After reading all 60 responses to James Koman’s “Why I Hate White People” column from a while back (why are people still talking about it?), it occurred to me that I might be in danger of the very same scrutiny if I proceed to print my column as planned. This week, I do feel an acute loathing for something, and I would hate to be admonished for expressing my opinion.

At least that’s what I thought before realizing the following:

A) I would be lucky to have 60 readers at all, let alone 60 people who felt strongly enough to respond in writing (which is a big deal since we’re a polytechnic school).

B) Most of my readers probably don’t look past my column into the abyss of Op/Ed (my “readers” being my parents, who read it online anyway).

C) I’m not idiotic enough to insult a particular majority prevalent at Cal Poly (rather, I insult indiscriminately).

So, Cal Poly, I courageously bring you the very first “loathe it” of the year: trendy catchphrases. I know it may be a bit anticlimactic after all of that “free speech” hullabaloo, but if I hear someone utter the words “I know, right?” one more time, I might “accidentally” forget where the trash can is when I decide I’m done with my hot drink.

There are hundreds of equally irritating idioms I could pick on, so why this particular expression? I’ll tell you why. It’s because it is a non sequitur parading as a coherent response to a statement. This is a serious problem. It would be tolerable if the guilty parties were satisfied keeping these contagious colloquialisms to themselves. But no, they must convert everyone within an earshot to their annoyingly catchy lingo.

You know how it goes. You hear something, maybe from a movie, or maybe from a roommate bent on your suffering, and upon hearing it, you know that it’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard since Alicia Silverstone articulated “Whatever!” in 1995 (which we still can’t seem to hear the end of). But somehow, in a moment of weakness, your tongue betrays you and you hear the words rebelliously leave your lips: “I know, right?” Oh, the horror!

Here is how it is often used in ordinary conversation:

Person A: Allison Baker is the best columnist in the Mustang Daily. (It’s my example, is it not?)

Person B: I know, right? (Now it might help if you visualize Person B chomping a piece of gum between words while simultaneously staring at his/her watch.)

Person A: I’m pleased that we agree on that issue, but I wish you wouldn’t concur with me in the form of a question. It’s confusing. Also, your absent response doesn’t allow the conversation to move forward and makes you a selfish communicator.

Person B: I know, right?

Person A: (defeated sigh)

Though not entirely realistic (substitute “Mustang Daily” with “the whole world”), I hope this sample dialogue illustrates the importance of being aware of what messages we send people through our spoken and written words.

I use a petty (but still vexing) example, but I think we could all use a little reminder that the things we say resonate with the people around us (and fortunately for most of you, your mental meanderings won’t be immortalized by a weekly column). Whether it’s a dumb expression or a facetious statement directed toward a specific group of people, what we say tells others a lot about who we are and what we believe (in both cases, it makes you look like a moron).

Maybe you don’t agree with me. Maybe you think I’m an ignorant jerk who is singling out a group of people to hate on (you know who you are), and maybe I am. But it’s my freaking column, isn’t it? (For now, anyway.) Make my day and send me some hate mail; it would be an absolute honor to elicit any sort of response, albeit negative (I’m not picky).

Perhaps I ought to step down from my ill-made soapbox, and follow my own advice. After all, if you can’t make fun of yourself, what business do others have taking you seriously?

(“I know, right?”)

Allison Baker is an English senior, Mustang Daily columnist and pop-culture enthusiast.

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