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?
So, 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.