The English language is a rich lexicon of flowery sayings and phrases. Some can grab you and not let go. For better or worse. Over the years I have come across some proverbs, and words, that have always--using a turn of phrase--rubbed me the wrong way.
Some of them are overused, hackneyed, and platitudinous to a downright tee. Would you, dear reader, join me on this horrible journey?
1. "I'm just saying."
Uttered by those with a hair-trigger defensive motive. And almost always used by someone who has made a statement that is taken as needlessly defensive, boorish, or duplicitous. Hence the two-faced phrase, "I'm just saying!"
Nobody "just says" anything. Racists tend to resort to this as a masking agent to cover up something stupid. "Black people do violent things--I'm just saying!" Well congratulations, you have made a racist statement without having to own up to it. In other words, you played the racist's game but not take up the racist's name.
A word to the wise, say what you mean and mean what you say. The caveat of I'm just saying! is the equivalent of throwing a stone and hiding your hand. It's cheap and intellectually lazy. Own your words, for they are your own.
2. "That's racist/sexist/ or any other 'ist' one can think of."
On the flipside of "I'm just saying" are those in the camp of the perpetually offended. These are the group idealogues who will always act as a self-appointed savior for any particular race or gender, (usually women) and will pop up to remind the world how racist and sexist everything is.
Make an observation about a particular group, (e.g., Hispanics are Catholic, women on average aren't as physically strong as men) no matter how innocuous the statement may be, and these 'ever-so-tolerant' crusaders will swoop down like morally indignant 'word-ambulance' chasers.
I would not mind so much if there were not so much hypocrisy chocked up within the sinews and minds of these holier-than-thouists of our modern age. Example: When someone, anyone, makes a sweeping or broad generalization about Caucasians or anyone male (or both of these things simultaneously) the mouths of these moralists magically close.
Everyone at some point or another has been guilty of saying this. It usually is a simple phrase, traditionally spoken by someone who wants to end a discussion--especially an argument--rather quickly. Fair enough, some cases can be taxing and sometimes the mind is willing, but the heart is apathetic.
Where this becomes an issue is when it morphs into the go-to, the crutch, the catch-all for the lazy bore. These folks ubiquitously fall into two factions: The whiny suburbanite kid and the bore as mentioned earlier who has lost an argument. The former usually grow out of their "whatever" phase and obtains employment of some kind. Good for them.
The latter is much more prone to annoying idiocy. Usually, the spout some, say something blatantly false and or stupid or offend purely for the sake of offense. When confronted with such infractions, instead of apologizing or debating their point--like an intelligent homo-sapien with two brain cells to rub together--they fall back on "whatever." It's a three syllable word for weak counter-argumentation that leaves both parties unsatisfied. The art of conversation is genuinely dead. Don't care? Eh, whatever.
4. "Money is the root of all evil."
This platitude is espoused by someone who doesn't have any money as a means to assuage the pangs of poverty. Do you know what would relieve that pain of being broke? Having money!
I understand a poor person saying this, but when middle or even upper classes use it, I am genuinely perplexed.
Is money the root of all evil? Then I suggest paying that 'sin' forward and helping me out; Your sin would be washed clean in the blood of the lamb after all, and I would be your monetary scapegoat! Watch them go silent when confronted with the idea of parting with their precious pesos.
Here's an idea, put your MONEY where your mouth is, otherwise shut up.
5. "Check your privilege!"
Admittedly, this is more of a newer phrase, but considering how quickly it has made it to this list despite its age-- goes to show its annoying potency!
Spoken by the envious who, if they applied themselves to one thing outside of complaining, they might make something of themselves. "Check your privilege!" is akin to someone dragging another down because the person in question feels they are obtaining an awesome thing is unwarranted. Because their lack of talent and ability runs so deep, and their laziness is above the national average, the check-your-privilege ilk has put together subsets of people that they feel should constantly placate themselves amidst the altar of the "disadvantaged." This small list includes, but is most certainly not limited to White privilege, male privilege, straight privilege, thin privilege, ad-Infinitum.
Here's a tidbit of advice and a lesson on human nature. We're born selfish. If any human has an advantage in life--whether real or imaginary--they will do just that, take advantage! This is because having privileges feels good, and people want to do what is pleasurable. If the whiners of life had the same benefits, they would not be part of the caste of the bellyaches.
6. "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"
A surefire way to act as a socially sanctioned domestic violence perp. Can you imagine if a father uttered such a thing? There would be an outcry of sorts.
Back to the bad mothers club. So you have been having a bad day my dear? And that lousy day has been making you very upset? Well, I say "tough cookies!" Bad days are a fact of life, and taking out your frustrations on your (supposed) loved-ones is a catalyst for divorce and a recipe for a broken family.
In a warped kind of way, it all makes sense; your emotions control you, so why shouldn't everyone else be a slave to them as well? So--Bitch--when you say "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy," just remember that the emotional well being and happiness of another sentient living individual should not be contingent on your fickle feelings, or whether or not you have had a "bad day."
7. "I don't care about looks."
Spare me. Are you a conscious human being with the sense of sight? Then you care about looks. This is spoken, for the most part, by males who are trying a more disingenuous mating strategy. By appearing to be the good guy who is not like those "other shallow men," his virtue can be bolstered, and now he can win the girl over by his sheer example of moral fiber!
Hate to break it to you fellow, but you're noticing her cleavage and butt right now. And yes she does see that you are looking. And no brother, you are not the exception to the rule. If you are a man with a sex drive, you are visually stimulated and would prefer to mate with someone you find attractive. Granted, what one person finds attractive may differ from another. However, the attractiveness must be apparent--or else no sex will take place.
