I can sometimes be kind of picky when it comes to the English language. Don’t get me wrong – I have my set of quirks, such as ending sentences in a preposition, as in ‘Where are you at?’ I am not referring to those kinds of practices, although I am sure many cringe whenever I let my Midwesternness come out with those kinds of verbal tics.
What annoys me are clichéd or misused phrases. Especially when used by people trying to appear smart when they really aren’t. Yeah I know, that targets me as grandiose or better-than, but at least I try to be what I am. I would just ask the same in kind – if you don’t know what a word means, please do not act like you do, okay Sarah ‘Refudiate’ Palin?
Anyway. Here is the first phrase that makes me go cold whenever anyone says it –
“The fact of the matter is…”
First off, the phrase is “The fact is…” to add in ‘of the matter’ is some lingual infusion in an attempt to relevantize the issue being spoken of. What it really is is redundancy. Further, I highly doubt the person using that phrase has any idea what ‘the matter’ is anyway. But beyond the awkwardness of the phrase is the assumed hubris of the person using it, because what usually follows is their opinion. Not fact, let alone fact of the matter. Opinion. Think about this – how many times have you heard someone say ‘Well ya know, the fact of the matter is, monkey can indeed fly out of my ass.’
Okay, probably never. Work with me here.
Politicians use ‘The fact of the matter is’ often as a precursor of their stance on a given issue. They are about to launch into how the feel or think of a situation. Those aren’t facts! Ah, but a politician’s job is to convince people that what they say are indeed facts, whether they are or whether they are pulling shit out of their ass. Chances are good it’s the latter. So in summary, ‘The fact of the matter is’ can be translated into ‘I am about to give you my opinion framed with a fancy pretense so you’ll hopefully duped into thinking that I truly am stating some irrevocable truth of the universe. Vote for me.’
Well you know what? The fact of the matter is, you’re ignorant.
“At the end of the day…’
Arrgh. This hits 10 on the cringe factor. Some use it as an attempt at finality, as an attempt to get people out of the weeds of a discussion and to fast-forward to the endpoint. As in ‘At the end of the day, we are all in this together.’ Gee thanks so much for your insight, Gandhi. Can we now go back to giving each other verbal wedgies? Cuz that was kinda fun.
But really, it is just an attempt at predicting where things will go. In other words, giving your opinion couched in a fancy-sounding precursor. Save us the tea-leaf reading and come get dirty with the rest of us.
Here’s what I do at the end of the day. I go to bed.
How many times have you heard someone start an answer with this word, then launch into a five-minute dissertation that can be called any of a number of things such as complex, circuitous, grandiose, mind-numbing, or making you want to jab pencils into both eyes? Their answer is anything but basic. Therefore it cannot be categorized as basically. So stop it.
Because basically, the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day I want to filet these people like a legal-sized snook and use their skin as protective clothing and their bones as drumsticks.
But maybe that’s just me.