Diction

The older (and hopefully, wiser) I get, I have learned the hard way that it’s better to hold my tongue about many things. I read a quote awhile back to the effect of, “Maturity is realizing how many things don’t require your comment.” One knows when a valuable lesson is being/has been learned because it sticks with you each and every day, as that quote has with me. There are several things I could/would like to comment on right now; I’m restraining my fingers from typing about them as examples, because maturity is also realizing that’s a very passive-aggressive tactic of *still* commenting on them (i.e., “how _______ is in trouble with the law” or “how _______ won’t return my calls”). Funny thing is, I’ve been both of those “i.e.s” at one/many points in my life, so I also shouldn’t be judging those people. Not to mention I could be one of those “i.e.s” in the future, especially the latter as I’m notorious for not returning calls promptly.

Sabella Colby, as played by Stephanie Beacham

I’ve been rewatching one of my favourite guilty pleasures online: the ill-fated ‘Dynasty’ spin-off ‘The Colbys’. It aired from 1985-87 on ABC–sometimes right after ‘Dynasty’, sometimes in its time slot (to trick viewers), and at the time it got cancelled it was airing opposite ‘Cheers’ (enough said). It was a stellar cast made up of Oscar winners Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck–accompanied by the brilliantly British Stephanie Beacham–as well as some players brought over from ‘Dynasty’ and some eye candy in the form of Maxwell Caulfield. The main thing which has struck me about the show is the diction: Barbie Stanwyck was a pro at enunciating, for starters. And no one of a certain age can mistake Charlton Heston’s booming voice. Then we have the lovely Stephanie Beacham. I’ve always been a sucker for a posh British accent…Joan Collins, Hayley Mills, you name it. I’d forgotten how much I loved Beacham’s accent until I’ve been re-watching the series. In fact, I’ve been mimicking her myself at all hours of the day; my roommate caught me just the other day doing one of her, “Dahhhhhhhlings” to myself as I came down the stairs with my laundry. It’s the enunciation of the “T” at the end of words which particularly stands out to me. As a Southerner, this is something I dropped the moment I came out of the womb, I believe. Diahann Carroll is also a pro at enunciating; she guest starred on several episodes of ‘The Colbys’ as a crossover from ‘Dynasty’. Her ex’s name was Garrett and she literally pronounced it, “GarretT.” So yes, I’ve been practicing my enunciation as of late. I’m still very clumsy with it, but I just had to re-record my outgoing voicemail message for the first time in roughly 1o years and one of my friends told me I sounded so, “Harsh and serious.” Well, I was enunciating…using proper diction. It can come off harsh and serious, but it’s also fun to do after a lifetime of dropping the consonants off the ends of words. “Hello, darlin’,” anyone?!?

Maxwell Caulfield, AKA MIles Colby

Maxwell Caulfield, AKA MIles Colby

Here’s a *fun clip* from ‘The Colbys’ if anyone is bored and so inclined to take one of my informal, 80s-tastic elocution lessons. In the meantime, hope everyone’s enjoying their summer. And take it from me: It pays to think before you speak. Especially when commenting on someone else’s decisions. Use that energy in a more positive way; say, to improve how you yourself say things. Just a thought, dahhhhhlings.

brt

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