Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Being Realistic, Then and Now

'Was a time it was nearly impossible to lose your phone because people didn't try to wear or otherwise harness their phones.  (That was back when telephones were asked to act like furniture and not like our personal lifestyle squires.) 

Similarly there was a time when people were too deluded or polite or empirical (sic) to make explicit the presumption that their role in a conversation was to distinguish between what's real and what's false. Not anymore.

Nowadays there is a saying or tic that's nearly as popular conversationally as coughing and otherwise punctuating speech: people introducing their opinions by saying "The Reality Is.."

'The reality is'?!?

Nowadays people are casual about their communications cutting straight to the sacred point that separates falsehood and facticity.
I'm as big a fan of horse racing as anybody is, Mort, but the reality is that we don't make enough receipts at the stable to fund the community center. 

People say I'm a jack of all trades, Hans, but the reality is I just turn out to be brilliant at everything I try. 
 I "credit" Rudy Giuliani with being my first sighting/hearing of "The reality is...," but like all great syntactic-semantic outbreaks the phrase is bigger than any of its originators.  Indeed, the phrase defines its speaker moreso than distinguishing whatever phrase it sets up.  (Too true: when you evoke reality for the sake of emphasis you emphasize some wayward reality principle over your personal take-home point.)

What's worst is that the prevalence of "reality talk" in personal and popular media affirms the stodgy marxian assumption that the victory of one kind of postmodern constructivism brings with it fuck-all worth celebrating in the culture (living wages would help.)  So, the felling of earlier notions of objectivity and T-ruth has resulted only in the littering of human conversations with fantasy league exercises in enunciating what's "real"?  Everyday linguistic positioning is now playfully imbued with a dead modernity's certitude?  I'll stop short of getting into how ironic that is or isn't but I'll probably end up dry-heaving tonight anyway. 


Solidcitizen said...

You taught me that my verbal tic "If you think about it..." Was annoying as fuck. I thank you, because as I now hear other do it, I realize that, yes, it is as annoying as fuck.

ash said...


This is a favorite phrase of my current boss and hearing it signals to me, "I'm about to exercise my power over you, but I'm going to pretend I'm not by framing what I say as 'just' the 'truth' rather than a viewpoint that I will impose on you because--THE REALITY IS --I can."

Celeste said...