Saturday, November 8, 2008

Weasel word of the day: Challenge

Weasel word to watch out for: "challenge". It seems to me that the word "challenge" is being tossed around a lot lately in a misleading way (or at least I have noticed it more). Three examples from the news recently:

1. From Al Gore's absurd article on so called "sustainable" capitalism:

For example, by challenging America to generate 100% carbon-free electricity within 10 years -- with the building of a 21st century Unified National Smart Grid, and the electrification of our automobile fleet -- we can encourage investment in our economy, secure domestic energy supplies, and create millions of jobs across the country.
Something tells me that if Gore gets his way, his "challenge" is really a mandate. By the way, Gore's idea to stimulate job creation is akin to banning computers and investing in typewriters.

2. In an article about how Baltimore Mayor Shelia Dixon arrogantly wants to restrict what police officers can do on their own time:

The change comes as Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and Mayor Sheila Dixon have challenged troubled businesses to provide better security, and it will take effect just weeks after police launched a significant crackdown on overtime amid budget constraints. Many officers work such jobs to supplement their incomes by thousands of dollars, and the security details add numerous officers to the streets at peak hours, paid entirely out of business owners' pockets.

Dixon is "challenging" private businesses to discriminate against hiring off duty police officers as security personnel. WTF?

3. Barack Obama's website used to say this:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.
Now instead of "requiring", they want to "set a goal", which is similar to the word "challenge".

I am now scared to death of any politician that wants to "challenge" me to do something. I smell force and coercion.


Anonymous said...

That's the tail wagging the dog, without the cuteness.

We, people, should be challenging our reps to meet basic standards, not the other way around.

Can we please let this era of political celebrity pass? It's nauseating and generates the most arrogant politicians. We voters, by voting incumbents back into office and requiring only that someone be from a major party are turning Mother Theresa-types into Those Hollywood Blondes (can't recall names, might be brittany, but there's another who comes from hotel money). Please.

Let this foul era pass wherein power is given to those who desperately seek only that.