Monday, June 16, 2008

Iowa is not so very far away

Keith Moore knows. Keith Moore is a familiar curmudgeon known by most media outlets around town. He regularly tunes us up for our tedious typos, grammatical gaffs and nonsensical non sequiturs. Also, for agonizing alliteration.

Moore's pet peeve (luckily something we can't be blamed for): numbered street names. He hates "900 South" and loudly champions "9th South." And I can sorta see his point when driving to Herriman. I mean, the Smith's there is at 5560 West and 13400 South. (Lots of hundreds and thousands in that mouthful.)

An added downside to receiving a Keith Moore comeuppance is that he copies his remarks to everyone in town. (Oops, I'm exaggerating. "Moore" on this later.) Sometimes an exchange develops where the recipient gets worked up and tells Moore to go screw himself, and of course, that message gets forwarded as well.

So today, it's KSL 5's Amanda Butterfield's turn. I pass it along only to enlighten us all.
Subject: Objects in Iowa are closer than they appear

Amanda: Iowa isn't "thousands" of miles from here. "Hundreds" would be more accurate in that report. You said "thousands" because journalists exaggerate by reflex, the way they call cities of 5 and 10 thousand "tiny towns" (it's the alliteration and quaint-seemingness and fairy-tale flavor of that phrase they're addicted to, even when they're dead wrong, such as the journalist who called Brigham City--pop. 40,000 or so--a "tiny town in northern Utah." Wow!

Reporters like to say New York is 3,000 miles from here, and I once heard a broadcastress call Atlanta "more than two thousand miles from us." They like to call Washington, D.C., 2,000 miles from here, too. New York is 2,200 from SLC, Atlanta is about 1,850, and Washington is something like 1,750 to 1,850.

The scientific fact is that the Iowa state line is 900 miles from here! Cedar Rapids isn't much more than ONE thousand miles from here, it's about 1,200 miles.
Keith Moore
Salt Lake City
[Jerre Wroble]

1 comment:

  1. I met the irascible K. Moore in the late 1960s when he was publishing Westward Bound (sic.), a literary magazine. His letters to editors over the years have given me much pleasure and more than a few smiles. He is not so much a curmudgeon as a keeper of the flame, a self-appointed guardian of linguistic standards. But taking the broadcasters to task is the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.


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