Maybe it’s the ever-present shift to 140 character sound bites. Maybe it’s an overall trend towards a me-centered culture. Maybe it’s just the ever-growing pressure to make things "more efficient" and just trimming the niceties of our language. But to butcher the powerful lyric from the Kinks, "where has all the good language gone?"
If you can spare an hour and half in the morning, I recommend you listen to one of the best interviewers in the business: Jian Ghomeshi on Q on CBC Radio 1. And while you will hear excellent interviews of socially relevant topics, excellent inspections of the latest music trends and some fantastically funny takes on canadiana, you will also hear politeness.If you listen to interviews, either in the news or documentary, you will be familiar with the signoff. This is the point at which the interviewer finishes speaking with the interviewee. But if you pay attention to the way this is done, you will note some very specific differences. The most common is a cut to the interviewer saying something akin to "that was so and so, speaking about such and such". This, to me is dismissive to the contribution that the speaker brings to the interview and is at best dehumanizing, at worst, overtly rude. Another option is the "thank you" with no chance of response. This, to me, is much like asking "how are you" without waiting for the response. Both of these are an erosion of common courtesy and politeness.So today I pay tribute to a master, not only of a beautiful, in depth interview, but also a bastion of politeness and humanity. Mr. Ghomeshi finishes every interview by both thanking the interviewee, allowing them a chance to respond and then signs off with "bye-bye". It's a polite, validating and powerful close to what is usually a powerful interview. So today I salute the power of bye-bye.