“Let be be the finale of seem”

Wallace Stevens (who was a journalist for a short time)

While we aren’t quite to the end of the week, I think we have a clear “best in show” sense abuser today. In a “two way” reporting on the breach in the wall between Gaza and Egypt, Day To Day correspondent Peter Kenyon declared confidently that “there does seem to be some kind of a growing sense” of something in Israel.

Let’s break down just how weak a construction that is:

  • “There does seem”. He’s introduced “seem”, so we know the information he’s about to try to communicate is unreliable. It may be a misapprehension on someone’s (presumably Kenyon’s) part. Basically no one is committing to anything, and I think that’s a good way to protect from any sort of libel suit. Reporters can be so vulnerable to litigation these days.
  • “some kind”. So whatever is seeming to be is now not only unreliable it also has an unknown quality. That’s exciting because the listener is required to imagine all the different kinds of whatever it seems to be, making the normally passive experience of listening to the radio much more interactive and 21st century.
  • “growing” Whatever is seeming to be some kind of something is definitely getting larger or taller, so that’s good. Or not. This is sounding more and more like a late night UFO report from a drunk illiterate Texan. But, finally, what is it that we’re talking about…

Wait fot it… Wait for it…

  • a “sense” of something!

So what are we left with after that deconstruction?

A sense of something that’s growing and has a mysterious unknown quality and only seems to exist – it may just be a figment of Peter’s imagination like the milk-detecting fridge is a figment of Laura Sydell’s.

Now that’s powerful reporting! Or some kind of growing sense of powerful reporting at least…

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