David L. Hoof

Strictly Speaking

Linguistic Lithmus Tests

June 1, 2014

Tags: meaning, expressions, tribal noise, selfishnesss

So like not me

Here's an expression as common as dirty, and about as helpful to meaning. It is said with the hope that those hearing it will automatically know what it is that pleases or displeases the speaker. Knowing exactly what the problem is requires Spock's Vulvcan mind meld.

It would be vastly more communicative if the speaker simply said, "I've never liked chartreuse or sweet drinks, so why would I buy a type of Gatorade that is both?" The problem a speaker has can be more clearly known by the use of a number of words like crass, tasteless, insensitive, rude, inappropriate or grotesque. Something that gives listeners a fair chance at grasping the objection immediately and specifically, or at least getting close.

The most troubling aspect of the proliferation of expressions like "So like not me," is that it is definitively self-referential. It expects everyone else to accept that the speaker is ultimately more deserving of understanding and sympathy than anyone else. There is a DSM code for self-referential people. Their chief characteristic is that they cannot see the world from other than their own preferences.

Better by far might be, for example, "John and I just don't have the same taste in art." This allows John his preferences and the speaker hers, projecting a mature recognition that people can differ, and that the speaker's need to have all conduct and expression relate to their standards is ego-maniacal intolerance.

Selected Works

suspense mystery
For every emerging independent woman today, men can be little better than annoying at best and downright monstrous at worst. A creation of a stolen NSA computer program, Fiona Halloran is launched into the present to assist faltering novelist Andy Delaney capture the market that has evaded him, the one for and about women. But thereís an emerging risk: increasing personal danger to them both. This doesnít stop when they finish his latest novel, Babes & Bastards. It just spills over to the next best seller in a series starring Fiona Halloran, Nun No More. Look for it soon in a bookstore near you.
In the dying Montana town of Sanctuary, helf-Crow Deputy Redfawn Kravitz relentlessly tracks the killer of Senate candidate Jeb Holloway, who then starts picking off the best suspects, one-by-one.
Using only sounds as clues, a blind man must locate his six-year-old niece before kidnappers kill her.
historical mystery
Just before Oktoberfest in 1931, Adolf Hitler's niece and secret lover is found dead in a locked room in the Fuhrer's Munich flat. Pressured by the Nazis, the police rule it a suicide, but evidence suggests a cold blooded execution. If the killer can be outed, widespread outrage will thwart a maniac's rush to power.
Satire
A cheated wife goes way overboard to get revenge on - and a fair settlement from -- her uberrich husband, with terrifyingly hysterical results.
literary mystery
Little Gods is prep school noir, like A Separate Peace as if it were written by Alfred Hitchcock.
action adventure
A clandestine biowar attack on America reduces society to medieval chaos.
Fiction
Approaching Christmas, a winter blizzard locks Chicago in snow. Among its residents, retired FBI poisons expert Tad Lindholm is a haunted man. Haunted by his past, haunted by his recently dead lover Yvette, haunted by the long shadows of too many empty booze bottles, haunted by depression, and tempted by an arsenal of deadly doses to end it all. At the same time, he is trapped by lingering suspicions that he alone synthesized the traceless toxins responsible for recent deaths. Numb with stubbornness, encircled by intersecting mysteries, Lindholm pursues the real killers among his enemies, only to discover an unimaginably personal betrayal.