Twelve Things We Need to Stop Saying (that we say all the time)…

and What We Should Say Instead”

(Pretty long post, maybe you should bookmark this? *conceited*)

Though no one may even see this, I believe that this is pretty important to get off my chest before I let go of it just because I don’t think anyone will ever see this. (Sword Art Online review, Links page, K Project review… Eh, wait just a little longer)

We tend to say a lot of shitty things, and these words don’t always come from times when we are acting like shitty people, or, in the case of some, acting like our shitty selves. For you latter folks, I presume my words of wisdom will go in one ear and and out your ass.

These are phrases that I endeavor not to speak, for various reasons on which I will elucidate, especially to 1) children and 2) people I don’t know. These are phrases that I hear all over the internet, home, school, eating at nice restaurants, chilling with friends, or dancing at clubs. Yes, they are that common.

Some of you assholes will imagine me too sensitive or ultra PC (dingdingding), and I will imagine that I probably won’t be able to have a decent conversation with you anyway. But most of you guys are decent, and will think. You may not agree but I’m sure once you read my reasoning, you’ll understand and think before you speak next time. Here’s a list I think you should think about

  1. Such-and-such is overrated
  2. We take such-and-such for granted
  3. You’re too young to understand.
  4. Too sensitive/PC
  5. Today’s -fill in the blank- sucks
  6. Kids can’t be kids
  7. What is the world coming to?
  8. That’s life/Life’s not fair
  9. Ignore them, they’ll stop/If you don’t act like you mind, they’ll stop
  10. He just likes you/They’re just jealous of you
  11. Just saying
  12. It’s my opinion

1) Such-and-such is overrated.

I’m proud to say that I’ve probably said this four or five times my entire life. I’m also happy to say that this phrase is losing its juice because of its overuse by the hated hipster, and some people will do anything not to be seen as a hipster.

Still, before the word hipster really became a thing, while I was grade school, I still thought saying something was overrated was pretty dumb. I first realized what it meant when someone used it wrong. A teacher in middle school said Harry Potter was overrated.

“I can’t understand why it’s so popular, just a bunch of kids doing witchcraft. Good versus evil is in any book.”

At that age, I was sensitive to church talk, especially church talk about Harry Potter, since I was ostracized at my church for reading Harry Potter. I was also a very lonely kid (but by no means a loner) who spent most of her time reading. When I came across overrated, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. How would you rate something overly?

When that teacher said it in this instance, I realized a few things: Overrated is mostly used with popular things, generally things that people take time to rate; over was like in overdone; and she was using it wrong (though I’ve hardly heard/read it used correctly).

What made me know it was wrong was her second and third phrases, which tends to ruin any statement on anything overrated. First, she gives a specific reason on why Harry Potter is overrated that was complete bias. Though a bias could be a good reason that something is overrated, I’ve never seen when (and I’m open to suggestions). Bias on a overrated statement makes it bitchy, the whining of someone who cannot share the happiness because they don’t enjoy the content. For example, I will never say the movie or book The Notebook is overrated, no matter how someone had raved over it while I skipped the commercials. I don’t like a lot of drama, and I thought the movie was boring, but I could understand why someone would enjoy it. 

And, usually, we all could understand why someone would enjoy anything.

Second, she minimalizes the elements of Harry Potter, which a lot of people do to things they say are overrated. To minimalize is to simplify something to make your statement sound smart/cool/witty because you can’t think of a good bias or a good reason to say something you don’t like is overrated.

Another example would be Twilight in all its forms. If you seen the cool side of the debate between those who are debating, you’ve probably seen “Vampires who glitter? Ugh!” Of course, if you’ve read or seen Twilight, the focusing on glittering is nigh nonexistent.

Oddly enough, real reasons on not to like Twilight come from people who’ve actually read it and were okay with it (Bella is grey goo, Edward’s vampire=monster worry is a very tired cliche, it reads like bad fanfiction sometimes). Still, if someone says these things and calls Twilight overrated, I tend to watch out for bleats.

