Friday, March 26, 2010

like, yeah.

"A certain postmodern fondness for not knowing what you think about anything is perhaps reflected in the North American speech habit of inserting the word ‘like’ after every three or four words. It would be certainly dogmatic to suggest that something actually is what it is." -Terry Eagleton

Wow, I have never heard anyone put it better.

I don't think I'm someone who excessively uses the "like" word, except when I get worked up about something/talk fast, but I've been taking great pains lately to lessen its popularity in my speech. In my English classes there are opinions that would be much more seriously considered if only the student took the precaution to NOT sound like an idiot.

And as Mr. Eagleton says, it's as if this word is the example for the strange trend for this generation; the lack of passion or intelligence. I blame it on poor education and social pressure, as well as insecurity, which is more timeless than the other two contributing factors. We are too mistrustful of our perspectives to have an opinion, we are not educated well enough to formulate one, and we are too afraid of appearance to speak definitively, because somewhere someone's going to jump down our throat.

I don't like being verbally assaulted, or people who think they know everything, or people who automatically think everyone who may oppose them is ultimately stupid for having a different opinion or perspective. HOWEVER. I do not understand how so many of us can float around with no opinion on anything.

Ever since I was small the words "I don't care/whatever" always seemed the most hurtful to me, personally. I remember telling my mother, when I was around seven or so, that the worst thing anyone could ever say to me was that they didn't care. I still feel that way, and when I come across something that I don't understand, usually a political issue because I have a difficult time comprehending such information, it frustrates me because at that moment I don't know enough about it to formulate an opinion, and nothing is worse than not feeling.

Why are people so afraid to speak?

1 comment:

Emily Gant McGuire said...

I hate when people say "whatever", or "I don't care". I have one friend in particular who's so concious in trying to appear laid back, that when we're doing something or making plans she says that. I think many people use "whatever" as a way to convey they don't care, and they're not trying to be rude, but I always take it as "I could care less if we were even hanging out right now, or if we ever do." It's just rude.
I myself also try to reduce the usage of "like" in my vocabulary as much as I can. The only time I say "like" excessively is when I don't know what I'm talking about, or I can't explain it in a way that makes sense, and I try not to talk about things I don't know that much about, but it still happens from time to time.
And I agree completely with your statement on how insecurity and the fear of rejection, or embarrassment keeps us from saying anything definitively. Recently, I was a presenter for an in-class debate, and I made a definitive statement on a controversial subject, and many people eagerly vocalized their disapproval. This is also the same reason in writing that instead of being entirely definitive many students insert words like "possibly" or "perhaps". Most of us aren't taught to be confident, and we've learned that when we are it backfires.