‘just saying …’ or ‘your lack of gumption upsets me’

say what you will about terrorists, at least they never post a link to an article by prefacing it with “just saying”. the very fact that this is an accepted idiom may be the harbinger of the cultural destruction they have threatened us with for lo these many years.
a significant majority of sharing on social media is creating an ideal persona. a perpetual highlight reel. i get it, we create ourselves online not only by the production of words and images of our own creation but by the consumption of ideas, which in the realm of social media is ipso facto conspicuous. about as conspicuous as the casual use of latin. for instance, you share a link to an article defending free speech not only because the cause resonates with you but to be seen as resonating with the cause. too cynical? is the motivation for sharing on some level to share in the credit of what you posted? i wouldn’t go that far but when that notification sounds, is it your faith in the first amendment that is reassured or your own good taste? this doesnt even bother me, information and the medium its presented in have always had a reflexive relationship. its only when preface any post with “just saying” that my panties get in a bunch.
this cowardly disclaimer usually prefaces a post of somewhat controversial nature. any topic your grandma would consider impolite dinner conversation. yet as your grandma also believed, ‘dont let your mouth write a check your ass cant cash’. i realise im making some bold assumptions about the gumption of your granny, the point being that the expression ‘just saying’ amounts to rhetorical cowardice. if you are going to post something, at least have the testicular fortitude to defend it. hiding behind a waiver of ‘just saying’ is like living vicariously through a child but then sneaking out half way through the recital after an ill spun baton detaches a retina. in for a penny, in for a pound.
worse, ‘just saying’ diminishes speech itself to mere noise. its less of a disclaimer against a specific argument but an assertion that argumentation itself is impotent; that its ‘just speech’. as if words had no ability to affect concrete change in the material world. its basically the ‘sticks and stones’ argument, which as the bespectacled and chubby amongst us can tell you, is painfully untrue. oddly, the inherent contradiction of prefacing an argument with “just saying” renders the subsequent argument toothless, seems to elude those that employ it. the equivalent would be a sportscaster constantly reminding you that its just a game. ‘in the larger context that forty yard return doesn’t really mean much what with all the starving children.’ then why the hell am i watching?
maybe i am taking this too seriously. i mean after all its only facebook, right? the solemnity of an argument is as reliant on the context in which it is made as the content of the argument itself. you could argue that i am affording a pinky swear on a park bench the same gravity as a solemn vow in a cathedral. as someone who is unpublished by anyone other than myself my seeming elevation of social media could be a roundabout attempt at elevating my own writing. subconscious narcissism aside, the role of social media in our lives is still in flux and its potentiality imperfectly understood. a medium that can inform us of a death of high-school friend only to be followed a mere finger scroll later with a list of ‘top ten celebrity haircuts’ has a scope so manifold in breadth and depth it belies meaningful interpretation. from this perspective, the waiver of ‘just saying’ could be forgiven. to expect someone to be held responsible for the consequences of a post made in a medium not fully understood is perhaps unfair. it would be as presumptuous to ask a castaway, after throwing a message in a bottle, for its tracking number.
the dilemma can be framed as such: what are the rights and responsibilities of the sharer? i would come down on the side that its akin to being an editor of a small paper. a paper so small, its in fact just you. as an editor, you share what you think are the best stories, the credit being yours only in finding them. of course, when a story proves to be false, its the editor who writes the apology. it is up to you if you want to be a tabloid or the times, but either way: own it. im just saying …

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