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Desperate Working Mommas
Your one-stop site for fanatical television snarking, questionable political analysis, occasional attempts to address the parenting issues facing working mothers, and halfhearted promises to stop obsessing about the entertainment industry, already! Oh, not to mention the random bitching and moaning. There's always that.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Lost in Translation. Again.

I was reading an entertainment forum on the internet the other day when I came across an argument going on between several commenters stemming from a (written) conversation which looked something like this:

1st commenter: I guess I'm part of the 1% that doesn't agree.
2nd commenter: Yeah, there's always someone tasteless...j/k.

The 1st commenter took offense to this "tasteless" remark (witness me exhibiting admirable restraint by not pointing out the witty pun at work here-- aw damn it) which started a flurry of responses from others helpfully explaining to the silly, silly 1st commenter that duh, j/k means just kidding!

The thing is... have you ever noticed that when a person uses the phrase "Just kidding!" after saying something which could conceivably be termed rude or improper, much of the time said person is totally not? Kidding, that is? Not at all?

For instance, when someone does something stupid and is all, "Man! That was stupid!" and I say, "Hell yeah it was stupid!... just kidding," or "That's okay. You can't help that you're an idiot... just kidding!" I'm really not kidding. Because, for reals, it was a totally stupid thing to do.

Or say for example that same someone is trying to explain to me why I need to be more careful about how I load the spoons into the dishwasher in order to achieve maximum cleanliness and shine and I blurt out, "GAH! I don't care!... Oh, just kidding, continue..." I am totally not kidding. Because honestly.

Or when I see someone standing in my kitchen eating Ben and Jerry's Everything But The... straight from the carton and say to that someone, "Man, wish I could eat an entire carton of ice cream with no thought whatsoever of anyone else who may want some... just kidding!" well, I'm not really kidding. Because I really wish I could. And this wish obviously will never come to fruition because that someone standing in the kitchen is totally eating all the frickin' ice cream.

I call it the classic "just kidding!" retreat. It's the perfect strategy to say exactly what you mean-- good manners be damned!-- without any negative fallout. Because, dude, you were "just kidding." Right? Being all ironical and stuff! Come on! Loosen up!

But come on. A gratuitous "just kidding" (or the written equivalent: the *shrug* or smiley face) won't always take the edge off of "You are a big stupid-head with no taste because you have a different opinion than me." Nope. The way I see it, when a comment (especially in writing) is derogatory or satirical in nature, you can usually assume that a person has a very good chance of taking those words at face value, no matter how many smiley faces follow. And this can lead to "Shut up, you big meanie!" and quite possibly fisticuffs which is why you should never, EVER give out your address over the internet. Because, you see, verbal irony is very often lost in translation. That is why, in my humble opinion, unless you are prepared to stand your ground in the aftermath of remarks of extraordinary rudeness, it is best to just say what you mean (or if it is insulting... not).

Well, unless you are a big rude dummyhead and think that nobody is smart enough to realize that you are employing the classic "just kidding!" retreat, which HA! I am totally on to you, sucker! In which case, I wish I could be as clueless as you.

Just kidding.

link | posted by Cat at 11:10 AM

Anonymous kristine commented:

*trying to remember every conversation we have had*


I'm lazy.

» 7/10/2006 6:39 PM 
Blogger WILLIAM commented:

A comedian namde Dom Irarea (sp?) used to do a bit about "And I dont mean that in a bad way"

"Dude you look like you put on weight. I don't mean that in a bad way."

» 7/11/2006 5:26 AM 
Blogger Vajana commented:

"don't take this the wrong way" is a good one too.

And I've decided to completely utilize this arguement next time a certain 'friend' of mine uses that. Because she Always. Frickin. Does.

Yeah I was over at the new digs waiting around so i had to come back here! :)

» 7/11/2006 6:01 AM 
Blogger Circus Kelli commented:

Gah! Punkin does that all the time "I don't mean to be mean, but..."

» 7/11/2006 7:06 AM 
Anonymous OddMix commented:

This seems very similar to the "No offence, but..." gambit. When I hear that I always prepare myself to be offended.

» 7/11/2006 8:51 AM 

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