The strange little people who live inside my TV set -- all hair and teeth and big, big smiles -- have got themselves a new word. It's not really new; it's a word they have prised up from its proper use and have taken to inserting, willy-nilly, any time they want us-the-home-viewer to be fretful. Worse yet, they had a much better word for the purpose (out here in Big People Land, many of us still use it), which has now vanished from their tiny lexicon.
I suspect one among their number had made itself a new nest in the wainscoting using old business correspondence and while absently grooming itself, happened across a construction akin to this:
"...Concerning yours of the 15th ult. in re the d'Anconia Copper situation...."*
Where you and I might yawn -- the more fools us! -- the clever mediaperson's eyes must have lit up with innocent delight. "'Concerning,'" it mused, "that surely means 'to make concerned.'"
It is at this point that a willow switch might have been most productively employed to administer a sharp reminder while ever-so-gently reminding the creature, "No, blast you, it does not. 'Concerning' means, roughly, 'about' and not a blame thing more!"
It's too late now; every new twitch or sniffle, every bobble in stock prices and, of course, every word from Sarah Palin's pen or lips is "concerning."
It's a worrisome trend.
* Both of my readers who appreciate Victoriana will recall that "ultimo" (ultimo mense) refers to the previous month, "inst." or "instant" the current month and "pent." the previous month but one. Alas, this convenient and charming usage of our crudely primitive forebears has, much like the calling card or a lingering, romantic death by tuberculosis, fallen by the wayside.
CHICAGO RAILROAD FAIR, 1948
2 days ago