It used to be that one of the major challenges for writers was to sit down at their desks. Once they did that, they had successfully shut out the world's distractions. That's not the case today, with Facebook and Twitter. We are the first writers in history to be distracted by the thing we write on.
Recently, I heard a sports-writer-turned-sports-commentator use a cliche, which one tends to do when talking on air, where the worst thing one can do is produce dead air, not dead words. But then, aware of his action, he adorned the cliche with an acronym - BAU - no doubt in the hope that this would help legitimize his "business as usual."
It occurred to me that, as people's speech becomes increasingly rote and unimaginative, we could all start communicating in acronyms. This is already happening in written English - OMG, LOL - and it's only a matter of time (OAMOT) before we stop speaking in words.
Watching a tieless Brian Williams anchor the NBC Nightly News from Havana's malecon the other night made me think of an earlier journalistic delegation to the city.
Back in the '90s, the top management of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel traveled to Cuba for talks about opening a bureau in the capital. They took along with them a feature writer, Enrique Fernandez, who was Cuban-American.
After arrival at their hotel, the Nacional I believe, they went to their respective rooms to change. Rejoining the group in the lobby, Enrique - in casual business attire befitting the capital of a major country - found his colleagues in shorts and leisure shirts.