Also, crazy thought for everyone, Twilight isn’t highly rated as anything but to-know pop culture. Other than preteens who can text faster than they can spell, have you really heard anyone talking about Twilight in a manner that will distill awe like, say, Harry Potter? What I’m saying is, most people know Twilight is mostly drama fodder, sap, and they are okay with it.

What to say instead: Just state your case on why you thought such-and-such is crap, because few things are overrated, or, if it is indeed overrated, please put forward reasoning not steeped completely in a narrow-minded bias.

2) We take such-and-such for granted

You might be thinking, we do take things for granted! Yea, some things we sometimes do take for granted. However, we’ve gone a little crazy about this phrase. Here are some things that make it stupid to say: 1) We’re not really taking it for granted, 2) If we take such-and-such for granted, we take everything granted and the phrase loses potency and becomes useless 3) When it’s used as drama fodder 4) We use it in any situations except for when it really applies (in acts of actually taking things for granted)

For number one, we do this a lot for body parts, and it is usually used in conjunction with number three. Soften us up for people who lose their legs or born without eyes, especially on the news, which perpetuates this craziness.

Let’s put something on display for number one. I was watching some reality show, and the contestants had to fashion wigs for cancer patients who were bald because of chemotherapy. In the one-on-ones, a couple of contestants talked about how people usually take their hair for granted.

Now, I take my hair for granted. I don’t take care of it, but I’m not too worried about it going away. But a majority of people? Do we as a human species, as women, as Americans, as young people, as shut-ins etc. take our hair for granted? Most likely, you shampoo your hair regularly and brush and comb everyday. You worry when it starts falling out or you get a grey hair. You’re probably afraid of permanent damage to your hair and do plenty for its upkeep. Most people don’t take their hair for granted, or any body part. Do you know how many people are afraid of doing cartwheels- yes, cartwheels- for fear of breaking a bone? If you’re one of those people, I doubt you take any part of your body or granted.

Display for number 2- I was watching this bit on Beijing’s terrible pollution (and if you don’t know about it, don’t look it up, it’s pretty depressing) and the newscaster and people she talked to and the Chinese people were talking about how we humans take fresh air for granted. By definition that I delineated before, sure, we take air for granted. But if we take air for granted, we take everything for granted- red blood cells (think about sickle cell carriers!), white blood cells (AIDS!), non-itchy vaginas (women with overactive fighters in her tract), short penises (people are afraid of humongous dicks!)- and so on and so forth. Stop using ‘for granted’ for stupid shit like that.

Try any example above on drama fodder. People say ‘for granted’ to induce feeling that neither the speakers nor the feelers really care about.

Display for number 4- In most of the examples above, I don’t believe using the phrase ‘taking for granted’ is used correctly.The people with the problems wouldn’t care if people weren’t thanking their gods and goodness every second for their eyes and white blood cells. However, people with damaged eyes or AIDS would care or become annoyed if someone was putting in eye-damaging contacts or slathering on eye-crushing make-up, or drugging themselves into sickness or reusing needles.

In those instances, it pretty obvious and important to point out that those people are taking their bodies for granted.

For the Beijing people suffocating at their jobs, probably seeing on TV people being able to breathe even in the densest part of their cities is enough for ire.

What to say instead: Explain why something is important without the guilt trip or pity party.

3) You’re too young to understand

I’ve said this to younger people, cousins and brothers and sisters. I’ve come to realize that this is a shitty excuse for just about anyone who can understand the words for just about any situation.

First of all, remember the times this phrased was used. How many times did the speaker (or you) just feel too wigged out to explain? Something you didn’t understand fully yourself?

This is a dismissive phrase. It’s arrogant. If you turn this around, you would be saying, “The only reason I understand this is because I’m this age.” If you truly think that is correct in that instance, good for you! Most likely, though, the real reason you understand something is because you’ve experienced it. And you say ‘you’re too young’ so that cousin Billy doesn’t experience what you have already experienced.

