What People Really Mean When They Say What They Say In Debate Or Otherwise

16 Jun

The other day, someone took exception to my saying “most Kenyans” believed going forward with Mr. Tobiko’s nomination is not a good thing, given the allegations that have come up after his vetting. The individual thought the characterization of how much support an issue or person has is not appropriate without a scientific poll to back it up.

My response was, I personally don’t use such characterization unless I actually believe that to be the case, and suggested people often so conclude from what family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, etc seem to think or say about the issue–which is some form of a poll in by itself.

This, however, had me thinking about what people really mean when the say any number of common expressions we are all too familiar, so here is my take on some of them:

“With all due respect,” means “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings or bruise your ego but I must do so because what you have just said is bone-headed and stupid.”

“the truth is” means “neither you nor I have a clue what the truth is, but since I am generally more informed than you, and you are such a moron, then the truth is…”

“believe me” means “if you are so gullible as to believe anything I say, then be my guest!”

“believe me” when said by someone you hold high in regard means “I know you don’t believe me about this and you darn well should not but do so just this one time”

“believe me” when said by someone you know is a pathological liar means “I know you know I am a liar and can’t help it but on this, I am actually telling the truth”

“believe me” when said by someone you don’t care about one way or another means nothing.

“trust me” means “if you are so gullible as not to verify what I have just told you, then don’t blame me for any consequences that follow your blindly trusting me”

“trust me” when said by someone you otherwise trust, means “don’t trust me on this one”

“trust but verify” means the same thing as you can’t trust anyone.

“I have always thought…” means “I have never thought about this until you just told me…”

“I knew that” means “I had no clue”

“I knew that” when said by someone who actually knew means “I am smarter and know more than you think”

“I am smarter than you think” means “I am only smarter than you think when it comes to things you tell me, otherwise I am a dunce”

“I am not stupid” means “I am usually stupid except this time”

“I know what I am talking about” means just that; it does not mean what the person is talking about it true.

“believe me I know what I am taking about” means (refer to “believe me” and “I know what I am talking about” above)

“what I am trying to say is..” means “I am rethinking based on what you just said and I am correcting my thinking”

“who do you think you are” means “I am so inferior to you and vulnerable it’s hurting me more for you to remind me this”

“do you know who I am” when said by someone important means “I am so important it’s a punishable offense for you not to know me”

“do you know who I am” when said by someone not important means “having made a fool of myself, I don’t know how to exit with any respect other than to claim fame”

“you wait and see” when said by someone who knows what is talking about and is right means “I have exhausted every possible way to persuade you to see things from my perspective but, since you are so hard headed and don’t want to hear the truth, then let the events prove me right and you’ll regret when that happens.”

“you wait and see” when said by someone who knows what is talking about and is wrong and knows is wrong means “I have exhausted every possible way to try and fool you but you are not budging so I give up; please pray for me.”

“as I said” means “you obviously are not listening to me so let me repeat myself”

“critics say” or “analysts say” when said by a journalist/reporter means “in my opinion” or “in the opinion of our biased news organization”

“you are [any insults of choice]” means “I have lost the argument on this issue or point and cannot engage you anymore in an intellectual debate because you are so right and everything you are saying is true but, rather than giving you the pleasure of admitting this, I rather insult you that way I feel better after having lost so miserably on this argument/point.”

“RAO will never be elected president” means “RAO is going to be elected president and there is nothing I can do to stop him other than bad-mouthing him.”

To be continued…

Copyright Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq. June 2011
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Politics


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