Joni is as Iconic as a “Smell Mall”

 

And just as “Award-Winning”, too!

Tell me, does this:

Iconic Joni RED

equal this: ???

Iconic mall RED

Allow me to elaborate:

Every day I hear someone’s name prefixed by “iconic and award-winning”. It’s just gotten stupid.

Iconic Chronic Abuse

When a radio host is introducing a guest to me they shouldn’t start off by making me angry. But they do, every day.

Unfortunately, I’m hearing it on my dear old CBC Radio.
I hear it daily on “Q”, although I generally like Jian Gomeshi. I hear it on “The Next Chapter”, although I generally like Shelagh Rogers’ show, too.
Heaven forbid, I’ve heard it on Current Affairs and News shows. They should know better.
(Let me say that I’ve never heard the deplorable word on “Writers and Company” with Eleanor Wachtel. )

Is it to impress the audience? Is it to puff up the guests on these shows? How great and special do they feel when everyone, and I mean everyone, gets the “I and A-W” treatment?

iconic a-winning Jeep

“Iconic” is a word that has gone recently from being inaccurate to being meaningless.

Do people even remember what the word “icon” means? Can you even call an icon “iconic”?

Iconic Intelligent Life

“Award-Winning” is the PhD of the media world. If “iconic” is a kind of description, then “A-W” is the credentials.

Billboard Magazine even has an Icon Award – in case there weren’t enough categories already.

Iconic Billboard Prince

But it gets mundane very quickly.

Gomeshi and others use the same stock phrases over and over again, day in day out.  “award-winning” “iconic” etc.
Why would he repeat himself so much? Is it part of his signature style or is it unconscious. Is it laziness?

It’s not just Jian.  Repetition is the sin that every media genre is committing.

Repetition is not reinforcement.

Repetition is marketing torture or laziness or unimaginative. Or something in the DSM-5.

Reinforcement (a strong skill in radio) is used properly to remind an audience (especially in the world of “live”, no-rewind, no skip-back radio) of something that is of key importance. Even then, reinforcement can be achieved without using the same word or phrase. How do you it? The answer is: care, attention, imagination and diligence.

It’s the difference between the journeyman skills of a writer/speaker  and an art.

If the idea is to sound “hip”, then they’ve failed. “Hip” becomes pedestrian when these expressions become automatic conventions. A droning effect.

When everything is “award winning” and “iconic”, nothing is.

Can’t things be made to sound interesting without using tropes?

Iconic HiltonNo Surprises?

I had a classmate in grade 8 who was hopeless with English composition. He didn’t care, except that he wanted to pass.  To encourage him, our teacher assigned him a very short essay in which he’d have to use  a word he’d never used before. For some reason, Edward found and used the word “desolate”.
Come the day when he had to read his composition to the class, Edward used “desolate”about seven times in three pages of writing. His house was “desolate”, he felt “desolate”, the walk to school was “desolate”. I don’t know, maybe his hometown was called Desolate, too.

It was bizarre. Then it was annoying. Then it was rather pathetic.
That’s what I think of when I hear “iconic” and “award-winning” today.

tweet ADHD

My Challenge: to Broadcasters and Marketers and Copy Writers Everywhere

Do a whole radio show, or article, without mentioning “awards” or saying “award winning” once and without using the word “iconic”.

If that’s too hard, could we have a rating system? An announcement at the beginning of talk shows such as: The following program uses the word “iconic” x amount of times.
We could call it the “iRating” (!)

In George Orwell’s “1984”, the destruction of words is predicted:

“In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words — in reality, only one word. Don’t you see the beauty of that, Winston?”

I vote for “iconic”. If it’s award-winning.

Iconic Elvis cropped

Today’s Listening: (not Elvis):

1. Dreamsville  by Henry Mancini fr: Peter Gunn soundtrack
2. Something’s Wrong by The Walls fr: Hi-Lo
3. Mustt Mustt (Lost in his Work) by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brooks fr: “Mustt Mustt”


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6 Responses to Joni is as Iconic as a “Smell Mall”

    • davem says:

      Yes indeed! Just wait till I start on people who begin their answers with the word “SO”. There’s nothing like a good, righteous, indignant rant to cleanse the soul. (or at least distract one from their real worries 🙂 )
      Thanks, Moira.

  1. Timothy Bowman says:

    I feel a campaign coming on (or at least a list). For my sake, would you kindly have a go at those who say “literally” when they mean “actually”. It’s getting to be like nails on a chalkboard!

  2. Annie Morgan says:

    For a while I ranted madly about the use of ‘world class’ to describe just about every shop and restaurant in Toronto, but ‘iconic’ takes the cake for idiocy.

    • davem says:

      It’s funny how the word “world” is assumed to mean the top of the hierarchy of international society, or something like that. Certainly no one ever meant it to mean “Third World” Class. Although, I think I’ve eaten in those restaurants.

  3. davem says:

    Tim: I can feel a crusade coming on! (A campaign is likely doomed to fail)
    I think we could fill an entire blog with the misuse of language. But, wait, I’m sure it must already exist.

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