Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Think Therefore I Am...Annoyed

My latest metamorphosis into the love child of Andy Rooney and William Safire has occurred as a result of having excess frequent flier miles on America West.

I used to travel to California frequently, often using America West--an albeit crappy airline—for the simple reason that their layovers were in Phoenix or Las Vegas. After spending ten too many delayed or cancelled flight situations in places like Cincinnati, Detroit and Chicago, and being no closer to LA then when I’d left my house nine hours prior, I decided that America West was the way to go. Even if all aviation hell broke loose in Vegas, I knew I could still conceivably get myself to LA rather than languishing in an airport too far from both home and destination to be of any practical use.

Shortly after my California trip habits ended, America West merged with USAirways, no doubt due to my role in their precipitous revenue decline. As a result of the merger I had unused frequent flier miles. Not enough to cash in for travel and too many to ignore the fabulous offer provided by AW: get magazine subscriptions “paid” for with my old, otherwise useless miles.

As a further result I have been reading a lot of magazines lately. Some good, some terrible, but all having one thing in common: the lamentable use of the distracting and annoying (new?) device I call the “think crutch.” In an otherwise interesting or stupid-but-innocuous article, say on nutrition, the author will say something like, “Diets high in flavonoids and polyphenols (think raspberries and blueberries)…” In an article about our obsession with celebrity culture, the writer will say, “…people who are famous for being famous (think Paris Hilton)…” In another article the writer will say, “Give your woman some romance for Valentine’s Day (think chocolates and champagne)…”

Where did this “think crutch” come from? Whatever happened to using complete sentences, complete thoughts? Would it have killed the writer to say something like, “..found in blueberries and raspberries…” or “…such as Paris Hilton…”? It’s just so effing lazy and faux chatty to do an end-run around actual writing by always relying on the “think Ernest Borgnine” or “think genital herpes” device.

To me it signifies yet another nail in the coffin of written communication, and it is bugging the hell out of me. I barely noticed its use until I read it three times in one article in one of the parenting magazines. Unfortunately, as these things go, now that I’ve noticed it, I can’t stop noticing it. Also unfortunately, I think the trend toward dumbed-down communication is here to stay. Which is why I wrote this post for you.

Think Misery Loves Company. :)

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