Sue McGhee writes about her view of the world--politics, history, the Arts, family and opinion. See her new novel entitled "When the Eagle Flies with the Condor" and her collection of short stories "Voices" at www.suemcghee.com and www.amazon.com.
Copyright (c) 2011 by G. Sue McGhee
With the undaunted and continuous reporting on every aspect of our world – both political and personal – as a result of the “twenty-four-hour-news cycle,” certain phrases appear again and again in our Media ad nauseum. It isn’t just the “talking heads” who commit the sin of “pundit drivel.” It’s the supposed “experts” of all fields whom the pundits interview.
We are being proselytized on a daily basis to thinking in terms of the clichéd cliché.
Here are few that have come to make me cringe:
“. . .having said that...”
“. . .that being said. . .”
“. . .at the end of the day. . .”
“. . .we’ll get to that on the other side. . .” (of the commercial break).
“. . .he allegedly. . .” (did something like cross the street).
". . .whatever. . ." ". . . it is what it is . . ."
“. . .what were (are) your feelings. . .?” (asked of someone who can hardly speak because of being choked up with tears after a tragedy in their lives). ". . .sorry for your loss . . ." ". . .what was going through your mind . . .? (when the gunman shoved the gun in your face).
“. . . let’s DO this. . .”
“. . . be that as it may. . .”
“. . . so . . . “ (a word currently used to preface the answer to a question – Mike Morell should know better!)
“. . . like . . . “ (Oh, please, let’s get rid of this word used to begin a sentence or to fill a pause. Like, I'd be over-joyed!)
“. . . I know what the optics are. . .” The White House Staff uses “optics” a lot. How about something like, “. . . I know how this appears. . .”
Appearances do matter and so do words.
My latest peeve, however, is the use of “complex” when the speaker means “complicated.” Yes, the dictionary makes it sound like they are interchangeable. However, there is a subtle difference in the connotation of the words. In the case of the word “complex” the connotation is and has always been one of the following: containing multiple interconnected parts; a composite; multi-faceted; a complex system of something.
"Complicated," on the other hand, is not that complicated -- it connotes difficult to understand, analyze, explain or follow.
Am I the only one who gets rankled with the sloppy use of "I" and "me," "he" and "him" as well as "she" and "her?" One should give it to "me;" therefore, one should also give it to "him and me" or "her and me." Please don't let one give it to "her and I," since one would never give it to "I," would they? I guess it's just me!
Next up: my rant on Pharmaceutical commercials. I’ll bet you can’t wait!
I am writing my memoirs and by doing so, I discovered that I am a rebel. It's not that I never knew I was a rebel, but because of the process of writing, I've decided to own up to it.
rebellious is not a negative thing though it does sometimes mean going in the
opposite directions of the general drift of society or established opinion.
I never saw myself
as a political rebel, though I must say that today I feel that the more
corporate America takes over almost every facet of our lives, including buying
our “elected” officials, the more we are thrust into having to submit to
regulatory restrictions, and the more “big brother” interferes with the truly
personal choices of our lives, the more I think we should rebel.
I am not
suggesting we take up arms and start an insurrection but I do recommend
thinking about some of the propaganda we’re exposed to on a daily basis simply
by watching television. We're being brainwashed either by the commercials or the lies our
politicians toss out there, freely and without remorse or regret. It is immoral and
degrading. But, it’s just politics, right? And, I don’t need to remind you that there are at
least 10 minutes of commercials in every half hour of content. Think about
it! We, the public, are supposed to own the air
Included are the news media. All of our broadcast networks
as well as CNN have basically the same news content which they regurgitate over
and over ad nauseum especially if it
is salacious or has a racial component; to wit, Ferguson and Baltimore. There are real journalists out there, but I rarely see them on our news channels. Anything that is the least bit sensational will take precedence over "hard" news.
As a rebel,
I have stopped watching the standard networks. I watch the BBC, The DW from Berlin or Al Jazeera America. At least I can find out what is going on in
the rest of the world.
I have to
admire the so-called “free range” parents who had the audacity to allow their
children to walk home alone and were turned in by (no doubt) well meaning neighbors. Of course there are sick people out there and we should protect our kids, but
we cannot hover over them for the rest of their lives keeping them safe from every event that might occur in the future. These parents are considered deviant. Or are they just rebels?
takes courage to be a rebel because as a rebel, you are taking a risk, putting
yourself out there, opening yourself up to criticism, or even derision. If we err against the current mantra of "political correctness" we are in danger of becoming a victim of the "thought police."
Have we indeed become
the fictional society imagined by George Orwell, controlled by newspeak and afraid to utter a thoughtcrime? Read. Think. Write letters. Boycott. Speak out against the pap shoved down our throats by media, politicians and their corporate bosses. Speak out against the utter lack of accountability, against sameness and conformity. Be a rebel.
I am an American woman and U.S. citizen – a staunch
supporter of Israel.
I’ve admired the Israeli people for years -- long after I
got over my teenage infatuation with Ari ben Canaan (Exodus, 1958). For years, I fervently
believed in the courage and fearlessness of the early underground, Haganah (IDF), the inherent romantic
ideal of theSabraand the immensely sensible
structure of theKibbutzim.
