About those 'teachable moments'
I recently got a chuckle or two out of Lake Superior State University’s list of “banned” words and phrases, for “misuse, overuse or general uselessness.”
Some of this year’s banned words/phrases include “ginormous,” “baby bump” and “man cave.” All worthy of banning, I suppose.
However, at the risk of offending some experts, I think one phrase was left out of the list which should definitely have been included. I speak of the egregiously overused and useless “teachable moment.”
(Oops, my apologies to Lake Superior University. I checked the Internet, and discovered I was two years late. That august institution put “teachable moment” on its banned list back in 2010. Good for them, but unfortunately, the talking heads didn’t get the message. Guess they’re all too busy trying to put their own messages out to get anyone else’s message. Just in case anyone wonders, I’m putting in this little correction instead of starting over, because I’m too lazy to write a whole ’nother column. So now we continue as if I still didn’t know. However, my point holds, since use of “teachable moment” continues to rage in epidemic, possibly pandemic, proportions.)
On Wednesday morning, I heard Dr. Nancy Snyderman use it on television, saying she hoped that Whitney Houston’s death could be a “teachable moment” on the dangers of mixing different prescription drugs, or imbibing alcohol while taking them. Then the White House issued a similar statement.
I say the term is overused because every time something like Houston’s death occurs, up pop the talking heads to call it a “teachable moment.” I say the term is useless, because to all appearances, people never learn squat from the deaths of celebrities.
Do I think Whitney Houston’s death is a “teachable moment?” No more so than Michael Jackson’s death was, no more so than Elvis Presley’s death was, no more so than Jimi Hendrix’s or Bruce Lee’s deaths were. We can also include the non-teachable deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge, Freddie Prinze, Margeau Hemingway, Anna Nicole Smith and Heath Ledger on the prescription drug unteachable list. Nor were the non-prescription drug deaths of Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious and Amy Winehouse particularly teachable.
People are gonna do what people are gonna do. If there’s a lesson to be learned, people aren’t learning it. Or so says the office curmudgeon.
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Rain, rain, rain. Here’s hoping we don’t get it all at once like we got last year, and that the precipitation is spread out over the whole summer. I’m sure the farmers are wishing the same thing.
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“No one’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Was Mark Twain right? I hope not, since our lawmakers are currently in what is innocently called a “fiscal session.”
We voted that fiscal session in. I voted for it. Seemed like a good idea at the time. If the Legislature messes up, I guess we can vote to put them back on the every two-year cycle.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Nichol’s column appears in the Times-Herald on Thursdays. Nichol is a member of the Times-Herald news team. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)