Over the past weekend, I noticed a trend in the news, especially on the radio and social media. Many commentators and reporters were referring to the helicopter crash in California that had “everyone” talking, “everyone” grieving, and quotes from people saying “everyone” was in shock.
Well, I kept listening and reading, and other stories were about the president’s trial in the Senate, the weather, traffic, and all sorts of other things… everyone was demonstrably not talking about the crash.
Personally, since I follow very little about basketball, I could not have told you Kobe Bryant’s team, nor whether he had retired, before the stories began. But now “everyone” knows.
The same thing happened with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — or are they just plain Harry and Meghan now? — stepping back from royal duties. “Everybody” had an opinion, “everyone” knew them.
But as soon as one person doesn’t fit the pattern, the word “everyone” doesn’t fit. We ought to be much more careful with “everyone” and the related “everybody,” as well as “no one” and “nobody.”
Everybody knows that one team will win a game? Then why play?
Everyone knows that the Republicans are going to stick together in the Senate? Has all the testimony been given?
No one cares about the other arguments? Then why give them? No one cares about the story? How about the editors who decided it’s news?
Generalizations are that dangerous. Other ideas get crowded out. I’m sad that nine people died in the helicopter crash, but I’m most concerned about whether that helicopter was built to carry nine people — an even number just strikes me as more logical. Was it overloaded?
Oh, you’re thinking everybody doesn’t think that way? Thank you very much.
As most people reading this far know, Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.