Humor: Stop These Language Abuses

Phone Bots

A decade ago, voice mail bots would say “I’ll record your message now,” and “I’ll try that number” as if “they” were real people and there was really an “I.” Now voice synthesized bots, especially with airlines and tech companies, want a whole conversation. Elevating the “I” that doesn’t exist to a conversational partner they now says “I didn’t catch that––can you say it again?” and “I thought you just said…is that right?”

It is tempting to verbally abuse these poseurs. But of course they can’t be insulted. When you say “Go to hell” they’ll say “I’m sorry we’re having trouble. I thought you said Wisconsin Dells?”  Continue your tirade against them they will say, “Nantucket? Did you say you want to travel to Nantucket?”

Waitstaff Soliloquies

How many times have you looked forward to conversation with a dinner or lunch companion only to get an unwanted speech at your table courtesy of waitstaff? “Tonight we feature a blanched, lanced, pureed pate basted in caramalized seasonal acorns…..”?  Do deliverers of these tableside filibusters think we can’t read? And if they are going to orally deliver the food choices, why even have a menu?

Retail Emcees

It happens all the time. You’re shopping to the backdrop of a pleasant oldie on the PA system and just before the song get to the hook, a supervisor breaks in and says “Attention associates. It is time for your ten minute break. Remember to clean up the break room when you are done.” (The more employees are abused, the more likely their title is elevated to “associate.”) Other retail establishments now have sensors that tell them when you have entered a certain section. “We are aware you have entered our beach towel and summer accessory section. Please let us know if you require help.” So much for anonymous browsing but it’s cheaper than hiring an employee.

Checkout Bots

Just as restaurants discovered years ago that people would bus their own tables, retail establishments have discovered that people will check out their own purchases. Except that the bot who welcomes you and asks for your debit card also often accuses you of being a thief. “Please remove the unscanned items you just placed on the platform. Please scan them now. Help [security] is on the way.” Once the bot decides you are not a thief, it can’t wait to get rid of you. Before you even take your receipt it says to the presumed next customer, “Welcome. Please select your language.”

Your Personal Computer and Trainer

What exactly does the word “personal” add to computer, trainer, banker, adviser, diet plan, identification number or debt consultant except dollars?  Personal as opposed to what? Having to crowd around one newspaper posted in Red Square as old photos used to show? No one feels compelled to say personal toothbrush.

Duckin’ and Divin’ Annual Reports

The worse the year, the wordier the annual report. Instead of saying we’re major down again this year  it’s “In light of the scheduled spinoff of the disappointing biotech division and reengineering of the global sales network, pretax earning shortfalls are roughly equal to those seen in 2018* when annualized, weighted by country and indexed to inflation.” (*when most of you sold)

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

July 16, 2019
Conn Hallinan
The World Needs a Water Treaty
Kenneth Surin
Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador
Christopher Ketcham
This Land Was Your Land
Gary Leupp
What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Democratic Virtues in Electing a President
Thomas Knapp
Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated
Binoy Kampmark
The Resigning Ambassador
Howard Lisnoff
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Nicky Reid
Nukes For Peace?
Matt Johnson
The United States of Overreaction
Cesar Chelala
Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon
Martin Billheimer
Sylvan Shock Theater
July 15, 2019
David Altheide
The Fear Party
Roger Harris
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela
John Feffer
Pyongyang on the Potomac
Vincent Kelley
Jeffrey Epstein and the Collapse of Europe
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Hissy-Fit Over Darroch Will Blow a Chill Wind Across Britain’s Embassies in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book
Dean Baker
The June Jobs Report and the State of the Economy
Michael Hudson – Bonnie Faulkner
De-Dollarizing the American Financial Empire
Kathy Kelly
Remnants of War
B. Nimri Aziz
The Power of Our Human Voice: From Marconi to Woods Hole
Elliot Sperber
Christianity Demands a Corpse 
Weekend Edition
July 12, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement
T.J. Coles
“Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule
Rob Urie
Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution
Gregory Elich
How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?
Jason Hirthler
The Journalists Do The Shouting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi
Andrew Levine
The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms
David Swanson
Earth Over the Brink
Ron Jacobs
Presidential Papers
Robert Hunziker
The Flawed Food Dependency
Dave Lindorff
Defeating the Trump Administration’s Racist, Republican-Rescuing Census Corruption
Martha Rosenberg
Pathologizing Kids, Pharma Style
Kathleen Wallace
Too Horrible to Understand, Too Horrible to Ignore
Ralph Nader
An Unsurpassable Sterling Record of Stamina!
Paul Tritschler
Restricted View: the British Legacy of Eugenics
John Feffer
Trump’s Bluster Diplomacy
Thomas Knapp
Did Jeffrey Epstein “Belong to Intelligence?”
Nicholas Buccola
Colin Kaepernick, Ted Cruz, Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of Patriotism
P. Sainath
It’s Raining Sand in Rayalaseema
Charles Davis
Donald Trump’s Fake Isolationism
Michael Lukas
Delisting Wolves and the Impending Wolf Slaughter
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Shaking Off Capitalism for Ecological Civilization