Your people brought forth a veritable garden from the dry
and rocky Negev Desert. You elected the
miraculously astute Golda Meir as your Prime Minister long before most
countries would take their women seriously as political leaders. And, you allowed your women to fight. This is a country to be proud of, I remember thinking
– you were resourceful, brainy and courageous.
But then, you elected Benjamin Netanyahu as your Prime
Minister and I began to doubt. Netanyahu
appears to have no desire for the peace process. I believe that he hates the Arabs and thinks the only thing they understand is force; to wit, the long-standing
wars and the continued illegal settlements. He is pompous, he is arrogant; he
is a destroyer, not a builder.
come to despise his muscle-flexing and his interminable fear-mongering over Iran.
And now, after his duplicitous behavior in concert with
our Speaker of the House of Representatives, I believe he is not only careless,
by his reckless interference in our political system, but is a danger to our
country as well as yours.
Bradley Burston in a recent piece in Ha’aretz, says of
your prime minister “. . . he has
poisoned his country. Israel is broken and battered and weak with fear... His
legacy is decay."
If you re-elect Benjamin Netanyahu, he and his bellicose defense
minister, Avignor Lieberman could take us ALL to war with Iran, as we Americans
will never be far from our greatest ally -- you. However, I do not want more war
and I do not believe that the majority of your people want war.
And that is why I feel I must speak to you. I do not wish to interfere in the internal
politics of Israel – I speak only because your decision has a direct bearing on
my life and the lives of my children.
Please do not allow Benjamin Netanyahu and his war-mongering
party this opportunity. Please remind me and the rest of the world that Israel
is made of sterner stuff. Show us the
gutsy, courageous and dynamic people you have always been.
I did not know the man; I
wish I had. Still his impact on my young
life was powerful.
I was seventeen when I
first read The Seven Storey Mountain and I identified with the story of his conversion
– indeed, his life. I wanted to emulate him, I even briefly considered becoming
a nun, and lived my life as a staunch Catholic until 9 years of a disastrous
marriage cured me of religion and the Catholic Church to which I never
Little did I know that
Merton was undergoing an enlightenment of his own; he was beginning to study
the ancient Eastern religions and meet with masters of wisdom in Zen, Buddhism -- the Dalai Lama. Thomas Merton was “catholic”
in the truest sense of the word. Perhaps this new and liberal Pope will follow his path of inclusiveness.
You may have thought at
first that these words were uttered by someone on the White House staff in response to
Netanyahu’s rude (to be kind), and irresponsible (to be accurate) acceptance of
an invitation to speak to our U.S. Congress on March 3.
You would be wrong. This excerpt came from Netanyahu’s former hand-picked
ambassador to the US, Michael Oren as reported on the Israel website YNET. Here is the full statement:
“The behavior over the
last few days created the impression of a cynical political move and it could
hurt our attempts to act against Iran. It’s advisable to cancel the speech to
Congress so as not to cause a rift with the American government. Much
responsibility and reasoned political behavior are needed to guard interests in
the White House.”
Granted, Mr. Oren recently
announced he is running for the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, as part of the Kulanu Party led by Moshe
Kahlon, a centrist in Israeli politics;
however, he is not alone in his criticism of Netanyahu’s brash and braggadocio
behavior on the world stage:
There are many prominent
Israeli journalists and politicians who abhor the brazenness of his move, along with Israeli supporters here in
the U.S., who were “sick to their stomachs. . .” when they heard the news – a
sentiment shared with Israeli columnist, Chemi Shalev. One of those staunch
supporters here in the U. S. was FOX News’ Chris Wallace:
“I’m shocked,” he
said. “For Netanyahu to do something
that is going to be seen as a deliberate and really pretty egregious snub of
Obama when Obama is going to be in power for the next year and three quarters
would seem to be a very risky political strategy.”
There are others too numerous to quote here. Suffice it to say that Netanyahu is a sly and successful politician, with a history of blatant publicity ploys used to his advantage; in this instance, however, he may have gone too far, considering the backlash over the last week.
Of course, complicit in this entire fiasco is our own John Boehner.
Speaker John Boehner should, without further ado, withdraw his invitation to Netanyahu until after the Israeli election and the new Prime Minister, whoever she/he is, has a legitimate mandate from the Israeli people -- untainted by the shameful ploys of unworthy politicians. There are many in the race who qualify.
As to our own illustrious Speaker of the House -- you embarrass me, John Boehner.
Quinn (the most exciting character since Brody) is on a black-ops assignment
somewhere very dangerous, what will “Homeland’s” writers decide to do next?
Carrie’s psychotic episodes may be endearing
to the men in her life, but are boring, boring, boring to this viewer. Saul may
re-assume some importance in the next season – we certainly hope so. And a potential
volatile relationship between Carrie and long lost Mom may (or may not) rev things
up a bit, but with Sunday’s episode and the (hopefully) temporary departure of Peter
Quinn, who seems to be the moral compass of the show, the season finale seemed almost
And a word
to the writers: not everyone in the world drops the “F-bomb.” It is certainly in Carrie’s high maintenance
character to do so, but I would think “out of character” for someone like Saul
and some of the other operatives, technicians, and directors at Langley, who
appear to use the word two or three times in a single sentence. Just because you may be comfortable with it, it does not necessarily follow that everyone in the CIA uses it – on TV or in real life.
The word has lost its shock value, having been flung at us by new and liberated cable networks. But how many of us actually use the word in everyday conversation? C'mon!