75% of sobering statistics are not sobering

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When you find yourself using clichéd language it is wise to reach for something. My preference is espresso, in the hope that the use of cliché is evidence of an unready mind.

The use of cliché is only advised if you acknowledge exactly what you are up to. Casual references to nuclear fusion “always being thirty years away” imply that this cliché is all you know about nuclear fusion. And the implication is probably valid most of the time. Acknowledge that you are using a cliché and the reader might realize you aren’t clueless.

Another cliché is the use of “sobering statistics”, the phrase that is. (And before you ask, yes I have used it.)

What is it about these statistics that is sobering? Are we supposed to be in the middle of a decades long bender, to be shaken out of a state of perpetual inebriation by the mention of percentages?

Who exactly wants to be sober?

Can we not have depressing statistics, startling statistics, frightening statistics, jump out of your seat statistics, shit your pants statistics, fire your politicians statistics, do something to improve the world statistics, anything but sobering statistics.