Half a Decade? Oh, Please…


It’s a writer’s job to use words to give voice to emotion but I hate it when language is blatantly manipulated to inflate the mundane into the gasp-worthy. Example:

“…after all, it took nothing less than the pent-up rage of thousands and a fantastically dumb sound bite from Kenan Thompson to get Michaels to bring on Sasheer Zamata, SNL’s first black female cast member in over half a decade.” (Excerpt from this article.)

Five years. Leaving the subject of  the article out this, five years can be either very long or very short, depending on the context. But putting it in the frame of a decade automatically takes us to ten years, just as $1.99 makes us mentally round down to a dollar. It’s a trick and an obvious one used in service of the author’s argument, which was also a side rant to the real issue. In another writer’s hands, such treatment could be construed as ironic: Gee, a whole five years? Used with all seriousness, it just comes off as manipulative.