8. "Violence is never the answer!"
Let me dust off a saying. A wise man once said, "Violence is golden." While violence is not the first, second, or even the third answer; it is, most certainly, the final solution and only a fool would believe that it is not an answer at all.
Violence gave us the constitution. The violence stemmed the tide of Axis aggression. Violence gave us civil rights. Violence is the aggressor, yes: But it is also the protector.
To say violence is never the answer is not just wrong, it is dangerous because it is that very same corny sentimentalism which prevents people from looking at the reality of existence itself. You are the product of violent competition, born from a brutal million year contest called evolution. In other words, you are violence incarnate.
Try that on for size!
9. "I'm bored..."
When I was an annoying little sprout, I said this phrase only a few times. I quickly learned that my boredom didn't amount to a hill of beans, because my mom would always respond with, "And? Your point?" She would then walk off, usually doing something else--leaving me, and my boredom, in the proverbial dust.
She was right. Boredom means nothing. I have had people say to me "I'm bored" and I am always astounded. To this day, I can never understand boredom. We live in a world full of turbulence, upheaval, exploration, and wonder. And you are bored? Stop for a second and turn to your right, you more than likely will find something!
Stop saying it, and I'm not here to entertain you--I'm not your show monkey.
10. "Nazi!" or "Hitler!"
Hear me out on this one. Hitler and his Nazi Cronies were some of the most nefarious nere-do-well's this world has ever seen. In no way, shape or form, am I defending or endorsing Adolf Hitler. (I'm a biracial, bisexual man for goodness sakes!) May he rot, and may all of his supporters, past, and present, sleep with the fishes.
With that disclaimer fully enclosed, can we as a society stop using the word Nazi and the name Hitler, to tear someone down who we might disagree? Hitler is no longer a scary cautionary tale of unbridled power and the dangers of her conformity--he's become a bugaboo; a regular twenty-first-century boogeyman with goose-stepping goblins, here to take your full grown millennial children from their cribs; screaming profanities in German to them all the way to Fox News' headquarters.
He's become a comic book villain. It's weakening the effect.
Me personally, I prefer to vary my insults by borrowing from other lesser known (or at least less discussed) despots. Let's move away from the Teutonic tyrant and try Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Che Guevara, and Mao Zedong on for size. Too twentieth century? We can go old school! How about Gaius Caligula, Ivan the Terrible, and Leopold the II of Belgium!
History is bloody good fun!
11. "I'll pray for you..."
The most lethargic form of charity that pantomimes serious concern for the well being of another. A veritable "for-twenty-five-cents-a-day" fake, moral crusaderism. Unlike the Christian Children's Fund (and this is coming from a non-believer) who--at least--tries to impact actual charity, saying "I'll pray for you" is the equivalent of saying "There's nothing I can do."
The next time, be honest and say that. When someone is in actual need or, worse yet, peril; the last thing anyone needs is an appeal to some non-existent sky wizard who may or may not provide some assistance.
Growing up, I remember a person--we'll call him Joe--who would always shout "I'll pray for you..." One day, one of Joe's friends was in dire straights. The time when he needed Joe the most, Joe moved his mouth to say (wait for it) "I'll pray for you..." Joe's buddy was enraged by that and retorted with a hissing "I need a place to stay, not your stinking prayers!" I think the point was made quite clearly.
12. "Be a man!"
By who's standards? Yours? Societies? Women's? Other men's?
Be a man is parroted by those who, more often than not, want something from a male--especially when said thing is detrimental to that individual male's emotional, mental, or physical well being.
What is more perturbing (or infuriating in some regards) is when a woman says it. Is your man--or a man you know--about to well up with tears? "Be a man!" You yell out. Pray tell, what do you as a woman, know about being a man? It is just as idiotic when a man says it, but at the very least he has some semblance (by his very membership to the gender) of what he is saying.
Contrary to popular belief, men feel and emote just like any other human being. Let them express it. We might have fewer mass shootings if that were the case.
13. "You Should Smile More."
I'm pointing my proverbial finger at the fellas for this one yes. Yes, I have heard women spout this nonsense too, but more often than not, it is from men towards women.
I'm sorry she, much like men, feels the gamut of emotions and does not want to "turn that frown upside down." No, she is not some hostess on a game show, there to make sweet gestures to showcase fabulous prizes. No, she does not have to flash her pearly whites so that your day could be brightened.
Maybe she is dealing with hardship. Instead of demanding her to smile, try letting her vent.
14. "Don't judge me!"
Most likely, if one hears this, the one saying it is guilty of some fraction or another. A rapid defensive position towards those who would dare to point out some major flaw of character.
An example is in order: I grew up in some pretty rough neighborhoods, where broken homes and drug use, as well as dealing, was commonplace. When some low down druggie or an irresponsible single mother was given guidance, their first phrase would be either "only God can judge me!" or "don't judge me!" and my personal favorite "You don't know what I've been through!"
Yes, I can, and yes I will. The fact of the matter is that your stupid actions affect others around you. Also, if I might add, being judgemental--in varying capacities--is a natural neurological mechanism used to gauge safety, who one is going to socialize with, and what actions one is going to take. You do it, I do it, and so does everyone else.
15. "Watch your tone!"
Tone policing is an ugly habit because it is more concerned with how something is said instead of the truth behind it.
Yes, sometimes tones should be watched. However, when every conversation is scrutinized to the point where no one can say what they feel out of fear, nobody benefits. If someone has to walk on eggshells to protect your pusillanimous, lily-livered, ego then you are not a conversationalist, you're a word fascist. A communicative authoritarian ready to start a war over every perceived tone crime.
It looks as though I won't be talking to you any time soon.