ABC News added a graphic to yesterday’s current-events show This Week when host Christiane Amanpour used the word “perspicacious” to describe Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom. Check out
the graphic ABC put up, defining the word, about six minutes into this clip:
<embed src=”http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/Video.12314855” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” AllowScriptAccess=”sameDomain” pluginspage=”http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer” wmode=”transparent” flashvars=” width=”425” height=”350” />
This isn’t merely insulting; it’s also a depressing, dismaying precedent to set. The idea that someone in the ABC control room went into a panic when its host used a “big word” is bad enough; that it was then decided that viewers needed immediate help figuring out what Amanpour was saying is rather appalling.
I don’t know about you, but when someone uses a word I’m not familiar with, I do something… I look it up. It’s easier than ever, given, you know, the internet and all. But the idea that such a fairly ordinary word as “perspicacious” caused ABC to break out in a pop-up-video rash would be ridiculous if wasn’t insulting.
No word yet on what Amanpour felt about being translated while speaking English on American TV.