The Tells of Duplicity

It’s certainly no secret anymore that when Donald Trump says “Believe me.” anybody who’s barely sentient does not believe him–just as many of the citizenry knew that when Richard Nixon used to blurt “Let me make one thing perfectly clear”, what followed was a welter of opacity, obfuscation and bullshit.

These two examples have inspired me to warn you readers about other spigots of deceit. Shall we commence?

“To be honest*”:  This preamble is usually issued from the maw of someone unaccustomed to honesty.Otherwise why else would he plead this declaration of probity?

“I don’t mean to pry, but...”:  This is the signature opening gambit of an incurable gossip.

“Now don’t tell anybody else about this”:  When this busybody whispers this preface, you can lay odds that he or she has blabbed this toxic secret to at least a dozen other people already, and expects you to broadcast it to at least another dozen.

With all due respect”:  You or your work or your deed is about to be  rigorously lacerated by someone who is not really your friend, and  who respects you about as much as he respects the contents of a garbage disposal.

“Trust me”:  Place your trust in this mountebank and your pockets are almost sure to be picked clean.

Let me be frank”:  This insincere ass is going to reject you, your work,  or your suggestion and dodge telling you  his reason, largely because he has none (other than to diminish you).

Just between you and me”: Somebody or some group or some organization is about to have their reputation besmirtched  by a cooked-up charge.

I have nothing against it, but…”:  He holds nothing but contempt for the subject of the discussion and is about to  launch a flogging of  admonishment,.

“Don’t take this the wrong way”:  There will be no other way to take this usually unfounded insult.

“Have you read (name of book)“:  You can be confident that this emotional swindler  hardly ever reads books.  If he did, he would  aware that for a book to be classified as a best seller it need only sell but 30,000 copies .  Ergo: When you say “no” the swindler is hoping that you will  feel like an unwashed, unliterary plebeian.  I always advise my friends who wish to discuss a book they have  recently read to simply talk about its merits or flaws.  If the souls listening  has also read it, they’ll eagerly, merrily join in.  If they haven’t read it, they’ll probably listen to you, wide-eyed with admiration.

*The description “honest” is often mistaken for nothing more than candor.  For example, when blustering bloviators like DonaldTrump or Charles Barkley bleat out their opinions , they  usually are being  merely candid. If they were genuinely honest, they would say, “Look, this is an opinion about a topic I know nothing about and really shouldn’t be dilating on it.  Don’t take my uninformed take seriously.”

I have now emptied my chest of Tells.  If you can think of any I’ve omitted, don’t hesitate to Tell me.


Filed under: Culture, Language

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