The Button; or, “In Fact . . .,” Part Two

Wild Bill nicely blended crap-detection with cinema-history in the last post, noting how politicians and others routinely use “In fact . . .” when they mean the opposite, at least.

I’ve noticed that, in addition to deploying “In fact . . .,” politicians and their brown-nosing partisan punditry corps use a range of words and phrases intended to put “the button” on an argument. Before I present examples, let us look at a brief video of Jim Carrey’s imitation of David Caruso’s way of putting “the button” on a TV scene:

Carrey does Caruso

I’ve observed pols and punds using “Look, . . .,” “Frankly . . ., [Gingrich is addicted to this one],” “At the end of the day . . .,” and so on, chiefly to assert authority their arguments have not earned, but also to close off discussion before it can become legitimate debate. Both President Obama and Laura Ingraham [there’s a mismatch] have used “Enough,” the former to call a halt to what he perceived to be overly familiar campaign hijinks, the latter to interrupt someone of whom she had asked a question when she was subbing for Mr. O’Reilly. Although Obama was not offering an argument when he said “Enough,” at least he wasn’t interrupting someone; there was no one to interrupt, as he was delivering a speech.

If you interrupt someone (especially a guest) with “Enough,” you’re not just putting a button on a scene but approaching the shout-down zone, wherein you may shout “You lie!” when a guest is speaking to your august body. In fact, that is rude–but politically productive, apparently, as Mr. Wilson seems to have based a fund-raising campaign on his outburst.

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