Look, Saying “Look” is Obnoxious
I’m a TV news junkie at heart. I watch CNN to hear hot stories flogged to death. I watch FOX News for a laugh. I put on C-SPAN for background noise. I used to watch MSNBC daily, but when they fired Don Imus I banned them for life. I even watch local news; some pre-cable TV habits die hard.
Network stations are good for yesterday’s traffic, today’s weather, local who-cares politics, and “human interest” fluff. The no-neck jock does the sports, the mustachioed myopic man does a movie review, the babe does weather, and a racially nondescript duo – usually one older, one younger – reads the Teleprompters.
Cable stations have bigger budgets, but the same basic elements apply. Only instead of presenting local news at 6pm and rerunning edited versions of the same stories at 11pm, these are national news superstations that run 24/7. Sure, they break it up into hourly segments starring different media darlings, but just as newspapers have their editorial slant, so too these superstations push their own ideologies.
I won’t get into which stations are hell-bent to push which political agendas. Instead, I have a beef with ALL of them when it comes to a particular speech mannerism.
What compels so many reporters and commentators to say “Look” at the start of every new thought?
Look, we get it; you’re a hired authority and you’re going to tell us something that we don’t already know. You’re in the loop, you’re insightful, you’re the expert, your opinion counts, blah blah blah. As if your ego isn’t pumped up enough, is it really necessary to look down your nose at us mere mortals by verbally punctuating your superiority?I can understand the argumentative tone in Court TV / truTV commentary, but so much of it sounds condescending instead. Some Weather Channel commentators come across more like your sixth grade teacher, and you might excuse their attitude since they’re repeating the same thing for the umpteenth time to a never-learning classroom full of students. But when the Home Shopping Network starts up, well give us a break!
Educators of the world, did you teach this verbal abomination to our kids? No? Then where are they picking up this trash talk? You can’t blame TV, because like it or not, this time the egg definitely came before the chicken. These people picked up this atrocious habit from somewhere. I have absolutely no proof, but I think that punk Dan Rather may have started it.
It didn’t used to be like this. Walter Cronkite would never have been so rude as to say “Look, that’s the way it is.” And if David Brinkley ever signed off with “Look, good night, Chet…” I think Chet Huntley would have been in his rights to just not respond.
Neil Armstrong would have sounded really aggravated if he had said “Look, that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind.” Although, after spending 4 days in a gym locker with two other guys, a little aggravation might be understandable. Still, Armstrong had more class than that.
“Look, fourscore and seven years ago…”
“Look, I have a dream…”
“Look, Ich bin ein Berliner”
Starting a sentence with “Look” is a nasty, mindless verbal habit, as lame as repeating “you know?” at the end of every sentence, and akin to saying “uhhh” when nothing better comes to mind. The usage is condescending, obnoxious, argumentative, and low-class. Respected journalism comes from a respectful demeanor. Are you listening, Bill O’Reilly?
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