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Friday, July 07, 2006

Simply excessive

The late Martin "Red" Gibson, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, wrote a textbook that deplored what he called "excessive elegance,'' fancy titles for common things. You see them all the time: medical center for hospital, media center for library, customer service representatives for bank tellers, sanitary engineers for trash collectors, and on and on.

I recalled Gibson's American Press Institute lecture about these terms while editing Friday's commentary by Carl Golden about the state's budget crisis. He noted that Gov. Corzine and the legislative leaders kept referring to a balance of "recurring revenues'' with "non-recurring revenues.'' As Golden wisely pointed out, that's a fancy way of saying taxes or increased fees vs. one-shots and gimmicks, or anything that doesn't say "tax.'' Thankfully, we didn't hear much about taxes as "revenue enhancers.''

The other evening, my hair stylist -- that's how my wife refers to my barber -- told me about losing one of her long-time customers. You see, he couldn't bring himself to having his hair cut at her latest shop, a beauty salon. What would Red Gibson say?


Anonymous Donnie said...

I have been to medical centers and to hospitals. Anybody who can't tell the difference is too ignorant to be writing boks.

8:22 AM, July 08, 2006  
Anonymous Nick Fera said...

To Donnie (author of previous post): What is the difference between medical center and hospital??? Please enlighten us.

1:18 PM, July 09, 2006  
Anonymous Donnie said...

Recently my wife was admitted to a local hospital. When they decided that she needed tests to be done with more precise machines, she was transported to a medical center that had several hospitals and other medical facilities grouped together.

It really isn't rocket science.

7:56 PM, July 15, 2006  

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