The biggest example is when we try to explain relationships or sex to younger people. They ask, “Why do adults kiss like that?”

I would be rich for every time the adult answers, “You’re too young to understand,” with their condescending laughs and maybe a good pat on the head.

You might be thinking, well, they wouldn’t understand!

You really think that your five-year-old wouldn’t understand “It feels good”? We could even give more descriptive examples along those same lines.

A kid shouldn’t be learning things like that!

And that above is why this phrase is terrible. We like to make kids feel weak and stupid, which is how I believe they can grow up to be independence-seeking, privacy-mongering, authority-rebelling little assholes, because we say stupid things like they are too young to understand things to dismiss them from experience things too quickly.

Another example: My parents talked to me in detail about masturbation when I asked them about it. My mom told me not to do it because of sins and all that (but my dad made it clear that everyone does it and not feel too bad about it- times when I realized my dad wasn’t always an asshole) . Thing is, my older-by-three years brother and year-younger sister asked the same question around the same year I did. Guess what Ma and Pa said?

I confronted Ma after younger sister asked. She thanked me for not spilling the beans, and I questioned her.

“Your sister wouldn’t understand, she’s… not like you.”

Ma was particular about not calling me smarter or better than the other five because that caused bad blood, but I knew what she meant in my own childlike way. I now realize that she trusted me not to masturbate whenever the mood struck me (and it wasn’t until ninth grade until I got the hang of it), I wouldn’t go too crazy about experiencing it myself. (A lot of good that did for my sister though)

What to say instead: From 3 to about 11, do some changing of subjects, or say that you don’t want to talk about it, or explain why they don’t need to know at the moment (where they should instead focus their thoughts). 12 to 1, st4op being a jackass and explain. 15 and up, what the hell are you doing?

4) You’re/The World is too sensitive, politically correct

This wouldn’t bug me so much if people wouldn’t say this in defense of, say, referring to women as bitches or homosexuals as fags or putting out racist shit, which is usually the case when people call others sensitive or too politically correct. Not much here int this section either.

Ugh....
Ugh….

I know very few people in my life who are ‘too sensitive’. I know them well, that they are too damn sensitive- it’s obvious after spending a day or two with them. But if a bunch of random people get together to protest something singular with one protest in mind, you might want to rethink your bitchpress about people being sensitive or PC.

Another thing is that when people say these things they are ultimately aware why the topic is controversial. Saying someone is sensitive or PC covers their asses so that they can feel better about their foolishness. Even better, it fools the speaker into thinking the other person is foolish.

Come on, give me an example where PC would be too PC. It’s hard isn’t it? If you’re a decent person, you know it would be hard to come up with an example while at the same time not coming off as an asshole.

What to say instead: Unfortunately, I can’t think of something nicer that one can say without sounding arrogant or idiotic. If you don’t find anything wrong with the shirt above, you’re probably less of a decent person than you think.

5) Today’s such-and-such sucks

Fortunately, again, much of this saying is falling in the way of the hipster; and it goes hand-in-hand with overrated sometimes.

Still, I see too much of it outside of the self-strokefest circles that are hipster gatherings. Two types of people should never say this phrase almost 99% of the time they want to say it: people over…hmmm… 35, and people under 21. The older people because you just come off as old-fashioned, which is probably the case. You want to go back to the days of mostly manual cars? Uh, sure, go ahead and have all your gears and all the power over your car so that you can feel superior as you go do your grocery shopping at Walmart. Tired of supernatural romances? Go back to your realistic…. fictional… romances.

Hate today’s pop music? (Come on, you were waiting for it) Think it has no substance? Go listen to Elvis Presley.

No, really.

Have you listened to Elvis? Maudlin love songs and dance jingles a lot of them. Plus, he sold his looks and sexuality, just like every other pop star today. I like Lady Gaga more than Elvis (and I love all of Elvis’ best hits, I think he was sexy during his sexy years, his voice is drool-inducing) but Gaga is clever and outrageous in a way Elvis wasn’t.

