Lance Scranton: ‘Just sayin’’ code for implied meaning
March 13, 2018
Just sayin': My favorite cultural code words, made popular by people who want to explain what they said, refer to something you should be able to figure out for yourself. I mean, it's pretty clear that if you are making a point, and you actually have to make the point — it loses some of its pointiness!
The ability to imply meaning in the context of conversation is something that requires a certain type of good-natured humor and a little bit of intellectual awareness. So many of the conversations we have these days are packed full of implied meaning because of where we find ourselves as a culture. Implied meaning offers the ultimate in politically correct safeguarding, because we can always imply what we mean and blame the inferred meaning on the person we are in conversation with — and we never have to take responsibility for the meaning we intended.
It can get a little confusing but functions as the conversation of choice, especially when you're trying to figure out how the person you are speaking to feels about the subject before you say something that might offend. I was conversing with someone I didn't know really well about arming teachers in schools with guns as a possible solution on the heels of the shooting in a Florida high school, and by instinct, I made a "just sayin'" statement, not knowing if my conversational partner and I would see eye-to-eye on the issue.
Conversations about former President Barack Obama fit nicely into this category of conversation, as well. I mean, it's great that we have progressed as a nation enough to have elected him as president, but with regard to his policies and his view of America? I mean, just sayin'! President Donald Trump gets the same treatment when, in conversation, some people say, "I like what he is doing, but I wish he would talk a little less. I mean I'm just sayin'!"
What we're saying, without saying it at all, is how we really think about someone or something or an issue, and we really aren't sure we want to go through the verbal agony of offending someone or have to needlessly defend our opinion or be called something we have never been. It's easier just to imply what you mean, then drop the handy-dandy "just sayin'" at the end of the sentence.
Let's face it; people are getting quite a bit more easily offended, and being someone who was raised to believe that honesty is the best policy, I have to admit it sometimes seems better to say what you're thinking in a roundabout way because of all the "stuff" that might get in the way of productive dialogue — just sayin'!
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Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.