Sunday, August 14, 2005

Interesting Judgment

People have responded with variety to assorted things I've written, their tones ranging from I'm-all-with-you-man to amused to dubious to downright bitter.

However, there’s a one-word “comment” that never fails to make my blood boil.

Interesting.

Ubiquitous and ambiguous, it always feels like an insult, regardless of what was intended. Perhaps for some, "interesting" is a rare tribute paid to crowning achievement. I doubt it, but you never know. And that's just it. Some one browses by, drops a breezy "i********g," and who can tell what they're actually saying?

I'll take an acidic "arrogant" or a snide "sentimental" over an insipid "interesting" - and I mean every time.
Maybe you're feeling smug? Dismissive? Thoughtful? - but don't want to spell it out? Well, if you drop the i-bomb, in my book you're scoring nothing but "lazy."

No doubt many of you feel the same. But here's the dilemma: Are there legit uses for the adjective? If so, what are they?

I feel it in my bones that a bunch of you are grinning as you read this, poised to leave one-word comments. Don't do it.

8 Comments:

Blogger Waterfall said...

I'm guilty of using "interesting" when I find something interesting--frustrating that it's become such an overused words, and often one with a negative connotation. I actually commented on someone's blog that their idea on something was "interesting" ... and I really meant that it was interesting, in that it interested me and I thought it would interest others. She misunderstood it to be a snide "interesting" and deleted part of the comment. I ended up e-mailing her and explaining that I really did mean that she had an interesting idea, and everything was fine after that. But it made for an awkward couple of e-mails!

4:37 PM  
Blogger Andrew Simone said...

However, Brevity is the sould of wit, is it not? This is, clearly, not entirely true. A dear friend and I once came up with "The Twin Towers of Power Prose:" (man, I love aliteration)

1. Brevity
2. Specificity

It would seem to me the "interesting" comments, lacking specificity, necessarily must be offensive.

8:34 PM  
Blogger tom said...

The weight of verbal failure hangs heavy upon my shoulders. In converstations where I am bored and unengaged, I frequently spit out the phrase, "Oh, that's interesting". Why? Perhaps its "Hmmm" or "cool" or "uh-huh" with a Higher Learning veneer.

Confronting the lack of personal vocabulary diversity is an endeavor in which I take intense interest--sting though it may, verbal colors from the tongue's palette illustrate its worth.

10:19 PM  
Blogger The General said...

I find it odd that the word "interesting" is used in a very dismissive way. If I was actually interested, I would want to hear more. As it stands, most people use "interesting" to say: "I don't really get what you're talking about and I don't really agree, but I don't want you to explain it further or get in an argument with you, so I'm just going to leave."

5:45 PM  
Blogger Rich Rosenthal II said...

Insipid is a word I just don't use enough. I think people use the word "interesting" to mean "I feel obliged to respond at this juncture, but I have not the slightest clue as to how to do it appropriately."

8:02 PM  
Blogger Ariel said...

At least one thing is emerging, which is:

Interesting does have its uses, the most prominent being snide dismissal.

9:41 PM  
Blogger martin said...

If this project means anything, it surely means the restoration of words to their meaning, and therefore we should be encouraging the use of 'interesting' to mean that it is, well, interesting. I like to use the Sherlock Holmes quote 'You interest me strangely' to denote real interest.

On blog comments, 'Interesting', like 'Nice post', is one of the spam comments, applicable to all and saying nothing. Which should be condemnation enough.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Sprittibee said...

Thought provoking post! *wink* Glad you are back from vacation and posting again.

12:33 PM  

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