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« Commanding "the high ground" | Main | Quote of the Day: The Obama Way »

Monday, 03 December 2012

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Mannie Sherberg
Ah .. what a lot of mischief a little modifier can perform! Yahoo tells us the unemployment rate is expected to budge "barely" higher. That innocent-sounding "barely" hides -- or attempts to hide -- the cruel fact that a "bare" tenth of a percent translates into one helluva lot of human beings who'll be facing despair for perhaps the first time in their lives. Yahoo would've done better to drop the adverb and just say "higher." And how about Sulzberger's statement that the advertising climate remains "volatile." "Volatile" means "changeable" or "fickle." But if the ad market were merely changeable or fickle, that would mean it might quickly turn around and improve -- and in that case there'd be no need to fire 30 people. The truth is, the ad market isn't likely to change soon at all; it's in the dumps -- and is more likely to get worse before it gets better. That's why the NYT is cutting jobs. The proper adjective would've been "rotten" or "lousy" or even "worsening."
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