Quiet Desperation

Look, in a word, the deal is, arguably, pointless

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 7/27/18

Look, I want everyone to stop saying “look” like I just did, before making a statement. I hear it all the time now. It’s used this way, I’m guessing, to let your listeners know what you are …

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Quiet Desperation

Look, in a word, the deal is, arguably, pointless

Posted

Look, I want everyone to stop saying “look” like I just did, before making a statement.

I hear it all the time now. It’s used this way, I’m guessing, to let your listeners know what you are about to say is momentous.

If what you’re about to say is momentous, there is no need to preface it with an alert.

Trust your momentousness.

Words are my best friends, and I hate to see them gathered at the river and beaten with rocks until they have no coloring.

Case No. 1: “Fake news.”

Case No. 2: “Witch hunt.”

Case No. 3: “Let me ask you this.”

And of course, no one owns a “hot water heater.”

Newcomers to Colorado: you will begin to hear a word day and night, everywhere you go, like it or not. It is unavoidable: Don’t even try. It will come out of nowhere, and land on your mind.

It’s this: “Broncos.”

It refers to the local National Football League team. The players behave like 5-year-olds at a clown party if they simply do what they are paid to do: Run five yards with the ball without falling down.

But they are adored and revered, and papers and programs are full of them. If one of them buys a toothbrush, it’s a breaking story.

You’ll get used to it. You won’t have a choice.

I don’t give a Rick Upchurch about the Broncos, but they were here before I was, and that’s the way I have to look at it.

I lived near Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, and heard touch-and-go’s all the time that rattled and rolled the house. Someone reminded me, “They were here before you were.” I never got used to it, but I accepted it.

There are words I avoid that have nothing to do with their overuse.

I simply don’t care for them.

“Arguably” is one of them. It has no meaning. It’s the same as saying nothing.

“Arguably” means you haven’t made a commitment to what you are saying. It lets you off the hook.

I prefer to be on the hook. It comes from being a schoolteacher. I learned that hedging got me nowhere. It was always best (I thought) to be forthright and honest.

If I asked them to draw an apple, and one looked more like a quail, I might say, “You call that an apple?”

I would never leave it at that, however. I would mention that very few apples have feathers or a beak.

At one time, Look was a magazine, along with Life and The Saturday Evening Post.

I preferred The Saturday Evening Post because of the covers. Many of them were painted by the great Norman Rockwell.

Rockwell was exceptionally talented. He was discredited by most Modern Art critics because his paintings were often overly sentimentalized.

I overlooked it, and just studied his techniques, which were flawless. Illustration at one time was a top dog.

I also admired Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Lewis Carroll vividly described Alice and the other characters; Tenniel vividly depicted them.

Now we have computer graphics, and true illustrations are rarely needed.

Ask you children if they have ever heard of Rockwell.

“Sam?”

“No, not Sam.”

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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