Friday, April 6, 2012

"Commented" vs. "Said"

Dramatic people say "she commented" instead of "she said". This is because they take everything someone other than them says as hostile and "commented" is their way of expressing and amplifying the (usually) nonexistent hostility.


I would say: "She told me that he was short."

Dramatics would say: "She made the comment that he was short."

If you don't see the difference, you're probably dramatic.

To further illustrate the point...

I would say: "He said it was kind of lame."

They would say: "He commented that it was kind of lame."

Why "commented"?

It's to agitate you. "Said" and "told" are very blah words. We use them all the time and we see them in books like there's no tomorrow. (Especially books at a third grade reading level where those are the only two ways to convey that the characters said something.) But "commented" is different. Comment is less natural than saying. Comment implies effort and even thought. So, when the result is something hurtful a la ("He commented that she was fat.") It implies that "he" -- whoever he was -- put a lot of thought into that insult. More thought than if he just randomly "said" it. And the dramatic purposely inflates that notion by relaying the message in the way they do.

The difference between saying "said" and saying "commented"

When you say "he said", you're just telling someone what somebody said. It's the intentions that are behind why you're telling people that all that determine whether or not it's gossipy or something else stupid. But when you said "he commented", "commented" becomes the codeword to let people know that you ARE gossiping, you think this is some juicy shit, and you want everyone to know about it.

To bring the message home, I give you two pics of Marie Antoinette: 

This is "she commented". Notice the dress, how it's not so much a dress as a thing of architecture. Seriously. The designer had an egineering degree. And that's not draping on the dress -- it's drapery. "She commented" is elaborate, thought out, calculated and, most importantly: ridiculous and unnecessary.

This dress is "she said". Simple, effective, and to the point. You don't have to have a map to navigate the truth. There's no buttresses holding the damn thing up. It just is what it is. And that's all anything ever should be.

(And, for the record, in dear Maria Antonia's case, "she said' got her in enough trouble as it was -- and she didn't even say it!)

P.S. These paintings are both by the same artist, my favorite of the period (and Marie Antoinette's too!), √Člisabeth Vig√©e-le Brun. 

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