Monday, September 14, 2009

More Thoughtless Communication

Maybe my age is showing with my increased sensitivity to insensitivity. President Richard Levin of Yale was quoted in the New York Times this morning saying that he wrote an email to the Yale community stating “our hearts go out to Annie Le’s family, fiancĂ© and friends, who must suffer the additional ordeal of waiting for the body to be identified.”

For you regulars, you may recall a few weeks ago when I blasted a local industrial company for "announcing" a death as if it were a second moon landing. Could President Levin have found more appropriate language than "the body"? What pray tell is his training? Apparently not sensitivity.

Let me hear from every non-Ivy League educated reader (not that there is anything wrong with that) with a better version of the message he should have sent.


Kristin said...

How about more about the person? 'Annie Le was an exceptional student who spent x years committed to her education at Yale. Her numerous achievements in the X program are a testiment to her work ethic and determination. Our hearts go out to Annie's family, fiance and friends as they await more information from authorities."

Anonymous said...

“while the family awaits for a certain or conclusive identification” or “for the remains to be identified”

Anonymous said...

No offense to anonymous, but I have to say "remains" sounds even worse than "body". As Kristin wrote "as they await more information" makes the same point without giving the reader an unpleasant visual.

Theresa Zagnoli said...

More information and conclusive identification work for me. Also acceptable but not quite as respectful would have been to refer to the identification of the “woman”.

And while we are talking language-what is wrong with “jackass”? Seems like the perfect description to me and I don’t think a president should be excluded from using colorful and descriptive language when needed. Is there a better word? Probably. But that one, President Obama shouldn’t public.

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