Author Criticizes Omnipresence Of 'Semi-Informal' 'NPR Voice' On Radio (And Elsewhere)
October 26, 2015 at 4:46 AM (PT)
The proliferation of what novelist TEDDY WAYNE calls "NPR voice" -- "this pregnant pauses and off-kilter pronunciations" that suggests spontaneity but which WAYNE suspects is "highly rehearsed, with each caesura calculated and every syllable stressed in advance" -- is the subject of a column WAYNE wrote for the NEW YORK TIMES this weekend.
WAYNE wrote that he has "heard the same tic in countless speeches, TED talks and Moth StorySLAMS — anywhere that features semi-informal first-person narration," and points to "THIS AMERICAN LIFE" creator-host IRA GLASS as a progenitor of the style, quoting GLASS in an interview on ALEC BALDWIN's "HERE'S THE THING" podcast as claiming that the style is anti-authoritarian, trying to sound like "a real person having the reaction a real person would" rather than the stentorian tones of a news anchor.
Others perhaps responsible for the sound, WAYNE wrote, might include the fictional Carrie Bradshaw in "SEX AND THE CITY," and the blog writing style derived from the late DAVID FOSTER WALLACE's writing. And the style, WAYNE alleged, has even affected First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA, whose speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention was sharply criticized by novelist WALTER KIRN for including "overacting. Two gestures for every word."
Read WAYNE's piece by clicking here.