Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Worst Cut Is The Deepest

Want to know what the worst thing you can say to somebody else is? Here goes: "You kinda suck."

That's right. Right there, contained in those three little words (or four, if you're in a proper but harsh mood) rests the ultimate insult for the 21st Century. Gone are the "Fuck you," "Screw you," "Blow me," and "Eat me" from days of yore. Quite simply, they have lost their potency, both from overuse and from range of use, as in sometimes said jokingly or, at least, semi-seriously.

It doesn't seem right, does it? I mean, look at the statement. It's not unequivocal. It's not direct. It's not something that anyone, I'm guessing, has ever yelled at the top of his or her lungs.

But, then, that is the point. When you say "You kinda suck" to someone, you are not saying it in the heat of the moment. You cannot claim later that you didn't really mean it because it was simply fueled by passion.

Nope. "You kinda suck" is a calm, carefully-considered, precisely-worded assessment. Of you, you being the receiver.

There is only one way to say "You kinda suck." Coldly, even if can you keep your voice level.

OK, I know you have questions. Let me answer them.

Question #1: How can "you kinda suck" be worse than, for example, "you suck"? That is a wonderful question, You. But think about it. It is precisely because of the pulling back, because of the measured nature of the statement that it hits home so hard. The speaker has clearly tried to take something off of his fastball, but that only means that he has slipped it by you unexpectedly. You were set up. Yeah, that's not so bad, you think. Everybody has a bad day. Wait a second.

Okay, maybe there is another way to say it. Sadly.

Question #2: Is there a kind of resignation to this insult? Yessiree, there is. Good insight, You. "You kinda suck" implies that, up until this point, the jury was still out. Up until this point, there was still hope. Up until this point, I/you/he/she wasn't going to say anything, but finally had to. And that underlying reluctance hits like a hammer.

Question #3: So what? Well, for one thing, the expression is everywhere these days, but it's rarely aimed directly at anyone. It's often used in the 3rd person, behind the back. Or it's used as a quick mini-review of anything from a movie to a video game to a gadget. But, even in those contexts, it's the kiss of death. Why would you want to do anything that "kinda sucks"? There are too many other options in the modern world.

It takes less of leap than a flu jumping from animal to human, though, for that hipster expression to set its sights on another human in a direct conversation. And then, you've got troubles, because a) it's pretty hard to take back and b) I fear that it identifies a condition in another person that is not fixable.

So, that's why it's on my mind. A casual comment, a reverse of "awesome," that just floats around out there and, all of a sudden, it's in my mind, and I've thought it about another person. That kinda sucks.


goofytakemyhand said...

Why haven't you been uploading songs with your posts? That kinda sucks.

troutking said...

1. I like the title.

2. No song says 'you kinda suck' better than Positively Fourth Street. Same deliberate, measured and devastating approach: "I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes. Then you'd know what a drag it is to see you."

TommyD said...

Bob, you're kinda evil.