Friday, 29 June 2007

This blog will take you a short two minutes to read

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Since television news got its own back on Chris Morris by becoming a parody of his parodies, I don’t expect much from it. Indeed, I watch ITV news as it is the best comedy on ‘the box’ in this age of the insanely unfunny ‘Catherine Tate Show’ and all its flagitious cousins, or rather bastard offspring.

Here comes the naïve part: what I do expect at least from the BBC, however, is some basic adherence to grammatical rules and conventions. Spoken, for instance, in Wednesday’s Ten O’clock News were the words “just a short ten-minute drive”. What is a long ten-minute drive like, then? “A short drive” or “a ten-minute drive”, perhaps. Such defiance towards mathematical reality brings to mind the abhorrent practice of “110%” (as in “I’m going to give…”), formerly an argot exclusive among footballers but now in excruciatingly common use.

This was topped last night, when in their coverage of some kind of floods that have apparently been happening somewhere I’m not and so don’t care about, the BBC sent correspondents to afflicted areas. Aside from the hilariously overblown coverage (if they had cable, and TV’s for that matter, there would have been blokes in Mozambique going “You can’t get to the fridge for milk? YOU CAN’T GET TO THE FRIDGE FOR MILK? Well that’s awful isn’t it? Puts me losing my wife, kids and house into perspective that does, mate”), there was too some truly cretinous language on offer.

My favourite part came when the reporter in some-village-or-other-where-Tories- live used the words “and, of course, farmers not being able to produce crops means less stuff on the shelves”. STUFF? Brilliant. I love stuff. I love eating it, watching it, wearing it, talking it. The lot. All that stuff.

In fact, I’d like to stuff the reporter’s shiny wellies up his arse.

Blogger Tom said...

It's been a classic weekend in terms of reportage. I enjoyed Gavin Esler's new Sunday slot (I think it's on BBC News 24), which - as far as I can be bothered to tell - seems to be some sort of 'London' 'magazine' 'show'. Terrible.

2 July 2007 at 00:09  
Blogger goofy said...

Most adjective+noun combinations are ambiguous between an intersective and appositive meaning. Clearly "a short ten-minute drive" means "a ten-minute drive, which is short", and on that appositive reading there's nothing wrong with it.

16 January 2008 at 19:26  
Blogger goofy said...

I drove to the corner store yesterday but the traffic was really bad. It was a long ten-minute drive.

16 January 2008 at 20:27  
Blogger Gez said...

It's not very elegant though, is it? As best it's clumsy; at worst it's redundant.

17 January 2008 at 19:51  
Blogger Broccoli said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 January 2008 at 14:23  
Blogger goofy said...

Maybe, but it is grammatical.

21 January 2008 at 21:25  

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