Students need to stop feeling, start thinking critically
Guys, I feel like saying “I feel like” is getting really stupid and we should stop doing it.
A few months ago, a friend of mine pointed out this pervasive verbal tic of our generation. Since then it’s been driving me insane.
It’s like when you stare at a word for too long and it starts to look demented. I feel like I can’t stop noticing it.
When did this start?
Once upon a time, we all sat in class and listened to that one girl take the Queen’s English off to the zoo with a phalanx of “likes” spiraling around one useless self-evident point. Sounded like, “Freedom is, like, good.” If you started to sense you were drifting off, you could stay focused by keeping a tally of how many times she used the “like” crutch. Isn’t learning fun when we make a game out of it?
Or maybe that was just me.
Either way, somewhere along the line we stopped “thinking” things and started “feeling like” them. “I feel like eating a piece of cake” or “I feel like a walrus” has been joined by “I feel like the green light across the bay represents, like, the elusive nature of the American Dream.”
No one is immune from this epidemic. I catch myself starting sentences with it all the time. We feel things now instead of thinking them, it seems. We’ve become a generation of feelers.
We generalize, we obfuscate, we guess. We don’t think. “Feeling” is diplomatic. It gives us some wiggle room to get out of a position if we really need to. It’s friendly, but noncommittal. Vague. Suddenly, we all sound eminently sensitive, like Mr. Simmons from “Hey Arnold!” or a particularly condescending therapist.
Now, it could just be nothing — from time to time, the language evolves and the vernacular shifts, and suddenly, “cool” doesn’t mean “cold” and “sick” doesn’t mean “vomiting all over the place.” It happens.
But I think it’s a symptom of a larger issue in our society. No longer do news outlets report facts in the most traditional sense — even for election year, it sure “feels like” it’s a little heavy on the he-said-she-said shtick, doesn’t it? With MSNBC and Fox News flailing on the left and right, respectively, CNN is relegated to a bubbling mass of insecurity, hesitant to take a firm position on anything lest it be accused of — egad — bias.
The 24-hour news analysts screaming at each other can sometimes be an inaccurate barometer for the rest of society; there’s no doubt about that. But it’s come to the point that I sort of miss the days of counting the “likes.” A simpler time, for sure.
So let’s adjust a little bit, guys. Let’s think a little more and feel a little less. I know that sounds like I’m advocating punching Big Bird in the face, but you get my point.
Think about it. I think it’ll be good for all of us.
Kevin Slack is a senior television, radio and film major. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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