Google is my teacher.

I know nobody cares about this stuff but me, but for some reason Because good, clear writing is the cornerstone of democracy and even human freedom itself, I keep scratching that itch about columnists qualifying their opinions. So I Googled the phrase “don’t get me wrong” in G-News — 2,517 results. Sixty-four hits on “‘i’m not saying’ AND ‘i am saying’.”

Go forth and write clearly, grasshopper. Say what you mean, and be brave.

Posted at 12:58 pm in Media |
 

23 responses to “Google is my teacher.”

  1. Danny said on February 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Gawd, what a pain in the butt you are. I’m just sayin’.

  2. Jen said on February 25, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I cringed at the phrase “Don’t get me wrong,” because I know I overuse that way too much. At least now I have a new goal for phrases not to use as much in my writing…

  3. Cathy D. said on February 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    “I’m just sayin'” is the new black.

  4. Danny said on February 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Jen, don’t forget “death to adverbs.” If you didn’t see Nancy’s post on that, look for it.

  5. brian stouder said on February 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    and to the list of qualifiers and preemptive phrases, good ol’ Madame Telling Tales slyly added I know nobody cares about this stuff but me, but

  6. nancy said on February 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Good catch, Brian! I shall revise. Stand by.

  7. brian stouder said on February 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Much clearer, and corner-stoney!

  8. Dexter said on February 25, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’ I could care less.

    C-YA !!

  9. beb said on February 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    And the passive voiced “some people say…”

    As in some people say Obama isn’t black enough or some people say that Obama is too black to be president of America. Some people have an agenda that don’t want to talk about…

  10. Mindy said on February 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Pain in the butt, Danny? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just sayin’.

  11. nancy said on February 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    You disappoint me, all of you. “I’m just sayin'” is not the new black. It’s the weasel usage I object to:

    “I’m not saying all working mothers are abusive narcissists more interested in getting a late-model Mercedes than nurturing their infants. I am saying children do better with a full-time mother who has their best interests at heart.”

    “I’m not saying anyone who likes hip-hop is tone deaf. I am saying it’s a shame the proud tradition of African-American music has come to this.”

    When in doubt, always check what they’re not saying, because frequently that’s what they’re saying.

    I mean: Just sayin’.

  12. Peter said on February 25, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    In my neck of the woods I’ve heard it as “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin'”

  13. john c said on February 25, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks Peter. I was going to add that one. I consider it sort of a Sopranoism. I can picture Sil with the shoulder shrug. “Ahhhhh-ahm not sayin’ T. I’m just sayin’.”

    And has anyone seen Ebert’s new collection of reviews. Methinks it might be a nice antidote to the Albom style. It is called: “Your movie sucks.” (It is a collection of bad reviews)

  14. Julie Robinson said on February 25, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I love reading Ebert’s reviews of bad movies. I think he’s writing as much to entertain himself as his readers. He’s already had to waste the time he spent seeing the movie, but at least he can excercise his own creativity while writing the review.

    So he’s still a national treasure. The statute of limitations for The Valley of the Dolls has run out.

  15. nancy said on February 25, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Pans are easy; praise is what’s hard. The thing about Ebert is, he manages to make his four-star reviews as readable as his scathing dismissals of crap like “Deuce Bigalow.”

  16. Danny said on February 26, 2008 at 12:34 am

    A few years ago, there was a site where the folks reviewed the movies after watching just the movie trailer. Hilarious stuff when Hollywood goes so formulaic that it is obvious what the movie is going to be about.

    Another site that I used to get a chuckle out of was the filthy critic. He can get tiresome, but if you go to his archive he has is “in short” movie reviews, which can also be funny. A few samples:

    13 Ghosts 2001 Lifeless, soulless crapfest.
    Anchorman 2004 Ha ha, people dressed funny in the 70s.
    Anger Management 2003 More mature fart jokes from Sandler
    The Animal 2001 One joke(?), eighty minutes
    Eyes Wide Shut 1999 Well-directed dumb story
    Kinsey 2004 Boring movie sort of about sex but mostly about Oscar
    A Knight’s Tale 2001 If you’re dumb and a teenaged girl, you’ll love it.
    Little Miss Sunshine 2006 Road comedy taken over by the NPR crowd.
    O Brother, Where Art Thou 2001 If you love PBS, you might like it
    Ratatouille 2007 Rat cooks, audience yawns.
    Secretary 2002 A very good love story that also happens to be about bondage

  17. Danny said on February 26, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Hey, let’s not forget about Cintra Wilson, when talking about the Oscars. She does a nice job every year.

    As per usual, Radioactive Jack [Nicholson] was there in the aisle in a pair of sunglasses, and I was on my bed with a in a pair of sweatpants, with my laptop staring at him, with intent to mine him for larger cultural insight.

  18. MarkH said on February 26, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Just remember that, when there’s nothing more to be said…they’ll still be saying it…

    (…still be saying it).

  19. Jeff said on February 26, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Michael Kinsley, saying nothing on Slate about McCain — http://www.slate.com/id/2185134 — make sure to read the last paragraph (or is it a sentence?).

  20. brian stouder said on February 26, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Wow! Jeff – your link to Kinsley’s piece gave me my laugh of the morning. The sentence looks like it could have come from A Farewell to Arms (even allowing that Kinsley was making fun – the thing still seems to have gotten away from him!)

    More troubling, however, is the issue of whether McCain’s letter may have led some people to worry that other people might conclude that McCain’s letter created the appearance of a conflict of interest, as well as the issue of whether the New York Times, in digging up this eight-year-old letter, was creating the possibility that some people might think there was a possibility of an appearance that the Times was suggesting the possibility of an appearance of a potential conflict of interest in McCain’s behavior, along with the most distressing possibility of all: that in this very article I may be creating the possibility that some people might worry that other people might think that I have created the appearance of suggesting that the New York Times has created the possibility that some people might worry that other people might think that McCain has created the appearance that some people might worry that other people might think that there could be an appearance that McCain was having an affair with a lobbyist.

  21. Del said on February 26, 2008 at 9:18 am

    That sentence’s gotta be a joke.

  22. Jeff said on February 26, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Kinsley forgot the 😉 but i’m pretty sure he’s going for irony.

  23. Jeff said on February 26, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Ack, i hate the logo emoticons . . . that was (trying to be tricky with spaces) ; – ) [i just wanted to see if doing that disabled the logo function; sorry to clutter, nancy]