“That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

In between the yummy dinner of homemade chicken fajitas, and the Jello-provided chocolate pudding for dessert, I perused the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal. Above the fold was a puff piece on Al Franken’s senatorial run* in Minnesota, and it included this tidbit, “… the bane of conservative talk-radio” in describing Franken.
Webster’s defines “bane” as “a source of harm or ruin; curse”. Such is what I always held “bane” to mean as well. So I sat and thought, after having read those words, that while one might be able to argue that Franken has harmed conservative talk radio, I cannot imagine it has been to the extent of earning the the moniker of “bane”. He certainly hasn’t brought conservative talk radio to ruin, not now when it is stronger than ever. Therefore one might surmise that writer June Kronholz and her editors at the WSJ either, (a) don’t have a twelth-grade education, or (b) don’t know how to type “www.m-w.com” in to their web browser address bar.
A better description of Mr. Franken’s relationship to conservative talk radio might be “source of material”, or, if one were feeling generous toward Mr. Franken, “adversary”. (Mr. Franken can thank my friend, Mr. Lawson, for that one.)
One might also note Ms. Kronholz’s mention of Mr. Franken’s short-lived career at Air America: “He left that gig in February.” She fails to include words to the effect of “…due to lack of ratings and lack of revenue.”
Mr. Franken may be a lot of things to conservative talk radio, Ms. Kronholz, but “bane” is not one of them. Please choose your words more carefully next time, noting that Webster’s also has a thesaurus.**

*Subscription may be required to read.
** (A “thesaurus”, Ms. Kronholz, is a volume used to find words of similar or antithetical nature.)