August 5, 2002

Too Fond of a Good Thing?

We sometimes seem to get hung up on titles that were once appropriate but are no longer. This thought was inspired by the recent World Youth Day in Toronto, which apparently went on for a week or more. In a casual search, I was unable to determine if the event ever was a single day, but it seems likely that it was. If it never was, then I guess the name is simply Roman Catholic doublespeak. Giving Rome the benefit of the doubt, however, “World Youth Day” is likely a name that people thought sounded good and therefore retained when the event expanded to more than one day. In a similar vein, a local department holds a “One-Day Sale” from time to time. These are advertised as a “One-Day Sale and One-Day Preview.” I asked a salesman what the difference was between a two-day sale and a one-day sale with a one-day preview. He said that the one-day sale was a longstanding monthly tradition, but that the store's new owners wanted to run the sale longer. Thus, the “One-Day Sale” tradition continues. Somehow, there seems to be more honesty in “World Youth Gathering” and “Two-Day Sale,” but perhaps I am simply insufficiently respectful of tradition.

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