Writing about my last Povah, I explained my reasons for keeping my award recipients to myself and I see no reason to change that policy. However, as happened on that occasion, sometimes something comes along that’s just too good to be left alone.

This week’s award deservedly belongs to one of NBC’s seemingly inexhaustable supply of “news analysts”, one-time FBI profiler and now security savant, Dr Clint Van Zandt. Dr Van Zandt was  allegedly explaining for our benefit the mental processes of a man arrested and charged in England for the abduction, murder by crossbow and possible cannibalising of several women.

Apparently when arrested this tortured individual claimed that he was Osama bin Laden, which led Dr Van Zandt to his award-winning remark: Osama bin Laden, the good doctor informed us, “…is the most negatively revered man in the world.”

Good one, Doc. I negatively like the man myself – or should that be positively hate him? Yours is a statement worthy of a lifetime-achievement medal and further proof, if any were needed, that to be an effective communicator you need only a limited vocabulary as long as you can memorize a few key words: impact; access; positively; negatively; and multiple. You can stick them in front of just about anything and sound as though you really did have an expensive education – though some of us might question your gullibility in paying good money to an English professor who helped you prune your command of the language rather than increase it – sorry, grow it.

Can we now expect that people will feel negatively positive about the President? Or negatively negative if they positively, like, don’t hate him? There’ll be multiple opinions about this but one upside non-negative result should be felt on the books that you look up to find words when you want to non-negatively express yourself – you know, those Thesawhatsees. It’ll impact the price because they should become positively expensive because their pages won’t be so multiple.

Frank Povah

Frank Povah

Arriving in the USA in late 2008, Frank Povah moved to Stamping Ground, Kentucky in mid 2009. Passionate about the written and spoken word and constantly bewildered by non-verbs and neo-nouns, Frank trained as a typesetter - though he has worked at many things - and later branched out into proofreading, writing and editing. For many years he has been copy editor, consultant and columnist with a prestigious Australian quarterly along with running his own editorial and typesetting business. His other interests are many and include traditional music, especially that of the south, folklore, natural history, and pigeons.

  1. Michael J. Solender

    To quote the never at a loss for words Johnny Mercer:

    You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    And latch on to the affirmative

    Apparently Dr. V.Z. was sick that day in news analyst school where they taught advanced demonizationology. Hey, you’ve got to give NBC credit, with such a limited supply of talking heads they seem to get the best of the worst.

    And as any self respecting connoisseur of sausage will tell you, nothing is finer than the best of the wurst.

    Cheers for putting them-thar-smarty-drawers on notice Frank!

  2. Cliff Green

    Excellent selection, Frank.
    I assume it just nosed out Sarah’s impressive “refudiate.”

  3. Will Cantrell

    Frank, I enjoyed this piece …as well as the Povah Awards in general.

    One of the worst outcomes of increased competition among news outlets (cable versus networks) is the rise of the paid on-air expert. Rarely are they real experts…they often overreach the limits of their real knowledge. In an effort to earn their keep (i.e. boost ratings) and get their contracts renewed, these people must make a big effort to get noticed. Oftentimes it seems as if they really add little or nothing to what is often a story broadcast only to appeal to viewer’s supposed interest in other folks misery. I find that most of the time, the experts are not journalists, not lovers of langauge and they never get better. Will

Comments are closed.