April 19, 2007

At some point you'll be so sick of these that you'll start looking forward to the next post about Clique

Sometimes the use of "Let me explain" after the first paragraph of an article is worse than others.

Let me explain.

When Krugman and Wright recently used the annoying phrase, they at least had the excuse that it came after the statement of a far-fetched "theory" that actually did require explanation. My only argument was that they should have simply explained, without asking for permission (or, better yet, used a more straightforward lede). Zakaria used it after his "surprising" defense of Bush's environmental policy to assure readers right away that he hadn't lost his mind.

And then there's Eric Alterman in the NYT book review.

For a politician, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, turns out to be a terrific writer. But for Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, the opposite is true.

Allow me to explain.

Wait, wait! Let me see if I can guess: Rangel is a terrific writer for a politician. Schumer is a bad writer, but a terrific politician.

Yep, that's pretty much what the review says. As Vance points out, this is perhaps the first use of the "explain" hiccup regarding "a basic, common-sense, thoroughly comprehensible statement." I'm going home early.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


You need to start doing a mental find/replace with that phrase.

All of these articles are much better reads if you take out "Let me explain" and insert "Calm down and shut the fuck up."

Or "Christ, what an asshole."

I like "Ohhhh shit, did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?"

I tried to make a similar comment on my (gone and unlamented) blog--that the whenever anyone uses the phrase "it's not about x; it's about y," it is most certainly at least partially about x, and the author is trying to frame the debate and control the terms. I got such guff you'd think I'd posted a recipe for yummy, yummy Harp seal marinated in the blood of Jewish babies, or something.

>>Or "Christ, what an asshole."

Oh, Zing. But I'm thinking it's okay to have only one joke if it's a good joke.

(I'll let you know when I find a good joke.)

How about "Pull up a chair"?

Not sure that anything would make me look forward to a post about Clique.

Dude. The reason I read your blog is because you write about Clique.

Let me explain.

The reason I read your blog is because you write about Clique.

Well, if Micheal Lewis wrote that, it would be worth $48.

Dude. The reason I read your blog is because you write about Clique.

Glad to see this coming from someone with an Oberlin blog. It's good to know my alma mater is maintaing its high intellectual standards.

Unfortunately, it is. That's why I never update...

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