Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WEFEing #2

I am a little reluctant to file the following under "WEFEing" (short for "Witless Exaggeration For Effect"), as it actually does contain a certain amount of wit, but I am going to include it here because other than that dash of wit, it does suffer from the same silly use of language that a typical example of WEFEing does.

I love National Public Radio -- it offers so much in the way of news and information and opinion, in an unhurried way which is so different from most other media. I mostly listen to it in my truck, or sometimes when I am working at home.

But it is not without its faults, small though they may be. One such tiny fault is contained within a short promo for NPR that I have been hearing on the local NPR station (WFCR in Amherst) often in recent months. It is this line, apparently from a Terry Gross interview with one Charles Fishman, author of a book titled "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water". The line in question goes like this:

"Every drink of water you take, every pot of coffee you make is dinosaur pee."

Every time I hear this, it drives me a little crazy… because undeniably clever as it is in making the important point about how water is recycled ad infinitum, it is literally NOT TRUE. Yes, while that drink of water you just had may have, in whole or in part, once, many many many millions of years ago, been for a short time the urine of a dinosaur, it no longer IS. The ongoing cycles of purification through evaporation and condensation and/or filtering through the soil changed that dinosaur pee to just water.

See, that snappy line wouldn't have quite the ear-grabbing, attention-getting, gross-out effect if it read this way instead:

"Every drink of water you take, every pot of coffee you make was once dinosaur pee."

Of course, the less-snappy version of the line DOES have the virtue of actually being TRUE. -- PL

1 comment:

hydrohead said...

I have similar issues every time I hear fossil fuels referred to as dead dinosaurs. When it is actually made from either plants or single celled organisms.