June 10, 2015
By Harold Harrison
Over the last several decades, there have been a number of poor speaking habits developed that eventually get ridiculed out of common use. “Like” and “ya know” certainly have had their time in the limelight. I recall a teacher reciting the Gettysburg Address: “Fourscore and seven years ago, ya know, our Fathers, ya know, brought forth…”
Building to a crescendo is a small thing that is now screaming at me, particularly when I tune into NPR and other lefty venues. Something doesn’t exist until you name it, so I am offering the term beta-lilt, which is the verbal affectation of ending a sentence a tone higher than the body of the statement. This normally is used to imply a question, like an invisible question mark, which is perfectly fine in the sparse use of a normal conversation. However, it has somehow become the basis for all conversation among certain people. As a guess, I would say it is generally found in the Millennials, with an emphasis on the women and beta males within that group.
Now that I have brought it to your attention, I believe that you will quickly recall its use and recall that it goes with a subservient verbal posture that implies a serf speaking to his overbearing master. A further guess would be that it developed within our “institutions of higher learning” (/snark), where students are browbeaten into sitting at the feet of their all-wise professors of gender studies and are always testing their place in the pecking order, like a puppy with a few too many whacks with a rolled up newspaper.
Implicit in this affectation is the premise that “I am making a statement and I don’t know whether you will agree with it, so I am offering it as a question, so when you signal any disagreement (probably non-verbally), I am less likely to have to prostrate myself in front of you.”
Have we created a younger culture where political correctness has left those most sensitive souls always walking on eggshells in fear of touching the third rail of misspeak that would cast them out into the wilderness of…what? Our comfortable non-P.C. universe? Does this reflect a Common Core product so undereducated that nothing is understood well enough to leave one confident enough to state it in declarative sentences? Is it a result of everyone getting a ribbon so no one has been forged in the furnace of failure?
Given all that, what can we do to jar them out of the habit? It’s kind of like seeing some dude with his fly open. Do you embarrass him by mentioning it, or let him suffer many more people figuring he is a bit clueless?
Furthermore, with the War on Wymenz, are you likely to pay a subservient young lady the same salary (or even hire her) when she shows such subordinate behavior? