My apologies go out to those who read my columns regularly; this week topic is a pet peeve of mine. So-called experts repeatedly utter "um," and/or "uh," during television and radio interviews.
Some of the so-called um and uh using experts I'm alluding to are politicians, councilpersons, lawyers, and, anyone deemed an expert because the thing they do fairly well happens to be relevant to some benign topic drummed up to fill a slow news cycle. If you can believe it, Mr. and Mrs. Obama are guilty of uming and uhing, too.
First Lady Michelle Obama was on Larry King's show last night speaking about nutrition and childhood obesity, two things I'm interested in. I had to drive overstreet just as the show came on, but was able to tune it in on my radio. Hard as I tried, I could not concentrate on the substance of Mrs. Obama's statements, because all I could hear was, um, uh, um, uh, uh, um, um, and um some more.
Mrs. Obama is doing loads of good with her White House vegetable garden, mothering her little girls, and overall leading by setting a great example in so many areas. But if one of the First Family handlers doesn't get to tutoring Mrs. O. on how to eliminate the ums and uhs that so thoroughly litter her lexicon, there are going to be a lot of hard to listen to tapes setting around the Obama Presidential Library when the time comes, and when ole Michelle hears the playbacks she is not going to be happy. I mean a lot of tapes, because Michelle is not the only family member umming and uhhing, she gets it from her husband. He does it more than she does. (speaking without the teleprompter (w/o t t)
People make fun of George W. Bush's communication skills; they were bothered by his totally obliterating a word here and there with his common-folk speak. I'm not bothered by that. What bothers me is when I hear someone jamming high-toned words in between ums and uhs and sort-ofs. (I'll do an entire column on sort-ofs, another time) When George W. speaks I don't expect much, so I'm never surprised by words he uses. But when Barack and the Mrs. speak, w/o t t, and lay down the ohs and uhs thick as rime ice on top of Mount Washington, I'm very surprised, because from them I expect a clearer more effective manner of speech. Which is a theme lately.