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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Complain, complain, complain

Posted Friday, April 9, 2010, at 11:04 AM

Complain, complain, complain.

Most of us are guilty of it to some degree or another.

Some of us more than others relish in the art of complaining from sunrise to sunset.

Have you known someone who was happiest complaining?

I can think of a few people who fit in that category.

My profession is not immune from complaining by any means.

Journalists make a living complaining -- some call it opinion.

What does the word really mean?

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines the word "complain" as an intransitive verb that dates back to the 14th century.

It means to "express grief, pain, or discontent -- such as complaining about the weather."

It also means to make a "formal accusation or charge."

Other common words that mean the same thing as complain are beef, bellyache, crab, croak, fuss, gripe, grouse, growl, grumble, moan, murmur, mutter, repine, squawk, wail, and whine.

The opposite or antonym is simply rejoice, but it can also mean to accept, bear, endure, tolerate; applaud, cheer and commend.

Which group do you fall in?

Down through history many notables have talked about complaining and we can all glean some good direction from their words.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do."

James Whitcomb Riley wrote, "It is no use to grumble and complain; It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice."

Nationally syndicated conservative talk show host and movie critic Michael Medved noted, "Savvy observers occasionally note television's resemblance to the weather: Everybody loves to complain about it, but nobody can do anything to fix it."

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar says complaints represent opportunities in the business world.

He wrote, "Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business."

In the newspaper business, we hear our fair share of complaints about the way we do things.

We hear it about something we didn't do or didn't print, about our views, about the views of others, about the actions of politicians or our government and community leaders, or simply about the cost of our services.

Some people are really surprised that the newspaper is a "for profit" business that has to actually charge for things like advertising and subscriptions.

Space is all we have to sell.

I wonder if they air the same complaints when they go to the gas station, department store or food market?

Most days I don't worry too much about complaints. Many are constructive and it does hold us all accountable to a great degree.

I guess the best thing about complaints from where I sit at an editor's/writer's desk is it tells me people are reading the product we produce from start to finish every day in a 24-hour news cycle.

How many other products do you know of that are produced from start to finish in a single day?

We have stringent deadlines and we are very much dependent on information we get from our sources. We are also limited by staffing and resources like any other small business trying to keep its head above the water in this tough economy.

Do we get it all right and accurate every time? Probably not, but we really do try.

It's really kind of funny and sad at the same time, but you know we hardly hear too much when we get something right or there is a good story in the newspaper.

But just let a comma be placed in the wrong place, improper grammar be used or heaven-forbid we spell somebody's name wrong, and the complaint department (which is the writers themselves) hears about it.

I guess that is just human nature. It is easier to complain, you know.

Along those lines, computer graphics researcher and developer Robert A. Cook says it's best to keep things positive.

He wrote, "Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn't take any brains to complain."

And, author of "Chicken Soup For The College Soul" Anthony J. D'Angelo, may have had the best advice for all of us chronic complainers when he wrote, "Realize that if you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it."

Let's all think twice before we take the easy way and just complain.

Being positive and seeking affirmative answers to things we don't really like is a more sensible way.

And, it hurts less.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com .

Copyright 2010 The Greene County Daily World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

How would you explain this story after this blog?


-- Posted by chevygleen on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 4:59 PM
Nick Schneider
I guess it's up to you to tell me. I don't consider the earlier blog to be complaining...just expressing my opinion in a personal column/blog. It is not a news story...it is MY opinion.

By that definition all complaints can be categorized as "just expressing my opinion". FYI, complaining is always expressing an opinion, but expressing an opinion is not always complaining. I would ask you to read your previous blog under the filter of, yes I am expressing my opinion, but am I doing it in a way that seems to be complaining?

-- Posted by chevygleen on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 7:17 PM

I complain, I admit it. Comes with getting old and fed up with what is going on.

-- so funny, my middle son last weeks said I complain too much--

-- Posted by gary g on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 8:28 PM

I agree- most of the time complaining does not help and it just makes most of us even more grouchy. I would rather build others up and not tear each other down.

-- Posted by hotdogannie on Tue, Apr 13, 2010, at 10:01 PM

Hey this is neat. Chevygleen is complaining about complaining. Or maybe just expressing an opinion...now I am confused.

-- Posted by Hedley Lamarr on Wed, Apr 14, 2010, at 7:15 AM

I am big enough to admit I am complaining when you see it. No word dance here.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Wed, Apr 14, 2010, at 7:20 AM

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