-rending and, in places, literally unbelievable.
A few years ago Liberty Mutual Insurance began funding a number of wonderful short films for what it called “The Responsibility Project.” My favourite is “Father’s Day.” It’s very powerful, like forgiveness, which allows us to love others as much as we need to, in the families we’ve made as well as those into which we’ve been born.
Jay Rosen’s analysis of Komen for the Cure Foundation head Nancy Brinker’s CNN zombie interview screw-up is super-lucid, and the comments section is very instructive as well. I especially liked Rosen’s use of the phrase “life raft words”:
“The recurrence of certain ‘life raft’ words, often used ungrammatically or in extremely awkward ways – ‘translate’, ‘mission’, ‘excellence’, ‘measure’, ‘outcome’ – suggests that Brinker was provided with talking points that were supposed to function as a magic switch. But she couldn’t actually make the switch happen in English, so she fell back on the words, as if brute repetition of the words could summon the magic, which of course wasn’t magical at all but simply the substitution of cheery or harmless talking points for what was actually happening outside the studio.”
I’d put “life raft” words under the broader category of bullshit, a topic I teach in my upper-level communications classes. Rosen’s phrase will be referenced there this semester and thereafter, no doubt.