Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Monday, July 17, 2006



I recently noticed a strange phenomenon seemingly found only in Hollywood scripts. Since I first took note of it, I see it EVERYWHERE, all the time.

What is this phenomenon you may ask?

Characters in movies and on television starting their sentences with "Look...."

Do people actually start their sentences with "Look.." in real life?

It seems so....condescending to me. For instance, if someone says:

"Look, I have to be at the barber by 2:00."

It seems what they really mean is:

"Look, you blind, deaf and dumb nincompoop.... I have to be at the barber shop by 2:00. Can't you see that? Are you stupid? LOOK! It's right THERE! In front of you! LOOK! LOOK!"

It just seems rude. I personally can't think of a single occasion in which I have started a sentence in this manner.

Maybe it's my uber-polite Minnesota upbringing. This state runs amok with reserved Sandinavian people who consider any kind of confrontation to be the pinnacle of tabu. We prefer the more psychologically scarring passive-agressive, yet polite approach to conflict resolution. For example, if you cut in front of a Minnesotan in line at The Gap, the victim is likely to smile primly, wait until you leave the store, and then say something to the clerk at the cash register like "Some people's children Eh?" The translation of which, is understood by all parties to mean: "Did you get a load of that guy? What a freaking a-hole!" And then people nod their heads in agreement while going about their business.

On the other hand, perhaps the polite approach could be more accurately described as the cowardly and repressed approach. We want to say our piece, but do not want to suffer the consequences of our own disgust, or (gasp!) risk facing the ire we may draw with our (gasp!) opinions.

Maybe I just read too much into things (cue laugh track here). I am fluent in the language of the pasive-aggressive.

I tend to seek out negative hidden meanings in all manner of things. Is this a shame-based thing? Do I only notice this because I was raised Catholic, and because of this, I am acutely aware of any situation in which drowning in shame could be one possible outcome?

I am like the Quarterback of negative innuendo's. If there is a comment lofted from the 50 yard line, and if there is any way to interpret that comment in a shameful, negative way, however abstract, I will catch that ball, score the touchdown, and do a little dance in the end-zone. Then I will curl up in the fetal position, and cringe at my own inadequacy. Then I will berate myself for being negative and for lacking self-esteem. I am the MVP of self-flagellation.

Look... I am sorry I brought it up.

Look... I know this conversation is really something I should talk over with my therapist, and not in rambling incoherent stream-of-consciousness posts to the internets.

Look... it's just a theory.

But SERIOUSLY. Does anyone in real life really start their sentences with "Look..."?

Please tell me. I am really curious.


Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Not me. If someone is being a nincompoop, I'll start a sentence with "YO!" to get their attention. But never "Look..."

9:06 AM  
Blogger Rude Cactus said...

Look...oh...obvious joke.

No, people don't talk like that. Of course, when I write I use "so" to start every other sentence. I'm not sure where that comes from.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

The most aggregious "Look.."ers must be politicians. Have you ever noticed that almost every politician on every news talk "Meet the Press" type of program begins almost EVERY sentence with "Look..". Clearly they believe we are all nincompoops, which in fact we may be, for electing some of them...!!!

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Love your blog - wondering where I could send suggestions for topics, etc...didn't see an email address on your site? Please drop me a line at alexandra_b_peterson@yahoo.com

9:51 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Hmmm.... I don't think I do that. Now you've got me wondering. I think if I were to say something that should start with "Look", I would say "I mean,..."

11:47 AM  
Anonymous AmyW said...

I just read your comment on Beth's website [from June! I am behind!] about the show "Sons & Daughters." I LOVE that show too! Does it still air on ABC? I never catch it... Please let me know. betterthanyou101@hotmail.com

1:23 PM  
Blogger The Daring One said...

I don't mean to be rude, but look, you need to stop getting so defensive all the time.

"I don't mean to be rude but..." another one of my favs but not as frequently seen in the cinema.

5:38 PM  
Blogger h&b said...

Ha !

I always say I should have been born a Catholic. I too am learned in the way of guilt and the repressed passive-aggressive approach. I also enjoy reaping the gains of the pain I inflict, but i'm not sure if that's next to Godliness AT ALL.

Anyway, so look, this is about me and not you at all, right ? Right.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Um, I do do that -- and did not think that it was condescending, just an affectation, like um...

Then again, I do live near Hollywood...

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fLook, people starting a sentence with that word are already looking for justification. When you acknowledge the "Look" then to them I think, they think you have already bought into there story and are offering support. Look, I think I think you know it's true

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Class factotum said...

Great post! In the South, we say, "No home training," in a very sad voice, as if the person is not responsible for his behavior. But everyone knows what it means.

I quoted you in a post about this subject (and linked to you). Hope you don't mind.


7:33 AM  

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