Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thanks for sharing

When I first started hearing "Thank you for sharing" and, more frequently, seeing it in print, I thought it had to be a joke, except that people seemed to be using it seriously or, even worse, to be using it in that postmodern, hedging one's bets way that says the user so lacks confidence in what he or she has to say that he wants to be taken seriously and be thought to be poking fun at himself at the same time. I say never trust any expression that misuses a transitive verb intransitively, and you'll rarely go wrong.

So I was especially pleased to see the following sentiment placed in the mouth of a character in John Lawton's novella Bentinck's Agent:
  "‘You have anything else you want to share with me?’

"`Share? Share! Oh you fucking hippies. Yes, I’ll “share”’ (both hands went up to frame the word in speech marks)...'"
I like that because it's funny, because it vents spleen at an insipid expression, and because it explains its own disdain ("Oh you fucking hippies.")  I look forward to similar scorn for the even worse "reaching out," which lacks even the redeeming touch of self-mockery that "Thank you for sharing" is said once to have had.

What expressions drive you nuts? Why?
==================
John Lawton will be part of my "World War II and Sons" panel at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany, N.Y., on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 4:00 p.m.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

Labels: , , , ,

16 Comments:

Blogger Dana King said...

"Share" is one of mine. I work with someone who is otherwise a wonderful person; I've worked with her and liked her for years. She's into asking if we have anything to share a meeting, and when she does that what I'd like to share most are my hands round her throat.

"Reach out to" also gets me. ("if you get a chance, will you reach out to Eddie for us?") Just say, "Ask Eddie." Period.

I used to like "at the end of the day," but it's been overused and misused so much I think we're at the end of its day.

August 29, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I can guess at the origin of and reason for "reach out." (A 1979 advertising slogan, and overvaluation of honesty and emotion.) But I have no idea why "the end of the day" became so popular or when.

August 29, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I think I have mostly heard "Thanks for sharing" used sarcastically.

August 29, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I have heard it used sarcastically, but also read it used apparently straightforwardly, particularly on blogs.

August 29, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I may even have done it myself, God help me.

August 29, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

If you have, I am confident you did so with commendable sarcasm.

August 29, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

I used to work with ex-cons in a halfway house, and we had a hippie therapist who did weekly group counseling sessions I had to sit in on. That's the first place I ever really encountered "sharing" as a synonym for just plain old saying stuff. I still associate it with that feeling of everyone having the fuzzy-wuzzies while I sat there with the heebie-jeebies. (And yes, it always ended with the dreaded group hug.)

August 30, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Group hug" is, happily, always a joke.

And I think the fuzzy-wuzzies and the heebie-jeebies should merge, take advantage of their natural synergies, and become the fuzzy-jeebies and the heebie-wuzzies, each connoting a degree of giddy dread.

My verification word is what you are if you get your prescriptions electronically: e-drugged

August 30, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

If my first novel is called The Fuzzy Jeebies, you'll be in the acknowledgments.

August 30, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'll want to see the cover illustration for that one.

August 31, 2013  
Blogger nonie said...

I dislike the expression "whatever." "Back in the day" used by 20 somethings get on my nerves as well.

September 01, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ha! I never much liked "back in the day," but in reference to, say, 2008, it's even worse.

And, don't take this personally, but I have never much liked "XXXXtysomethings" in formal writing, a distinction that has largely broken down.

September 01, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In blog comments, it is OK, of course.

September 01, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I dislike whatever too, except when I'm using it, when it tends to feel extremely satisfying to say it.

September 02, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You could always say, "Why, when I was your age ..." instead.

September 02, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Nonie, I just now heard a kid in his twenties say: "I used to work there. Back in the day." What the hell does he think that means? And how long ago is "back in the day" to him? 2010?

September 04, 2013  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home