Matthew Steeples highlights the peril of “reaching out”
“Reaching out” is a phrase that can be compared to Starbucks and their taxes.
This toxic platitude has sadly become common in both Britain and America and is generally used by people who don’t know you when they want something. Like Starbucks on the high street, it is everywhere and akin to the coffee company and their tax contributions, it contributes very little.
“I’m reaching out to you today…” began a recent email from Cindy McCain, the wife of a former American Presidential candidate, asking for a donation to a campaign her husband was running. Mrs McCain’s insincere email continued in the same tone and I did not feel motivated to donate. The very words “reaching out” so grated on my psyche that I was utterly turned off. I am certain many others felt just the same.
In her song, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”, Diana Ross used the euphemism correctly. Her reference to physical contact is a perfectly reasonable use of the words whereas McCain’s pompous and forlorn request was unwelcome and unwanted. As I “reached” the end of the email and read: “This is a call to action,” all the bleach blonde had achieved was to lead me towards the button marked “junk mail.”
Starbucks are now trying to put a stop to their tax avoidance. Please could Mrs McCain and others “lead by example” and do the same with their “reaching out”?
Recently, a friend thanked me for “reaching out” after I had called and commiserated with him on losing his house in Hurricane Sandy. Surely this is acceptable?