I guess this guy is #justsayin' too?
I’ll never forget where I was the first time I heard the words. I remember standing in my kitchen pouring myself a drink when my husband called out to me from the lounge room. “Someone is angry at someone else on this thread” he began, in reference to Facebook. “They’ve gone on this weird rant and they’ve tried to justify it by saying ... ‘Just Sayin.’”
“Just sayin’?” I repeated in jest. “What’s next? ‘Don’t go there girlfriend’?” Then we threw back our heads and chuckled together, the laugh of naive conceit; of people who don’t yet know they’re damned.
Looking over Twitter a week later I saw it again –this time with a hashtag in front of it, like this #justsayin’. A sure sign it had cemented itself as some sort of catchphrase in social media.
A couple of weeks later, people in the office started using it in emails. Not personal emails. Professional emails. People who reported on hard news were now delivering stern remarks and signing off with the written equivalent of a "smiley face with wink" emoticon.
It was confounding to me. I thought the phrase reached its use-by date the last time a corpulent woman on Ricki Lake advised another, perhaps trashier woman to “kick him to the curb”. Desperate for clarity, I searched Urban Dictionary. They listed the date of the phrase’s origin at 2010. My eyes widened in stark disbelief. So it’s only two years old? Why is it – permit me please – trending now? I thought humanity was better than this.
Some of you might be thinking “what’s your problem? It’s just a phrase” and you’re probably the types who trot out gems such as “how you doin’” and “build a bridge and get over it” with the same rank authority Rick Santorum uses to invoke scripture. The types who begin a written retort with the cheesy and infantile “Sigh”.
Still, the question is valid. What is my problem? See, if you haven’t already guessed from this piece, I’m a fairly petty person. All right - a petty person. I’m not a pedant – I make too many grammatical errors for that. Besides, the word always reminded me of “paedophile”.
I have frightened friends, relatives and co-workers with my animalistic rage over issues small and tiny. I once ranted, one knee on my ergonomic chair, finger pointed northward, over the torrid state of my soy latte from the office cafeteria. I’ve actioned a self-imposed ban from my local service station because the man behind the counter made a vaguely sexist remark about my dress one time. And let me tell you, it sucks walking another two blocks to get milk at 8pm. But I will not be moved! As to phrases, one of my most over-used is “They’re dead to me” and I invoke it every time someone I’ve never met slights a close friend. One might argue they were never fully alive to me in the first place. True, all true.
So I’m petty, but the point I want to make is that I own it. #Justsayin is like that phrase “with the greatest respect”. It’s a cowardly sentence everyone knows means the opposite of what you just said. If you want to say something – say it! Stand by your sanctimony! Your bitchiness! Don’t tip toe – dive into the darker side of your being.
Now, the aim of any passive aggressive remark is to position yourself as an ignorant, blameless spectator –hence, the passive. That’s why “I’m sorry?” is perhaps the greatest passive-aggressive statement ever uttered. If you’re “sorry?” you’re not judging but merely questioning proceedings.
But if you use “Just Sayin” you not only sound like a blog-trolling adolescent, you make it obvious that you’re anticipating offence. And why would you anticipate offence unless you know you are being offensive?
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not encouraging anyone to jettison their passive aggression. I’m sinfully passive-aggressive myself. I’m a delight, aren’t I? Confrontation is overrated and rarely achieves a positive outcome. And naked aggression can get you knifed. I prefer the tool of mothers everywhere. I try to be direct when I can, but I happen to think that old El Paso is part of what makes us human. But there is a skill to it; you’ve got to let your words fall lightly -- not shove them directly down someone’s oesophagus in the form of an infantile, hackneyed disclaimer.
So let’s allow the sands of time to bury Just sayin', deep beneath “nomnomnom” and other execrable, meaningless phrases that reduce our vocabulary to that of Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. And let us rise, we the damned, the petty, the ones who stand for justice at the miniature level and try ... to think of something else we can rage about.