Know No

In an attempt to combat the year-end lists of any and all sorts, one NPR columnist opined that the word of 2010 ought to be simple.

One pair of letters forms the single most-effective, most unequivocal statement in our language.

No.

NPR wrote over 1600 articles containing the word last year.  Geoff Nunberg’s examples include: no fishing in the Gulf, no ice at the polar caps, no-hitters, no inflation and no votes.

No.

Nunberg writes that we “learn to intone it to convey despair, anger, defiance, fear, astonishment, disappointment or resignation.”

Here’s hoping that 2011 is the year of “no more,” or even better, “know more.”

As in, we as a country…

• know more about our legislative processes

• know more about the dealings of large corporations (banks, etc.)

• know more about our effects on our environments

And while no news outlet is perfect, the news media — whether we’re talking newsprint, glossy paper or screens and silicon chips — play a tremendous role in supporting citizens’ quests for self-responsibility in matters of public importance.

No more money problems would certainly help journalism’s cause in this new year, but a populace that knows more about our profession’s role in information distribution and content creation will help, too.

Join me in a rising of the glassware to toast the Year of No at our backs and the Year of Know at the horizon beyond.

Cheers to 2011.

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