Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mr. Obama

In my line of work, I have learned to change my writing style often. I figure, I am writing for people who are going to read what I write on television. If there is something wrong with it, they are the ones who look stupid, even if I am the one who gets fired. So, I have found it best to write to their styles, so they don't end up tripping over their tongues and saying something stupid like "today in Salt Lake City three men were arrested today." There have only been a couple of cases where I have refused to write to an anchors whims, and I will assure I was right in every instance. No, really.

A couple years back I was writing for a man with opinions who differed from mine in every way. He taught me a lot, but I hated him while he did it. One of his biggest things was that I could not refer to refer to President Bush as simply "Bush." He was asking me to overlook a common news usage. Previously I had been taught that after referring to a person by their title, first and last names, I could use their last name only, no m
atter who they were. However, this particular anchor had a problem with me doing this when it came to the President, since he had "earned respect." He wanted me to use the term "Mister" when referring to Bush if I was not using his office title. I found it a bit ridiculous, after all, I had worked for Brit Hume (I was young and drunk), and he had demanded no such thing -- and he had a poster of Bush wearing a crown on his office wall.

I did it anyway. I figured I wasn't going to win this argument with "but he's a jackass." Bus
h was President, and if I didn't put the "Mister" in this anchor would do it himself, and then chastise me for it later. Every time I wrote "Mr. Bush" I would grit my teeth and count down the days until January 20th 2009.
Our President.

Now, that day is here. And I get to write "Mr. Obama." I started doing it on November 5th. The first time I typed it, it felt good. Since then it has just felt better, and better. Now I make sure anyone writing for my show knows my rule -- first referral, full name and title; second referral, Mr. Obama. He deserves that respect. After all, it is the same respect he shows to us.

How nice to have that back in the White House. Thank you Mr. Obama.


Ellen said...

too funny. i thought of this very thing when i was writing a script today!