11 April 2004  

TSN - The Stoopid Network

:: I remain a sports fan to this day, although my passion for following my favorite sports, baseball and hockey, began waning in the 80s. One of my daily rituals is taping SportsCentre overnight on TSN, and watching the highlights in the morning before going to work. TSN, Canada's equivalent to (and owned by) ESPN, also functions as the Toronto Sports Network - during hockey season, a SportsCentre broadcast cannot go by without some reference to the Toronto Maple Leafs. If the Leafs aren't playing that day, TSN will offer a preview of the preview of the preview of their next game, or ask coach Pat Quinn what he had for supper. Despite the bias, usually I can expect good reports and coverage as well as an entertaining broadcast.

However, over time, the SportsCentre anchors and writers have worked hard to invent new nicknames for some of the teams they cover, as well as phrases to describe things like time left in the period (1:28 remaining to be played is termed "a buck twenty-eight"), a home run ("he goes yard" or "a 2-run jack"), two home runs in a row ("back to back jacks"), and the result of a goal increasing the team's lead in the game ("up a bill").

Some of the incredibly annoying team nicknames heard on SportsCentre lately include:

  • the Yotes - Phoenix Coyotes
  • the Nucks - Vancouver Canucks
  • the Team in Red - Detroit Red Wings
  • Josey - San Jose Sharks
  • the Bolts - Tampa Bay Lightning
  • the Buds - Toronto Maple Leafs

"The Nucks"? It's a pure form of dumbing down the viewer, or perhaps playing to the lowest common denominator, some version of the beer-swilling, brain-dead, cheese-eating frat boy, who needs booster cables to get out of bed in the morning. I hear the broadcaster say, "the Nucks", and wonder: 1) is it too much of an expense of energy to say "the CAnucks"?, or 2) is TSN trying to save time on its broadcast?, or 3) has TSN completed market research which suggests that their viewers will think it's really cool to hear phrases like that?

With this in mind, what a pleasure it is to discover this British web site, Plain English Campaign. It is a simple, stripped down site, supporting "an independent pressure group fighting for public information to be written in plain English." My favorite section in the Examples page. It includes the complete archive of Golden Bull award winners, Plain-English translations ("before" and "after" examples), and The gobbledygook generator: "You really can't fail with facilitating administrative mobility."

Meanwhile, in hockey, The Team in Red is playing the Preds, my Habs face Beantown, the 'Nucks face off against the Matchsticks, The Buds and The Sens continue their playoff series, Josey and Bluesy continue their battle...you get the imagery - er - graphic representation - er - picture. As for TSN, bring back Jennifer Hedger on the late night editions, PLEASE!

So I'm curious. To those who watch ESPN in the States: Is the same thing happening on that network? Duh.

Posted by Randy at April 11, 2004 04:54 PM | TrackBack
Comments

I love the Plain English Campaign!

Posted by: Morpheus at April 12, 2004 12:23 PM
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