‘Soft’ needs image consultant

Unknown-1Soft is everywhere. I wrote about the use of “soft” in the past, regarding sports and gender insults. It keeps appearing. Magic Johnson tweeted that current Lakers player Pau Gasol should “stop playing soft.” A Foreign Policy blog post in defense of John Brennan, who is President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the CIA, included this headline: ‘Wait, so John Brennan is soft on terror now?’

It got me thinking (Carrie Bradshaw get out of my head), is it ever good to be soft? The answer, mostly, is “no.”

Rihanna isn’t soft, she’s “so hard.” It’s never good to be soft in sports. Politics? No way. Don’t be soft on terrorism, crime, drugs. Soft money is unregulated (i.e. bad). If you speak softly, it’s advisable to carry a big stick. Conservatives generally dislike “soft power,” and liberals generally like it, but liberals prefer “smart power.”

Conservative news website Breibart.com reported that Matt Damon’s anti-fracking drama “Promise Land” opened “soft” at the box office.  In a summary/review, it said “audiences have no patients for these types of films.” Sorry, I have a soft spot for copy editing.

Terrorists look for soft targets. “Easy” target seems like a more accurate description. Strategists prefer attacking an opponent’s soft underbelly (an affront to those of us with rock-hard abs).

Thanks to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, plus-sized soft drinks are being forced to rebrand themselves.

But it’s not all bad for soft. With the economy, a soft landing is preferred over a hard landing when governments adjust monetary policies. Of course, economics is a soft science. This LA Times op-ed explains how soft sciences get bullied.

There is hard and soft news in journalism. Hard news is the meat (and potatoes) of traditional journalism, so technically it’s preferred (in my experience, anyway) over soft news. Trend or investigative stories are typically linked to hard news, though not categorized as such. But the lines are fairly blurred these days. Check out the variety of headlines on the Huffington Post’s front page.