What I’m getting at is that today’s such-and-such probably hasn’t changed much, and people need to be fucking aware of their biases!

’90s kids that are so nostalgic about your childhood, shut the fuck up. Do you know how many cartoons and shows failed? Do you know how many ’80s shows are still playing on Boomerang? Why can’t you understand that it isn’t that today’s shows such, but that you overglorify or over-romanticize (would overrate be good here? I think I have a stigma against it…) your time, and ignore the glories of this generation? Did you know that Spongebob has lasted longer than Rugrats? like Spongebob more than Rugrats. Though Rugrats is cute, I probably wouldn’t watch it again, or Powerpuff girls, and a couple other shows ’90s freaks captured for themselves like lost Pokemon of old.

90s kids

Now, will I watch Adventure Time or Spongebob or Young Justice twenty years from now? Probably.

If you give me good reason to dislike such-and-such of today, instead of whining about your lost days of old, fantastic! Example, cartoons today are too adult. I’m not a fan of kids being left in the dark until they hit a wall, because they often make statistic teenagers, which so many people stereotype and hate anyway. Still,  I understand the sentiment.

What to say instead: Admit you don’t like something, just say it. Better yet, give good reasons. They are out there!

6) Kids can’t be kids

I think you’ve gotten the point of leaving your kids dumb, then complaining when they are dumb/have no common sense, become asshole teenagers.

I would feel better about this if it wasn’t 80% of the time talking about kids being homosexual or learning about evolution or some such thing. Of course, I could stop reading comments on controversial topics about education and parenting, but that’ll be just silly. 

Saying, “How would a boy know he likes boys at that age? He doesn’t know what he wants. Why can’t kids be kids?”

Now, will this person admit that he was ever bi-curious? Probably not. People who use this phrase don’t want their kids to explore, they want them shoved in a box until the adults are ready to mold them into perfect little puppets.

However, the other twenty percent goes to people talking about how we’re taking away extracurricular activities and liberal arts from the classrooms, though I feel that that has less to do with kids being kids than letting humans have an outlet on a rough life.

What to say instead: Be honest about your boxing until your puppet strings are properly wired

7) What is the world coming to?

Reasons why this phrase sucks: 1) The person saying this probably doesn’t have that bad of a world 2) People don’t know history or purposely puts it to the back of their minds 3) The phrase makes something truly horrible more about themselves.

I’ve never heard- in real life or television or even video games- where this phrase makes sense. For number one, I’ve heard so many older people say this and I’m just like, what are you talking about? When you go home, you’re going to watch the shows you have on DVR, eat a few snacks until dinner- which you might order out, have a soda with your dinner, and watch TV for the rest of the day. What part of your world is going in a direction you weren’t aware of?

For number two, my husband Steven Pinker would have more to say, and more articulately. In a nutshell, the world, and your life can be so, so, so much worse. Gays in the military and Boy Scouts will never touch the castration of male enemies. The crime (bad of course) in cities will never reach the genocidal wars of America’s early years. AIDS (though terrible surely) will never reach the disastrous child mortality rates of even the beginning of the last century. So think about your history and how you have descended from people who didn’t have running water, okay? Or how you can put frozen water in your slightly cold water while people die of thirst halfway across the world.

For three, this is just another jab at the paranoid freaks who think the world is just so much worse than something they don’t think about. They can’t really feel for the uprisings in Egypt or the school massacres, but they subconsciously know that they like to be a part of the society they’re in, and society in general cares about uprisings and school massacres- “What is the world coming to?”

About video games: I was playing Skyrim and passed a guard who talked about how vampires were attacking in the daylight and dragons were attack- “What is the world coming to?” he said.

