Sunday, April 16, 2006

Word Use Spleen Venting

Having been a full-time journalist for more than 18 years and being a professional freelance writer for more than 20 years, I get picky over word usage and what I construe as misusage.
One recent misusage that is gaining popularity recently is saying or writing "decorations" and "decorated" to describe someone who has won a lot of awards, honors, etc. I may not be a conservative and I never served in the military, but unless you are talking about Christmas trees or other items you put up for holidays, decorations are medals and other honors members of the military, law enforcement and government earn in their official duties, often for people going above and beyond the call of duty, and someone is "highly decorated" when they have received many of these medals, honors, etc., in such fashions. Sadly, I have heard this term used to describe athletes, actors and other entertainers who have won awards of some type, such as Academy Awards. Even more sadly than just the usage is that once again, too many members of the media that I was proudly a member of for many years, and still am actually, are once again picking up on lingo and other language that is being fed to them by publicists, government flacks (believe you me, I know of what I speak) and people simply either lazy or stupid and unaware of the actual older meaning of the word.
Please don't tell me that there are not other easy ways to describe someone who has won several most valuable player awards, Olympic medals or Grammy Awards than "highly decorated," and maybe journalists should show some backbone and brains and not just lap up any word usage tossed out to them.


Post a Comment

<< Home