Redundancy 201

Are you tired of my redundant writing about the coronavirus pandemic each week, how nimrods are refusing to wear masks and avoiding social distancing while gathering in large groups? So am I— tired of redundancy in writing, that is. By the way, we’re into week 20 already of this deadly scourge.

When I was in broadcasting school, my advertising instructor warned us about starting an ad with a question, like I did with the lead-in sentence of tonight’s tirade. Many people while reading an advertisement, hearing it on the radio or seeing it on TV may possibly answer a query with a “No,” and switch the channel, turn the page, or click that little “x” on a Web page’s popup window.

For the Internet, I thought it was smart to install an ad-blocker in my browser, which worked well for many years until developers discovered how to tell if one is being used, and started blocking me from seeing anything on their Website until the preventive program is turned off. That’s even more annoying than having ads forced upon me.

AdBlock is my program of choice, offering a “pause” feature which temporarily white-lists the site so I can read what I went there for, while getting bombarded with their lame ads so they can make their click-through money.

Redundancy in writing—penning together synonyms of a particular word or idea into one sentence—became a notable no-no when the printing press was invented. Publishers found out immediately that extra words in a manuscript meant more inclusion of movable type, adding time and materials to a project, costing them more money. Packing a text with repetitive information and terms was and still is cause for refusal of a book by literary agents or publishing houses.

Now, with the Internet’s self-publishing outlets, anyone can become a published author regardless of style or literacy. Whether or not they make any money from their tomes is another issue.

Blogs are a dime a dozen on the Net, mine included; but I try to adhere at least to established writing principles: correct spelling and grammar, ingrained during English 101 at the university. The Internet is destroying the structure of language; although, the latter is constantly changing as time goes on anyway. So is this what linguists have to look forward to?

Granted, not everyone paid attention during English class in secondary and high school, or went to college. I shouldn’t criticize, but the incorrect usage of language in writing is a pet peeve of mine.

Not going into detail about homophones: your and you’re, there, their and they’re, it’s and its, too and to, red and read, I’m mostly concerned with redundant phrases.

For example:

  • I’m so proud of “every single one of you.” Does that mean married or partnered people aren’t included? How about widows and widowers? Shouldn’t just being proud of every one of you suffice and not be ambiguous?
  • I want to thank “each and everyone” for your hard work on this project. Aren’t each and every synonyms? Wouldn’t just thanking everyone do?
  • She “literally” wet her pants while laughing. The overuse of “literally” is a big pinprick for me. (Is that an oxymoron?) I’d believe the inference if literally was omitted.
  • I “personally” try to stay away from redundancy. No need to explain that one, I hope.
  • Included is your “free gift.” This one gets me all the time, sent by solicitors who expect a donation in return. Isn’t a gift something that is given outright without compensation? Then after everything ends up in the trash, the senders have the nerve to forward another letter, asking if you received their free gift; and here’s a form to fill out for sending back some money. Their gift wasn’t intended to be free after all.
  • The book about Trump was a biography “of his life.” Isn’t a biography the history of someone’s life anyhow?

OK, enough of my linguistic pomposity. Sorry, I needed a topic to whine about, like how my dad was never happy unless he was able to gripe about something. It’s not my fault. Bellyaching is embedded in my genes. So are pinpricks. Does that sound like a bunch of poppycock?

One last observation: Baseball has started up again. Opening days were Thursday and Friday of last week. Reading everyone’s posts on Social Media while the sport was shut down due to COVID-19, I noticed how much they claimed to be missing America’s Pastime. Now that the games have begun again, the trolls and naysayers are out in force, belittling the losing team after only two games were played, forecasting their demise already for the season. Now that especially gets my goat. Can’t they just be happy some normalcy has returned to our dark times?

I have to laugh at the cardboard cutouts of people sitting in the seats behind home plate. So sad, though, to see the rest of the stadium is empty. We’ve still got a long way to go before the good old days return. Hoping for a vaccine to be developed soon. There I go being redundant myself, complaining again about the pandemic.

In closing, we should all count our blessings, whatever they may be. For me I’m fortunate to be maintaining my health, mobility and sanity, the last of which may be up for debate, however.

Thanks to the two people on Twitter who liked Rie Waits and my latest duet. I’m hoping someone here will enjoy it too. I had described the cover tune as being written and recorded in 1956 by Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee. After hardly receiving any response, I wondered why.

Perhaps it was listing the year it came out. On Social Media, the parents and even some grandparents of the majority of users weren’t born yet. That would be like me as a youngster not listening to a song written around the turn of the 20th century, like 1902’s “Bill Bailey (Won’t You Please Come Home),” which hit #2 on the top-40 chart for that year.

So I deleted 1956 from our duet’s description.

With all the gloom and doom hanging over our heads these days, it’s time to let the good times roll again!

Thanks for stopping in and for your continued support.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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