Here I am, running through the village selling junk so that I can buy health potions so that when I fight vampires and dragons I don’t die. This guy had it much easier defending the village! Furthermore, from the beginning of the game, before I fought my first vampire or dragon, I was taking down those damn bears and whacking away mudcrabs and running from giants and bandit fortresses- Dude, your place is a shitastic place to live. Still, things are hard for guys like him. They just need to top complaining about it all the time.

What to say instead: Talk about how horrible the things are and leave it at that. Don’t make yourself look foolish with crap about a worse and worse world that doesn’t affect you.

8) That’s life/Life isn’t fair

Saying this to yourself (which you and nearly everyone else probably doesn’t) is cool, puts things into perspective. Saying this to someone else just makes you a fucking jerk.

Sorry, projecting.

Ma and Pa said this shit all the time- more on that later.

The first and second time this really burned was when I was eating more than I could handle at a restaurant at Johns Hopkins, first year. I was forcing myself to eat the rest and when one of my friends asked why I was forcing myself to eat, I said what I’ve always been told and what I’ve always felt was a good thing to have in the back of my mind when I was being greedy or wasteful or taking things for granted: “There are starving kids in Africa.”

I was under the impression that that was something innate. You did your best on things because others would die for that chance, and all that. What my friend said will forever just… haunt me.

“Well, that’s life. No need to force yourself to eat over it.”

That’s life? THAT’S LIFE? 

You hear ‘starving kids in Africa’ and you say, that’s life? It’s okay to waste food because you can’t feed the starving kids and the kids are starving because that’s life.

On a less serious, projecting note. Computer crashed and someone lost three essays they was working on- what makes anyone think that saying, “That’s life!” would do anything but irritate the person further?

Projection: Roundabout three years after restaurant. Talking about The Walking Dead with same friend, and how irritating that they kept turning away people, and I told friend that I felt that turning them away was the same as killing them. She didn’t think so and asked me an analogy: Is not feeding the kids in Africa the same as starving them. I immediately said yes, and I will not make any excuses for it, not for myself anyway.

She continues to voice her opinions and I explain my reasoning: that how we are not helping them- how we are ignoring them- is no better and identical to killing them. Because we could help them, but we let them suffer anyway. If I was in their position, I would want someone to help me, and it isn’t fair.

“Well, life isn’t fair.”

99.9999%, the person you’re speaking to knows that life isn’t fair AND has heard this almost as many times as you have- it’s pointless, dismissive, idiotic, rude, and unsympathetic- so if you’re trying to win all those awards, fire away. Otherwise, proceed to bottom of this part.

Projection: “Hey, [sister] got away with this when she did it. Why am I getting punished? That’s not fair!”

“Life’s not fair.”

Get ready for the asshole who’s going to hate your guts and you will have to bend over backwards to teach them anything.

Projection: “Hey, [brother] did it. Why do we all have to get punished? That’s not fair!”

“Life’s not fair.”

General fuckery ensues (talk about bad blood!).

This one really hits close to home on a lot of different levels, but I want these things to be universal.

What to say instead: Say something that will alleviate the situation. “That fucking sucks” or “Here’s some ice-cream” works a lot better than some lousy adage about life. 

9) Ignore them, they’ll stop/If you act like you don’t mind, they’ll stop

Dear sister recommended this and I decided to add it, because I loathed this as a child  and I’m sure my sister loathes it now.

It’s pretty simple, and you have to be a real ignorant jackass to not see the problem with this. Yet, lovely, decent people say this entirely too much- and they know it’s crap, and they are working on doing something for their child/the child or whoever is in trouble. This is a deflection; this is evasion.

Because if you ignore them/act like you don’t mind, shit gets worse. Sometimes, maybe, they’ll back off. Most likely these assholes have found somebody new. But if you stay the sole big kid, dark skinned, girl with hair on her neck, snores when she sleeps, writes in her diary, eats alone-  they have you pegged. Of course they’ll get bored, but why should this child or anyone else endure a week, a month, a semester of bullying? That’s life? I don’t think so, moron

It’s also victim-blaming. Somehow, the bullied is at fault for being bullied. This is sometimes the case- you should take your baths. Majorly, the bullies are asses who love to feel superior.

