Thursday, November 7, 2013

MPR: I Expect Better Of You

I will, when provoked, play grammar police. On occasion, things get said that shouldn't have, or perhaps not in the most artful phrasing, or just display a tongue tripping all over itself utilizing whatever room might be left in a mouth with a foot already shoved well inside. I do understand that. I'd never consider a career on the radio. I'm prone to mis-speaking myself. However, I hold the professionals to a higher standard. I mean, if I can learn the difference between "less" and "fewer", something apparently rare, I feel I can criticize much more egregious bad language use.

This afternoon I was half-listening to the BBC News Hour on MPR. Or as they pronounce it, the Nyooz Ahhhrrr. It's one of many things that irritate me about that program. So it was almost a relief when it was interrupted momentarily for the emergency alert. The beeps/buzzes/tones/whatever-you-call-'ems sounded. Still just half listening, since I was driving to an unfamiliar address.

Then the announcer came back on with, "The following was a test of the emergency alert system."

Wait. What? "The following was...?"

He didn't sound like an ESL speaker. He didn't sound all that stupid either, aside from what he'd just said. Maybe another something to blame on Ambien?

I don't care about excuses. I simply expect excellence from MPR. Lucky me, maybe not-so-lucky them, due to my membership I have the number an actual human answers in my cell phone. I called it. I quoted what I'd heard, expressing my expectations for better use of language. Yes, I was polite. Of course. Unless you think it's rude to say that the quality of what I heard was worthy of FOX.

OK, maybe that was a low blow.

But how do  you not know the difference between "following" and, say, "previous"? It's like saying black is white, male is female, up is down... OK, the FOX comment wasn't such a low blow after all.

So, MPR, if you guys made fewer stupid mistakes, especially in scripted, repeated PSAs, I'd be less inclined to call you up and complain.

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