Sunday, March 20, 2005

Vibrancy busting out all over

Maybe what we need is a style book like newspapers have to set down rules for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage. Only this book would be for public agencies---even, perhaps, for public pronouncements by activists and quasi-public officials. This notion comes to mind in response to the epidemic use of the word "vibrant" ("pulsating with life, vigor, or activity," according to my dictionary). 

The drones in the Planning Dept. like to use the word when they compose their neighborhood-destroying plans, wherein neighborhoods can never simply be overpopulated; they just get more and more "vibrant," as Planning encourages developers to build more and more housing units. Young Marshall Foster of the Planning Dept. even referred cryptically to "vibrant" neighborhood services in one of his recent, typically over-written documents. John King used the word in a recent "Place" column in the SF Chronicle, and Tys Sniffen, in the current NOPNA (North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association) newsletter succumbs to the vibrancy bug, when he refers to building "a more cohesive, vibrant community that continues to be as livable, or even more livable, than it is now."

Our community would be more livable for me if we could also banish "frankly," "to be honest," "don't get me wrong," "get real," and "trust me" from current usage---especially from our written communications. Our spoken English is bound to be more colloquial and cluttered with mindless verbal detritus. Like, know what I'm sayin,' dudes?

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