Saying this to a kid will be lying. Kid will get her hopes up, and will feel guilty because she isn’t trying hard enough. Then she realizes that it was a lie and knows that you won’t be someone who can help her. And if you can’t, who, or what, will?

What to say instead: Do something productive instead. Get on those officials about zero-tolerance for bullying that only comes in effect when someone commits suicide and it covers their asses. Do something!

10) He just likes you/They’re just jealous of you

Similar to number nine, except that most people don’t realize these phrases are absolute crap. Seeing as none of those guys, from elementary school up to high school, ever asked me out or wanted to hang out or talk to me- they didn’t like me. Seeing as none of those people share the same joys as me- they aren’t jealous of me.

I once babysat a third-grader who told her mom some boys were teasing her at school. The mom said, “Those boys probably just like you, honey!”

Imagine my disbelief, a decade out of third-grade, and realizing people still said this shit to their kids- not just my aunt to her kids or second cousin to her kids or long-lost half-sister to her kids- random people! These phrases were universal.

The child asked me and I told her to tell a teacher.

“The teacher said the same thing.”

WHAT THE FIDDLY FUCK?!

“I don’t think they like me, though.”

Of course, you’re not going to tell the darlin’ that, though they may not dislike her, they don’t very much like her either, or care about her feelings . But what fucking good does that do?

So I said I would talk to her mother. I flavored up the child’s distress to get the mom on it. Don’t know if she did, but I guilt-tripped her good, if her biting her lower lip was any indication.

What to say instead: Unless your child is has an obvious talent or beauty (that isn’t smarts- unless it’s another academically-oriented bully- no one is going to be jealous of your kid’s smarts, sorry), don’t feed them that trash that people are jealous of them. And that s/he just likes you probably only adheres to preschoolers, okay?

11) Just sayin’ (interchangeable with no offense)

This goes without sayin’. A lot of people say this, and a lot of people have rebutted against people just sayin’ this. If we were to equate the phrase to ‘just letting you know’, which is what I take it to mean most of the time, it’s still stupid to say.

“I don’t really like Mexicans. Just saying.”

This is a shut-up phrase, designed to make you look stupid for taking what they say/write seriously. It’s also pretty effective, but people are using it for the wrong reasons.

Are you going up against a truly sensitive person?

“Man, it’s 3 already?”

“What, you think you’ve spent too much time with me?!”

“Naw… I was just sayin’ it was 3 already.”

Still, this isn’t a totally innocent phrase, but it’s more acceptable than how many people use it. Above, the just sayin’ person is no doubt implying something when he makes his first statement, beyond letting the other guy know- there wouldn’t be ‘man’ or ‘already’ there if it was just a statement of time.

Most of the time, it’s with asshole comments about how ‘well, a lot of blondes are kind of dumb. Just sayin’,’ ‘He has a lot of sex, though. Just sayin’,’ ‘Black people take up the most room in jail, just sayin’.”

What to say instead: Leave out ‘just sayin” and take your verbal assbeating.

12)It’s my opinion

Kind of like eleven, but said more often, included with much viler ‘opinions’, and has a touch of arrogance that really provokes the ire in everyone.

Having your opinion and making it known does not miraculously shield you from your ‘haters’, nor does it make me or anyone shut up from shutting you up. Wuss out from under your opinion if you want to, it helps me realize your opinion isn’t worth anyone’s time, really. I’ll do better next, time, yea?

What to say instead: If you really want to shield attacks (though I doubt it, since you’re on the internet), say that you’re sorry to offend anyone, even if you aren’t. You’ll probably get ignored.

~~~~~~~~~

Have you finished this? Yay! Hope you learned something  today! Tell your friends! Tell your friends with kids! Tell the people you know with kids! Yea!

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