It’s a sign that I have reached a certain age when I say that I comfortably admit that I’m a regular listener to BBC Radio Five Live. What I particularly like about the station is the phone-ins. The arguments and discussions are incredibly entertaining. I always have an opinion on the subjects covered and would dearly love to contribute but I know I would just go to pieces if I was suddenly live on air, so I email my penny’s worth instead, coward that I am.
What strikes me about those who choose to air their opinions is the consistent use of clichés. It has got to the point when I have actually started counting them, like I used to when I used to watch the X Factor (it’s been a rollercoaster, dream come true, dark horse of the competition, you could win this competition, potentially world class etc, etc).
When an issue which gets those leaning toward the right a bit riled is discussed, the number one is the wonderful ‘PC gone mad’. I just love this. It appears to be an acceptable comment on everything nowadays from efforts to curb racism to strict health and safety issues, like the banning of conkers in schools, which have absolutely nothing to do with political correctness.
The other one that makes me chuckle is ‘I hear what you’re saying.’ This is used to buy time because a caller cannot come up with a rebuttal and has effectively lost the argument. It is usually followed by ‘but’ and an affirmation that the caller is right, despite everything.
There is one cliché that virtually everyone uses and it drives me to distraction. It is: ‘At the end of the day.’ It is the most irritating phrase in the English language. It is used to introduce a point and to summarise a point….any point whatsoever. I hear it with such regularity, I feel like smashing a train up. Why can’t people come up with alternatives? Or are they simply unaware they are saying it…over and over and over again.
Maybe the only way forward is to get the government involved. Perhaps a zero tolerance on clichés is what’s needed. Because in order to win the war on clichés, we need to get tough on clichés and the causes of clichés.