Take all I have written heretofore with a grain of salt. Now I’ll tell you what I really want you to believe. This is my verbal ploy to show you that I have examined all sides of the issue, whether or not I actually have done so, and introduce my real feeling at the tail end, using the obnoxiously vogue and increasingly trite lead-in “that said.”
Class, the subject of my rant today was going to be “that said.” The subject phrase’s overuse has been getting on my nerves for perhaps ten years. Through this poultry platform, I have previously written about vogue phrases such as “it is what it is,” “it is all good,” and “not a problem,” but those were colloquialisms, while “that said” has found its way into stilted journalistic prose and into the annoying inscriptions of those who would emulate the stilted journalists—even bloggers. 🙂
“That said” has been kicking around for some time now, coming from the same clowns who gave us the non-epidemiological meaning (or vague lack of same) of the term “tipping point.” While the latter phrase might be used metaphorically to colorfully illustrate a point, the only use of “that said” is to flag a terminal thought as overridingly valid, essentially negating the verbal vacillation leading up to it. Real words such as “however” and “nevertheless” are being replaced by this abomination and your Turkey doesn’t like it! So, yes, that was what I was going to write about today.
That said, in doing research about “that said,” I came across a New York Times piece written almost six years ago by the great William Safire that covers the subject more thoroughly, more humorously, and more conclusively than this Pretend-O-Turkey could ever hope to. If you are as interested in the evolution of our language as I am and you lament the overuse of these vogue constructs as much as this irascible old Turkey, you must read Safire’s article.