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I Get That

July 20th, 2019 · No Comments · Sports Journalism

Interesting, how the usage of phrases ebbs and flows. Especially when it is in the guise of false respect — a common point of view when arguing about sports.

For decades, and maybe even before that, the expression “with all due respect” ruled the false-respect roost.

It worked like this: Person A made a statement taking a stand on an issue. Person B then got his turn to speak, and we came to recognize, immediately, when he was about to go all contemptuous on Person A.

By using “with all due respect”.

To the point that “with all due respect” came to mean the polar opposite of what the words originally conveyed. No respect was ever due.

It was merely a social convention that came to mean “I ought to call you a blithering idiot from the jump except that I am fake-polite to idiots and animals, and while my grandfather might actually have had a tiny bit of pity for fools, I do not — but I lay the thinnest of veneers over that by not laughing aloud and by using the old expression.

“With all due respect …”

With all due respect, that phrase is on the way out because of another phrase just as sarcastic and dismissive is taking its place and is particularly common in the sports world.

“I get that.”

It is taking the English language by storm, this new, faux acceptance of some portion of another person’s statement, just before shifting into the same sort of contempt-laden attack that “with all due respect” came to represent.

Pay attention to your sports talking heads, and you will hear “I get that” every few minutes.

It can pop up in any argument. “I get that.” And generally is followed by what is sometimes known as “the big but.”

In that case, the second speaker plans to dismantle, thoroughly, the first speaker’s observations, but should not be considered rude or dismissive because he plainly said: “I get that.”

When all that means is “I understand your erroneous position, and I can grasp how simple minds like yours might arrive at that misbegotten place. You heard me say “I get that”, right?

Listen up, because here comes God’s honest truth.

Another point of interest here is that some “I get that” people seem to believe it provides them with a modicum of social cover. “Getting” another argument is meant to reveal a big and noble mind that can hold opposing opinions at the same time. As opposed to straw men who do not get that.

Unfortunately, “I get that” seems to have lost its limited power to signal broad-mindedness months ago. Most everyone already sees it for what it is — a pro forma, up-front, fake stab at ancient conventions before I destroy you with my take.

I suppose we should be grateful, in this era of relentlessly harsh public discourse, that some purveyors of blathering bother to acknowledge that the other guy has an opinion. (I am thinking of Stuart Holden here; could be dozens of others.) It recognizes that the other guy exists and is allowed to speak, but I am about to set you straight.

The bottom line is … you are wrong, I am right, and I have a new way of snorting in derision that does not include the words “due respect.”

I get that.

With all due respect, I think that phrase’s run at false modesty is not going to last nearly as long.


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