In keeping with the spirit of the New Year, I thought we should be more forgiving of the overly exuberant figurative language of the print and broadcast media these past several days. But I think levity in journalistic language shouldn't be pursued to the point of insensitivity and callousness, like what was done by a major Metro Manila broadsheet last January 31when it reported that owing to the full moon, Mayon Volcano might extend the "courtesy" of "natural loud bangs and fireworks display" to the Albayanons as they welcomed the New Year. This personification of Mayon as if it were just another devil-may-care New Year's Day reveler is wayward, dangerous language—one that trivializes the need for great caution at this time when Mayon is still perilously restive. Except for this kind of loose journalistic language, though, I'm glad to note that the major reportage of the Metro Manila broadsheets for that same day—the last day of 2009—was admirably free of English grammar and usage errors.
To start off the New Year, I posted in Jose Carillo's English Forum two previously published essays of mine: the first on the need to widen our repertoire of English idioms to become truly fluent in the language, and the second a personal assessment in a little over 800 words of the world as it is today. The Forum then rounds off its first-week edition for 2010 with links to two thought-provoking retrospective articles on the human condition—one on the Peter Principle, a theory on managerial incompetence that raised eyebrows 40 years ago, and the other on mankind's abiding belief in end-of-the-world prophecies despite consistent outcomes to the contrary.