Geoff Dyer’s piece in the Times Sunday Book Review about the “perpetual announcement” style of writing is hysterically funny, and also painfully true. I applauded  — alone, in front of my laptop — when I finished reading it.

The kind of authorial conceit Dyer is talking about is anathema to my reading sensitivities, and one I often call out when I see it. It reminds me of  (ahem) that moment  near the end of America’s Next Top Model where Tyra Banks says, repeatedly, to a succession of girls: “The next girl I’m going to call is….Nicole!” Oh dear.

But if we follow this thing down to it’s daily use, I think it’s fair to say we’re all guilty. I, for one, can confess to using all of the following phrases at least once in the past month:

 “I just want to say…”

“I’m just saying.”

“I will say this…”

“I should say…”

“I’m gonna say…”

Of course, some of these expressions have non-boneheaded uses, for instance when you’re actually using the future tense in the form of a declarative sentence: “I’m gonna say no when Tyra Banks asks me to be on America’s Next Top Model.”

Unfortunately, I know I’m not alone in frequently using them in the present tense: “I’m gonna say no, I don’t really feel like going to the party,” instead of simply, “No. I don’t feel like going to the party.”

Dyer’s tongue-in-cheek (and also astoundingly good) use of the the very trope he’s dissing makes him a hero in my book. I’m adding him to my fantasy dinner party guest list.


 

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