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Sexed Up

Posted by Lewis on January 19, 2004

In Reply to: Re: 'Bog Standard' - Journalists & the pretty Andrew Gilligan posted by Cliff on January 16, 2004

: THANKS TO ESC RE YOUR COMMENT:

: " Language skills are on the decline in general. A second factor is that journalism has gone to hell in a handbasket. Pretty faces and "happy talk" have taken the place of good journalism regarding television news in the U.S. Print journalism isn't much better. "

: Is Andrew Gilligan of the BBC 'pretty'? Methinks not, but he has been allowed to get away with murder over the Kelly death, ..... murder of the English language, that is. We all in the UK heard every day on the news for weeks of his allegation that the UK Government 'sexed up' the IRAQ dossier. If the BBC has to hire chumps like that, you know you must be right. Has no one heard of terms like 'embellished' exaggerate, etc. Can't turkeys like this bother to look in a thesaurus? Maybe he still counts on his fingers to work out how long 45 minutes might be?

: Love and kisses.

Our language is versatile and often words morph into new meanings. For something to be 'sexed' is to determine its gender, but 'to sex up' is more akin to 'sexy up' or make more 'sexy'. I'm not sure whether Gilligan wanted to imply the existence of more phallus-shaped missiles threatening to explode and spray their (pay)load over unwilling participants, but to make a dossier more 'sexy' is not the greatest of analogies. For something to be made more 'sexy' is for it to be made more appealing and interesting - which is the use that was made in 'sexing up' the dossier.

You can't blame journalists for using the inflated language of PR and 'spin' considering the company they keep. Have the Government's PR/Communications people excised and those of zero added-value removed and the incidence of such high-profile distortions of language might decrease, but those Cling-ons and parasites have too much leverage to be easily forced out.

Politics is a dirty business, so it is no wonder that language suffers.