We are a mass of contradictions.
Most of us become so accustomed to it over time, that it passes for normal.
But every so often an over-used phrase gets stuck in my head and hurts like the time Paul Anka’s “You’re Havin’ My Baby” came to live in my skull for a solid month.
Of late, I’ve noticed “Opposite” Phrases…normally used as an insincere ploy to show deference while proceeding with offense. Other times, it’s just annoyingly superfluous.
The one that set me off recently was “…With all due respect” — usually uttered by someone who is about to say something completely disrespectful. Also in that category is the ever-popular “I don’t wish to seem rude…” (you know you do!)
Another one is “…Some say…” and its ugly cousins “Studies show…”, “I’ve heard…”, “We all know…”, “You know as well as I do…”, and “I know for a fact…” — which you can usually translate into “I’m just making this up because it supports my argument.”
Speaking of arguments: at some point, you’ll usually hear “That’s not the point, the point is…” — which means “That really was the point…you won it…and I want to change the focus quickly before I lose control of the argument.” …or the last refuge: “Well I guess we just have to agree to disagree…” — usually followed by a muttered “even though I’m clearly right.”
One I’ve always found particularly laughable and galling at the same time shows up in almost any sound bite from Congress. It comes in several flavors. “My Esteemed Colleague…”, “My Friend Across The Isle…”, “The Right Honorable…” — usually inserted in place of the speaker’s true opinion, which is anything BUT!
Socially, there’s “I hate to be the one to tell you…” — usually said by someone who’s absolutely DELIGHTED to be the one to tell you. “You don’t want to know…” — is used to remind you just how much you really DO want to know. And there’s the classic “Oh, I’d be the last person in the world to…” — say what I’m about to say anyway. That one also shows up as “Far be it from me to…”
And have you ever noticed in cop shows or war movies whenever someone says, “Permission to speak freely?” — they’re going to unload with a speech anyway. (There was one show I wish I could remember where the authority figure just replied “No”. I laughed out loud.)
As a voiceover talent, voice artist, voice actor…whatever you want to call it…I know it’s to my advantage to actively listen to what people say and how they talk. It helps me create a good performance when I’m behind the mic, whether I’m playing an actual character or not. But I swear…(and I don’t, usually)…sometimes I wonder if it isn’t more of a liability, when it causes me to notice duplicitous phrases like these.
Needless to say (though I’m saying it anyway), you can probably think of a lot more.
— over and out –