By Joe Rector

I admit it; I have a propensity to talk and talk. It’s not that the sound of my voice is pleasing nor is it that I have words of wisdom for the ages. No, I most often talk too much when I’m bored or nervous. In either situation, yapping like a dog is a security blanket for me.

These days, too many people are afflicted with the same problem that I have. Talk shows go on endlessly with guests who yammer about their latest movie or “project.” They bore audiences stiff until folks hit the remote control to find something a bit more interesting. Sports talk shows often have so-called “experts” discussing topics. Around here, UT football is usually the hot topic of discussion. The prognosticators go on and on with their takes on developing stories. In the long run, many of these talkers have no more sources about things than the rest of us. They just have the hutzpah to act as though they do. I’m always amazed, and more than a little annoyed, at some of these folks who break down games and positions and coaching decisions without ever having played the sport, much less having coached it.

I’m tired of all the chitchat that is inserted into games of all kinds. The announcers do enough jawing; the last thing I want to hear is some piece of trivia from some sideline reporter. It’s even invaded golf this year. A female is now standing in front of an electronic board and showing us the rankings of some unknown player. I don’t care about that stuff. If a player is good enough, he’ll wind up playing for the Fed-Ex Cup. More interesting to viewers are the shots made on the course.

The news is especially irritating when it comes to talking. Twenty—four hour coverage is to blame. Not enough goes on in the world, so the same stories are run through shows. Different analysts are brought in to give their spins on the limited stories. This retread news comes on all news channels, conservative and liberal alike. When a story has been dissected a dozen times, announcing that it is “breaking news” is just a bit over the top, as well as being annoying. I am a news junkie, but sometimes I long for the days when Walter Cronkite gave us the news in 30 minutes. We found other worthwhile stories in the local newspaper. Sadly, Knoxville’s daily paper has little of interest to the general public; that news has been replaced with canned stories that the publisher uses for its collection of papers.

The emptiest talk comes from the mouths of politicians. They are so afraid to utter something that might offend voters that they use vague language that ends up meaning nothing. “Politics speak” enables elected officials to be on both sides of an issue. No, they never admit that they’ve taken a stand on controversial issue. Instead, they are always indicating that “more study and research is needed before proceeding.” Voters want these career government employees to tell what they believe; that way, citizens can decide who best serves them. This mindless, constant babbling is not found only in the hallways of Congress; much of it dribbles from the executive offices as well. Americans find it increasingly difficult to tell what is true and what is false because politicians specialize in never really saying anything.

All of us would do much better if we talked less and listened more. The problems that exist might more easily and quickly be solved. However, I don’t look for much change in the noise that comes from all of our mouths. Instead, we will continue talking without ever making a point.