Press Talk: A curious column, for sure!

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 

I was one of the worst offenders.

I fell back on it constantly. I abused it, misused it and frankly, treated it poorly. I just got lazy.

Finally I gave it up for Lent, and because I have done so, I hope this column will be, ah, ah, ah, compelling. Or at least curious.

What the heck am I talking about? Well, it's the word we've all come to love. And I've come to hate.

The word interesting.

Yep. I suspect -- if we thought about it a bit -- we'd all agree. The word interesting is most often used as a fallback position, when we either don't want to take a real position or are just a little too lazy to say what we really mean.

And because we have so abused this word, it has really become white bread, warm milk, noncommittal. Dare I say, darn near useless.

And … I … am … guilty.

Let's say, for example, you have been following The Columbian's unscientific Web poll this week on which city councilor best represents your views. And the winner? "I have no idea who most of these people are."

My old response would have been "interesting." Today? "Striking."

Bingo! I duly noted that I’d listened to the argument. And I could walk away feeling good that I, ah, took a stand. Unfortunately, my stand was mostly meaningless. But nonetheless, I made a contribution.

Let's say you put on your favorite orange and blue tie from the '70s. It's about as wide as your thigh, and it's screaming with reptiles.

"What do you think?" you ask your wife.

"Interesting choice," she demurs. (But what she really meant was "disastrous.")

Yes, on rare occasions the word is used fairly. But the odds are against it.

So I'm beginning this movement. Will you join me? Here's my challenge. For the next 30 days, give up the word interesting. Spread the word. Then email at the end of those 30 days and tell me how it went. Give me some examples. (There could be a free lunch with me involved.)

Trust me, there are plenty of other choices.

Absorbing, affecting, alluring, amusing, arresting, attractive, captivating, compelling and curious are just a few.

You'll feel better each morning if -- the day before -- you avoided the sleep-inducing word interesting.

Are you with me? Interesting challenge, eh? D'oh!!!!

She wrote me a letter

We usually get beat up from the left and the right, which means one thing: We get beat up. So, when a letter came in from Columbian reader Mary Newbury, I was a little taken aback. It was (dramatic pause required here) nice. Here's some of what she wrote:

I love the hometown paper. I think you do a great job. It is the best money I spend all month.

You cover a story -- then give us a follow-up.

I like the way you cover the good news and what's going on with our young ones.

The business news covers the area -- not just the city. It makes us feel a part of the creative way our fellow citizens make a living.

So thanks. The Couve is a great place to live. The Columbian reflects that.

She also had a nice word for me. Mary, thank you!!!


Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, http://twitter.com/lounews or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.