Monday, February 15, 2010

The New, Capacious Definition for “Anniversary”; Will Terms Such as “1-Week Anniversary” or “3-Day Anniversary” Become Common?

This past Thursday, February 11, in his setup to a report from Haiti, Brian Williams of “NBC Nightly News” began: “Tomorrow is the 1-month anniversary of the earthquake that…….” Immediately, I said to myself, “What’s wrong with him! Doesn’t an anniversary refer only to the annually recurring date of a past event, by definition?” Of course, I was wrong and Brian Williams was right because, as per “Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary – 11th edition”--the most authoritative dictionary for American professionals--one of the senses of anniversary is: “a date that follows such an event by a specified period of time measured in units other than years; example: the 6-month anniversary of the accident.”

That brings me to the title of this post. Now that the definition of the word anniversary has become more expansive, I suppose utterances such as “Yesterday was the 1-week anniversary of my first ever presentation to the board” and “Today is the 10-day anniversary of my starting work at this company” will become common. And to extend this logic a bit: I know of a certain culture whose members hold a religious ceremony for the departed 3 days after death. Well, they can refer to that day as “the 3-day anniversary of…”.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Men Trivializing Women in a Professional Setting

Last weekend, while viewing some 2008 & 2009 recordings on my DVR, I came across a public affairs program broadcast on KTRK-TV, the ABC affiliate here in Houston, that left me indignant because of the blatant gender bias, however unintended it might have been.

The purpose of that show was to give Houstonians an insight into the four Republican candidates vying for the position of Harris County District Attorney. Here is the exact wording of the opening questions by host Art Rascon to the two men (Doug Perry and Jim Leitner) and two women (Kelly Siegler and Pat Lykos).
- (to the person on the extreme right) “Kelly Siegler, let’s start with you. There is a public trust problem with the DA’s office…..”
- (to the second person from the right) “Mr. Perry, what do you plan on doing to restore public trust in the DA’s office…”
- (to the 3rd person from the right) And how open should that office be, Pat Lykos? …
- (to the 4th person) “Mr. Jim Leitner, how much information is too much information for the public’s need to know…”

You can bet that the above will be "exhibit one" in future renditions of my sessions on “Diminishers” and “How to Minimize the Diminution of Women’s Communications in the Workplace.”
Incidentally, Pat Lykos went on to win the election and is the current Harris County District Attorney.