Honestly of the Week: 2-7-09

As an English major, I have a lot of pet peeves about language.  For instance, there are words that I just don’t like.  One of these words has, quite unfortunately, become a constant part of the news cycle, thanks to our friends in the political establishment.  That word, dear readers, is “folks”.

“Folks” is a stupid, irritating, and primitive word.  It looks bad on paper and it offends a listener’s delicate sensibilities.  And yet, just like dog shit, it’s everywhere.  Reagan used it.  Sarah Palin used it.  And now President Obama is using it, imploring Congress to act on behalf of all the “folks” struggling financially across the land of the free.

There is absolutely no reason that an Ivy League-educated, dual degree-holding, 47 year old black man should be using the word “folks”.  Come on, Mr. President!  Even John McCain had the decency to call every warm body he was propped up next to his “friend”.  You’ve only been president for about a month.  There’s still time to break the habit and take a different approach than all the other folk-faces who have preceded you.

Supposedly this is the kind of language that makes a man in a position such as the President of the United States more accessible to the viewer at home.  It’s supposed to endear him to the public.  Well, I’m the public, Mr. President, and I ain’t so easily impressed.

If we were playing a game of word association and you said to me, “Folks”, I would reply, “Will Rogers”.  That’s right.  A fake cowboy.  That’s the only kind of person that should be using the word “folks”.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

So, until President Obama and all other members of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government start peppering their speeches with terms like “people”, “citizens”, “the public”, or the always popular “fellow Americans”, I cordially invite them to go folk themselves.

Honestly, politicians who use the word “folks”.  Honestly…

~ T


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