Monday, October 29, 2007

Memo to "Memo to:" go away

Last year, all sorts of people were thrown under the bus. This year, all sorts of people are getting memos.

The cliche of the moment that is all over English writing, including sportswriting, is "memo to." Usually, "memo to" is followed by some obvious bit of advice or information.

Mike Florio of PFT writes: "Memo to Ed: 'Ya think?'"

James Gordon of the Ottowa Citizen writes: "One last memo to Burke: the Oilers are now ahead of your team in the standings with a game in hand."

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal writes: "Memo to UW fans: Take a moment in the next few weeks to appreciate the skill of Mehlhaff."

Clark Judge of CBS Sports writes: "Memo to Dan Snyder: Find a wide receiver by next year."

The New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence writes: "Memo to Steve Nash's teammates: Stay on the bench next spring."

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes: "And, memo to a giddy Red Sox Nation: The other 22 have ended up as world champions."

People: this is just a sampling of sports articles I found from the last two days. What if I expanded my search out for the last week? What if I expanded it beyond sportswriting to include all writing?

Bloggers are really no better, but if I wanted to list blogs that included the "memo to" cliche recently, I couldn't finish this post in time to watch Journeyman.

Such repetitive, unthinking use of language suggests a lack of creativity. Essentially, one sportswriter could be replaced by any other sportswriter, and you'd get a similar result. Send Dan Connolly to Ottowa, send Jeff Potrykus to Baltimore, send Mitch Lawrence to Milwaukee, and you'll still get columns with "Memo to" followed by some attempt at witty obviousness.


  1. Memo to PV:

    It's Ottawa, not Ottowa. The capital of Canada. You can look it up.

  2. Thanks. Sometimes I misspell things, including world capitals. I should be more careful.

  3. Anonymous9:46 AM

    PV, I can't read Don Banks anymore. His idiom-bombed prose is so distracting, it's hard to get at any analysis that might be there.

    Recently, one of his articles also featured bizarre self-congratulation, when he predicted (quite boldly after six or seven dominating wins) that the Patriots would go undefeated.

    Then, with torrets of pride, repeated that "you heard it here first."


    Don Banks, claiming to be the only person on Earth predicting a perfect Pats season right around now.

    Have you read that piece? I was hoping so. I enjoy your stuff on sportswriting. Best wishes.

  4. I've also taken to avoiding Banks (especially during the season, when I'm not desperate for football). I'll occasionally take a look to see if he's written anything poorly enough to be worth writing about here.