My prior post, about the incorrect usage of “anxious” on the editorial page of the State Journal Monday, has again made my point about the people who fill slots in journalism these days.
They NEVER admit they’re wrong.
I pointed out that “anxious” and “eager” are two distinctly different words, with different meanings, and the man in charge of the editorial page, Scott Milfred, posted a couple comments (which you can read for yourself by clicking on the headline of my prior post) proving (in his estimation, I’m sure) with geometric logic that he is NOT wrong.
I don’t know Scott. Never met him. But I know him by reputation. A couple years back the editorial page he manages was a Pulitzer prize finalist, and praise doesn’t come any higher than that. I like his style. As he points out, he tries to write conversationally. Scott’s writing is not the old-school method favored by other editorialists, like my friend Neil Heinen.
Scott points out that the third reference to “anxious” in both the Merriam-Webster online and hard-copy dictionary lists “anxious” as a synonym for eager.
Point taken. If you go three deep in any reference, you start to encounter “popular usage” references. My counterpoint is, the references are there because so many people misuse the word.
Feeling anxiety about something is not at all like feeling eagerness about something. It’s a pretty different feeling, and a pretty different shade of feeling. Of course, you can have both feelings at once – sort of like before boarding a new thrill ride at a theme park. Eager to have the experience, but anxious about what it’s really going to feel like.
Tenacity and the characteristic of never wanting to admit you’re wrong seem to me to be hallmarks of a good journalist. I know because I’ve worked with plenty of them, and I have no doubt that Scott is an accomplished professional journalist. They love to argue.
I’ve dealt with this attitude in coaching writers for decades. They always think their approach, their methods, their usage is right. And like Scott, they’ll go to great lengths to defend their point of view.
Why would a journalist, whose editorials are read every day by thousands and thousands of people in the state’s second-largest newspaper even bother to argue with me, a one-man band with a computer, an internet connection, and a few hundred readers?
To prove that he’s right, and I’m wrong, ignoring the old adage “The eagle does not hunt flies.”
Neither of us is going to back down, Scott. But it’s been fun going back and forth, and I think my readers got a kick out of your tenacity in defending your view. You’ve illustrated quite nicely the points I’ve made over the past couple years on this blog about the mindset of so many people in the media today.