Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Moment Of Zen

I stayed up to watch "The Jon Stewart Daily Show" last night and was rewarded by a hilarious show. They had been on vacation for a week, so it worked especially well when Stewart looked dead-on at the camera and said, "So.... did we miss anything?"

I practically fell off the couch when I saw the "now, for your moment of Zen" clip, which featured a CNN newscaster interrupting a meteorologist in the middle of a report he apparently gave in the midst of the hurricane. She was appallingly whining ("Chaaaad, we don't know what that meaaaans! You have to traaaanslate") and he was a little King Baby, crabbing back at her to let him finish and then throwing his paper on the floor.

You can check out the tomfoolery at (thanks to Cindy for directing me to this link)

People, where's the dignity, for God's sake?

Maybe it's that I grew up with the heroes of WWII as a major influence, but there are certain tones of voice a public figure simply does not take, ever. One is whining, which is abhorrent no matter what the occasion.

Women, who tend all too easily toward the shrill, have to guard against sounding like a total virago and against "de-voicing," which is using cutesy, girlish tones to curry favor or sympathy with the public. Also inappropriate and manipulative is to overly sexualize the voice, making a simple statement sound like an invitation to the boudoir.

Men have the tendency to suppress emotion to the point where their voices become a dull monotone or sound strangely "swallowed." Another vocal manipulation occurs when they artificially lower their voice and clip their tones to produce a macho "I'm in charge" effect. Leslie Nielsen achieves this with comic brillilance in the "Airplane" movies. Just perfect.

I have noticed in the past years that the use of the voice is becoming more immoderate and unconscious, and a lot of this can be blamed on the ubiquity of the cell phone.


Blogger Cranky Cindy said...

It was one of his best shows in a long time!

"Weatherman Chad gets upset when Anchorwoman Carol interrupts his Hurricane Katrina update" can be seen at

And you can hear the audio of the Barbara Bush clip ("And so many of the people ...were underprivileged anyway, so this... is working very well for them") that Stewart played going out to commercial at

(I first heard about this at, thanks Michelle)

The Jon Stewart Show-- where Happy Cindy and Cranky Cindy re-integrate just before bed.

Blogger greenseagirl said...

Our television only plays movies (no cable, no bunny ears, just hooked to a VCR). Most of the time I'm perfectly content with that. But, oh, I miss Jon Stewart...


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