Darn It, Donald Rumsfeld, Did We Really Need This Habit?

Today, I speak of a pet peeve no one should have begun, and especially not one begun by a politician. We’ve enough of those who under-serve as it is.

I speak now to the official 1000th time I have scratched at my eyes over the interminable use of a question to make a statement.  They are questionable efforts to sound all knowledgy and smart. Yes, I know that technically, knowledgy isn’t really a word.  Maybe I’m just demonstrating another peeve.  Who knows to whom that pet belongs?

Weasel 2 glassesSo, do I hate that people use questions to make a statement on a regular basis now?  Yes! Yes I do, and it’s all Donald Rumsfeld’s fault.  That’s right, “There are no unknowns that we know we don’t know”, former U.S. Secretary of Defense (2001-2006), Donald Rumsfeld .

It all began during the era of searching for the weapons of mass imagination in Iraq.  As head defense guy, it was in fact, his most used defense system.  He deployed it fully during statements to the public or while he was being interviewed.

‘Do I worry about weapons of mass destruction and feel concern for U.S. safety’? ‘Of course’.  ‘Do I anticipate that you’re going to ask me this question, so I answer it to get it off my back the way I want to answer it, so I can ignore it when you ask it’? Why, yes I do’.  Asked and answered, move along now. You get the picture.

It drove me nuts, and when the election was over, I thought, whew, back to regular statements, but then the unthinkable began – reporters started to mimic the annoying habit.  Then anyone who was ever interviewed about anything began to conduct their own interviews until eventually network news, Entertainment Tonight and TMZ went off the air due to obsolescence.

Okay, not really, but would you believe this trend went even further by actually being written into script dialogue for movies and TV shows?

Why? Why must this trend of fatuous intent continue? It doesn’t make one sound cool or knowing or even, stately.  It sounds like what it was meant for, a wily way to buy time before you can squirm onto a different pile of bull-peppermint patties in order to avoid truth or responsibility.  Uncool.  Avoidance.

If there is a statement to be made, please, please just make it. Straight up, straight forward, say it.  Don’t use that weasel way that makes it seem like you just know enough to anticipate what our next thought or question will be.  Arrogance.  Then to follow up that nonsense with your own next question?

Please, let me interject in your own answer to your own questions – don’t.  Let’s just leave as many weasels in the woods as possible.  Now, that’s a good habit.


Anything bothering you today? I mean beside my grammar issues.

21 thoughts on “Darn It, Donald Rumsfeld, Did We Really Need This Habit?

  1. Weapons of mass imagination – that’s the very best description ever of the Iraq debacle. We don’t see Rumsfeld on the news down here so much, anymore. But, oh, am I ever allergic to weasel words from the mouths of politicians, whether they are our own or foreign. Give me a straight talker any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep, I know what you mean Robyn. It annoy’s me when people – especially public figures – use language for purposes other than communicating. In this case it is obviously putting a spin on the content so questions don’t have to be answered; stretching things out or trying to sound more knowledgeable than they are.

    My pet peeve is when people “verbify” nouns. Instead of giving someone a shot of heparin, nurses will say “heparinize” him. Or adding clowns to a parade becomes “clownifying” the parade. Or putting a deck on a house becomes “deckifying” the house. AARGH! This drives me crazy.

    Thanks for chance to rant Robyn. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Paul – verbifying is a solid international effort now, isn’t it? I don’t mind it if it’s used in a joke or joking manner, but when you hear a broadcaster doing that – too weird. It’s right on par with the banker wanting to discuss my mortgage details in the middle of intense negotiations and using a smiley face at the end of his sentences. Definitely not the time nor place!


  3. You continue to remind me why I think you are so fabulous. I join you in your pet peeve – that’s the sound of me hollering from the back row.
    And, then your question “Is anything bothering you today?” Um, yes. I had a very rare argument with a co-worker. I NEVER argue with ANYBODY, but I was tired of her bullying ways and actually stood up to her. It probably won’t end well, but I feel good for channeling my inner 12(?) year old Robyn…that post a few months back is still one of my favorites.
    I hope you are doing well, thank you for an insightful post. I’m off to brush up my resume’ 😉 xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holy spamoly, lady. You really do know how to make someone’s day, even when you’re having a crappy one!
      Ugh, I do know what you mean about hating confrontation, but we all get, getting pushed to ‘the line’. So, you put it out there and did what ya had to. Good on you – sometimes womanly work is a good push back! I hope you’re feeling better. Big xo, back!


  4. So do I like this post? Do I agree with my kindred sister here? Don’t you know the answer to that? Of course I do! Seriously, though, I agree wholeheartedly. I also think that stall tactic is to allow them time to think of a good answer. It kind of reminds me of the “Questions Only” portion of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” TV show. 😉 {And by the way, “knowledgy” is a cute word… I vote to keep it!} 😀

    Liked by 1 person

What's on your mind, let's talk about it...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s