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October 04, 2011


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I think the Supremes' "Reach out and Touch" was 1969.
The use of "reach out" that I found novel was on "NYPD Blue" some years ago, where it seemed to be used not as a metaphor but as a literal synonym for "telephone." Whether this was an echo of the 1979 Bell slogan I can't say.

Rootlesscosmo: "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" was the first single recorded by Diana Ross *after* she left the Supremes; it was released in April 1970: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reach_Out_and_Touch_(Somebody's_Hand)

"Reach out" (defined as "contact") is included in the "NYPD Blue" lexicon: http://website.lineone.net/~rmeeks/ I don't remember watching more than a couple episodes of the show, so I can't vouch for any nuances in its meaning.

I agree with you that there's something about the corporate medium that turns the physical term of connection to one of jargon-esque insincerity.

Next question: does the noun "outreach," seemingly a function of every nonprofit from Bangor to Bakersfield, have a similar emetic effect?

oh but i HATE this term. I always have to suppress the urge to scream, "JUST SAY CALL! JUST SAY CALL!" because that's what they mean. Boring as it is.

Nancy: The point I make in the VT article is that "reach out" does *not* always mean "call." For example, I don't think the Islamists in the headline were speed-dialing "wary secularists."

But I think what Other Nancy is saying is, it's one thing to use "reach out/outreach" to mean making overtures to someone actoss a gulf of understanding in an even loosely political or diplomatic sense, or putting the word out in a completely different community, or something like that. But it's extremely annoying to use it in reference to simply calling, e-mailing, or texting some guy to ask what's up with the thingamajig. Or the in-between use I hear in meetings all the time--Let's reach out to so-and-so and ask if he has any brilliant ideas about such-and-such. It manages to sound simultaneously pompous and forlorn.

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