Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Media Jargon

If there is one thing that our New Zealand media love, it’s thrashing their tired old clichés. Better yet is coining a new phrase then saying it so much that we as the viewing public cannot help but embrace it.

 Really my only point of reference is the TV3 6 o’clock news bulletin. With presenters such as the sorrow engendering and heart-string tugging, the guilt eliciting and empathy evoking Mike McRoberts on current events and the pun-tastic Hamish McKay on sports, simply, I don’t feel that I need further sources.

‘Come now,’ I hear you saying, ‘that’s just silly. There’s no way that a simple media network can be responsible for launching and perpetuating flashy new terms or catch-phrases… Is there..?’

How silly is it really? Tell me, going back a few years, when discussing a recent political incident among friends, how common was it to hear someone utter the word, ‘Slammed’, as in, “Oh yeah, good old J Key, he really slammed that twat Shearer’s argument…”

That’s right. Few years ago it wasn’t even part of our vernacular – three times I heard it slurred at the pub last weekend. These days, you’d be lucky to hear a news broadcast that didn’t involve somebody slamming something, or somebody.

So what the hell does that even mean? Is someone physically bludgeoning something here or is it more hypothetical, as in, ‘given a particular set of circumstances, I would slam your f…?’

So. Still having difficulty believing that you are under the influence of that almighty juggernaut, the all-compelling media network?

Try this. How many of you fell out of trees when you were kids? Yeah. I’m guessing there are a lot of raised hands – we used to do it for a laugh, see how high you could go before you fell… Ten years ago, you fell out of a tree, it was your own fault for not hanging on tight enough. Now it’s considered an accident. Ten years ago, you drove a tractor down the road with a raised front end loader and surprise surprise, you hooked into some low hanging power lines, you were a dick for driving a tractor down the road with a raised front end loader.

Now that is what the media call a freak accident.

When some idiot is surf-casting from a big rock amid five metres of pulsating ocean then surprise surprise, in comes the tide, along comes that notorious seventh wave and down he goes like a sodden sack of shit, this kind of mishap is not an accident and certainly it is not a freak.

This is just what happens when you act like an irreverent pillock.

The word epidemic is bandied about a great deal these days, so what about pan-demic? Gosh, that sounds much worse, it will surely kill us all..? In fact a pandemic is more or less the same thing as its epi-inspired counterpart, but of course when referring to the bird, cow and swine diseases of the World, ‘Global Pandemic’ is much more eye-catching. See the theme? It’s an obesity epi-demic because no one really cares, but a swine flu pan-demic because it might be you who dies. See what they’ve done there? Wow. What kind of bountiful linguistic cornucopias will our fine broadcasters come up with next?

While I can’t be sure that our beloved media is responsible for the excretion of this next piece of crap, I am certain it is a term that they love to perpetuate. In fact I have yet to witness anything ‘Go Viral’, but the day that I do, well, you better believe that will be a good day for all involved.

Admittedly, when something first spread throughout the Internet with more celerity than is safe for any sane mind to comprehend, it was most likely a rabble of slack-jawed teenagers who made the assessment, “Wow. Dude, that’s like, going viral or something…” or something.

Even so, our middle aged news presenters do look comical wrapping their dignified lips around such a decided colloquialism.

By definition, a freak is something which occurs out of the ordinary. Therefore. Thoughtless, asinine; idiotic behavior and the unfortunate circumstances which come as a result, cannot rightly be considered ‘out of the ordinary’. To slam something is to hit it violently and noisily – every time I hear on the news that someone has slammed David Shearer, I hope for the best. Epidemic is the same as pandemic – by definition one is ‘illness over a vast area’ and the other is ‘widespread illness’. As for anything else going viral, I always suspected this internet phenomenon might become an epidemic.

Finally for my own peace of mind, please hear this: a car crash is not an accident. Granted, chances are it was not done deliberately thereby qualifying it as a mistaken happening, therefore a mishap…

Let’s just cut the crap and call them crashes.


Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by T Ruth-Hunter

Photography by C Lee-Fulce

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