Tuesday, 9 December 2008
I was watching the news last night - sorry in advance for the rant - but I was increasingly annoyed by the overuse of the word "crisis". In a half an hour broadcast I counted 34 uses of the word.
This is what wikipedia said a crisis means: "A crisis (plural: crises) may occur on a personal or societal level. It may be a traumatic or stressful change in a person's life, or an unstable and dangerous social situation, in political, social, economic, military affairs, or a large-scale environmental event, especially one involving an impending abrupt change."
Granted some things warrant the use of the word - famine, war, oil spills, nuclear leaks, genocide. The Greek violent protests maybe, the war in the Congo probably. Some vague worries about Pork in Ireland being infected with bacteria that you'd have to consume in quantities so large that you'd die of your stomach exploding before you could expose yourself to enough bacteria to get a mild stomach ache - not a crisis. Gordon Ramsey's marriage? Crisis? I think not.
It didn't help that the dour BBC delivery makes everything sound much more serious than they really are. My point is, if we use language like this for the most banal of events, how are we to recognize a crisis when it really happens? I call for an amnesty on the word.