Weenie Corporations, Phlegmatic Swedes

by Jay Nordlinger

Somewhere in Impromptus today, I go on a mini-rant about the weeniness of corporations. (“Weenieness”?) I had watched a golf tournament in which AT&T kept saying it was “giving back to the community.” One of my points is: How about giving me cell service that works?

Anyway, a likeminded reader — bless such readers! — writes,

I wonder whether you’ve noticed that so many ads on TV these days have some philanthropic/humanitarian angle. It’s almost like nobody says “Acme Corp. builds a better mousetrap” anymore. We are told instead that Acme Corp. loves the environment, or the community, or the children, or Africa, etc. Energy companies are probably the worst offenders in this area.

Well, as long as it sells soap (or mousetraps, or gas).

In another part of Impromptus, I talk about what I term “word inflation”: the use of grand or dramatic words when moderate words are more appropriate.

I used as an example an article about Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter actor. The article said he had “broken from his generally pleasant media demeanor” to “tear into” the Academy Awards people for overlooking his movie (or something).

Turned out Radcliffe had said such things as, “I was slightly miffed,” and, “There’s a certain amount of snobbery,” and, “It would’ve been nice to have some recognition.” Tear into?

A reader points out that a British tearing into can be very different from other tearings into. (Radcliffe is British.) True. The reader then says, “I’m reminded of the time I saw Bjorn Borg lose his temper at a line judge during a match at Wimbledon: His left eyebrow rose a quarter of an inch. I was shocked he wasn’t reprimanded for his poor sportsmanship.”

Phlegmatic Swedes — wish we had more of them.