Do Journalists Have No Shame?

No respect for our precious language? No reverence for holy things?

…If anyone uses the word ‘iconic’ in my presence–actual or virtual–to refer to anything other than that which pertains to AN ICON

…he will receive a clerical beat-down that he will NEVER forget!

Please! Let’s have some restraint here. Words have actual meanings, people. They resemble tortilla chips at a cocktail party: No double-dipping! Use them to mean what they mean, and only what they mean, please!

One uses the word iconic PREPOSTEROUSLY when qualifying a bike design, Ralph Mooney’s steel guitar, a radio tower, a 747, or a wine label logo. I could go on and on and on. Journalists use the word ‘iconic’ even more often than they use the passive voice and almost as often as the verb ‘to be.’

May the Lord preserve us. Allow me to recommend George Orwell’s 1984 as a cautionary tale.

8 thoughts on “Do Journalists Have No Shame?

  1. Fr. Mark,

    In your “clerical beat-down”, be sure to slug them with the word “jingoistic”; and remind them with force majeure that the consistent use of such phrases is the first stage of “propaganda”, which leads inevitably to “the big lie”.

    The problem is we’re surrounded by such phrases, “not politically correct” comes to mind first; but there are many such, “WMD” being the most significant such to my mind in recent history. They are a substitute for the real investigation, thought and analysis for which those occupied with journalism pride themselves (“aye, there’s the rub”). If you add the mis-use of language, and the blatant favoritism, you have an outright bastardization of the profession.

    There’s just one principal problem with this situation. The journalists are all holed up in Washington (and other sinister locations; there’s a reason why a villian is a villian). Their justly deserved beat-down is in Rocky Mount, Virginia. “And, near the twain shall meet.” [identify the source of this one without Google, and earn additional points]. The only real question left is, “Shall we bring Mohammed to the Mountain, or the Mountain to Mohammed?”



  2. Oops, the engineer’s been hoisted by his own petard, “villain”, not “villian” — and it wasn’t a typo; it was an old habit, like “maby” for “maybe”.



  3. Today’s contribution:

    “Taylor, who spent virtually her entire life in the public eye, was an iconic film star who won two Academy Awards, an eight-times bride, a humanitarian who campaigned indefatigably against AIDS and a collector of some of the world’s most glamorous jewels.”

    (I’m scared to post now. I might use a split infinitive and get another clerical beat-down. :D)

  4. Ooh – hit a personal nerve here, touched on a family pet peeve: ARCHITECT of things NOT BUILDINGS… especially references to Karl Rove as an architect of anything!!!

  5. Did you know that Elizabeth Taylor died today? I found out on KWTX! I bet they aren’t talking about St. Elizabeth.

    * Iconic Actress Elizabeth Taylor Dead at 79 KWTX-TV Waco – 3 hours ago (

  6. Fr. Mark,

    The timorous, timid, tepid crew
    Seems to stand in awe of you,
    Biding their time, and waiting to say
    What they think on what you think today.

    By the way, dallas, what did I miss on Karl Rove in this one today?



  7. a recent sample
    Moussa Koussa was the architect of the country’s past reconciliation with West after years of sanctions.

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