I am sick and tired of people starting sentences with things like I hate to say it, but… or I’m not a racist, but… or You know I love women, but…
If you hate to say it, don’t say it. I suspect what you’re really saying when you say things like, “I hate to say I told you so, but” Is “I love to say I told you so” In fact it makes me think you love to say it this much.
If you start your sentence with “I’m not a racist, but” it just makes me 100% positive that the next thing to come out of your mouth will be the most racist thing I have ever heard and will make me think that this guy is your new best friend.
When you say, “You know I love women, but” my hands will involuntarily ball up into fists, because I know that the only thing that can follow that lead in is something that will make me want to punch you in your sexist face. I know that what you are about to say will be the verbal equivalent of this image.
I guess the point I’m trying to make with all of this is, you are not fooling anyone by cloaking your smugness, racism or sexism in a denial followed by the word BUT.
6 thoughts on “But Off”
No kidding! The word “and” keeps the sincerity of the first part of the sentence alive. Love the title and the post.
In defence of ‘I hate to say it…’ Quite often, it means ‘I really regret that it needs to be said’ or ‘… that such-and-such is the case’.
Here’s a really good discussion of “Yes, but…” tactics by Greta Christina.
The yes but post on Greta Christina’s blog was great. Thanks for the link.
You’re welcome. I got to know that post all too well over several rather anger-filled days in the comments. Ho-hum.
I totally agree with you, but… This is a useful method of soft-selling or misdirection that can get you out of a sticky situation while allowing somebody to save face.
You look great in that outfit, but… that other one really brings out your eyes.
No sir, nobody thinks your handling of this situation is incompetent. But… your time is too valuable to be wasted on such a minor project, we can handle it from here.
Sometimes you need to blunt the truth to function in polite society… But there’s no excuse for Mel, that guy’s just a douche.
So true! It’s like the ‘politically correct’ way to say, ‘I take no responsibility for how what I’m about to say comes off. If it’s racist, well, I already told you I’m not so, it’s not racist and you shouldn’t think it is… And the last image- eek intense- so many sexist comments come out just like that.