During the enlightenment, there were big pursuits, like, enlightenment. During the 1960’s in America, the good pursued equality. Today, we good people, still want equality, but what we seem most interested in, is the pursuit of interesting. It’s a ubiquitous word in corporate culture, or maybe more specifically, tech corporate culture, in that you’re always looking at who’s doing something interesting, or what’s the next interesting idea or iteration. To be frank, to me the word interesting has become completely meaningless as just a filler word. Isn’t that interesting?
Look*, we’re all just trying to seem smart here right. Many of us are actually, in fact, quite smart, but identifying something in a work environment as interesting has gotten to the point where any and all power in the word has been rendered obsolete. What it used to mean when you said something was interesting, was that you liked it and you were giving that thing an affirmation. Now, when you say that some component of a product, service, or idea is “interesting”, you’re basically not giving it an affirmation as much as you’re giving everything else associated with that product, service, or idea a negative endorsement. Essentially** saying, “well, everything else you just said was utter shit, but there’s that one piece that isn’t UTTER shit.”
I do it as much, if not more than the next person. I say things are interesting, or find myself listening to an idea on a conference call and saying, “that’s the part that’s most interesting to us…” translation: “none of what you just said has any value to us, except, perhaps, just that one little morsel.”
More than the next person, I have the unfortunate personality trait that forces me to adopt phrases I find despicable and use initially in a mocking sense. Eventually (and not generally too far into the future), I’m using them without irony. Which, really, is quite interesting. Isn’t it?
* Starting a sentence with Look is the ultimate power play. Look no longer means, direct your eyes towards that, it means something much more deeply in a societal and hierarchical sense. An underling cannot start a sentence to his boss with, “Look…”
But when someone does start that sentence with Look, it is saying this, “Look, I’m about to explain something that you will obviously not understand or are not powerful enough to be privy to, so I’ll boil it down to something I believe you can comprehend while maintaining your proper station in life. If for some reason you don’t understand afterwards, that’s going to be your fault, because I’ve obviously explained it in a simplified enough way for someone of your limited faculties to understand – and I’m not repeating, clarifying, or expounding on any of it.” I believe whole-heartedly, that if John Kerry in 2004, had started every debate statement or answer with, “Look…” – he would have been our President right now. Obama has started prefacing statements in his press conferences with Look, and it’s working…. I get him now. Except for that funny Nigerian accent.
I have started regularly starting all sentences to my two-year old, with “Look…” – not because she’s a two-year old and it’s difficult for her to grasp more complicated concepts, but because I want her to speak to everyone this way. Wouldn’t it be great if, when in 2nd grade and Ms. Appleblossom is asking her to name the state capitals, she starts the answer with, “Look, Olympia is the capital of Washington.” Everyone will think she is the most powerful woman in the world! At 2!
** Essentially is also a completely overused word. Essentially it too has become a filler. I’m only pissed at it though, because I always forget to use it and opt for the more colloquial (and frankly more low brow), basically. Essentially, I wish I could remember to use it more and I get jealous when others remember to, basically.
*** Insert photo of cute kid = cheap way to make more people read my blog.