Friday, April 13, 2007

To hell with "to helm"

Few segments of the American population as are culpable in the ongoing assault on American English as the writers in the entertainment industry. They are trying to create as many synonyms as possible for a short list of nouns and verbs that, really, don't need more synonyms. Consider "to helm", which is now a synomym for "to direct". Horrible.

"Grindhouse will be presented as one full-length feature comprised of two individual films helmed separately by each director." -- "Mr. Disgusting",

"[Ken Olin] Executive produced and helmed
the ABC family drama, 'Brothers & Sisters'." -- Unknown,

"The tuner will be helmed by two-time Tony Award-winning director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game)." -- Staff, (Omigod, this quote uses both "helmed" and "tuner". Run for the hills!)

Another usage that makes me wretch is using "to bow" as a substitute for "to premiere" or "to release". It's one thing to use "bow" as an intransitive verb in this sense.

"'Ocean's 13' to bow at Cannes Film Festival"
At least that's almost as inoffensive as simply saying "to debut". But please, PLEASE, someone save me from the horrible use of "to bow" as a transitive verb.

"VeriSign to bow online movie service" -- headline,

Bow should NEVER be a transitive verb meaning "debut". NEVER EVER. You can bow your head but not your movie.

So just for the record to all you horrible entertainment writers out there: if you have ever committed any of these crimes against language, no one is ever going to read your screenplay.

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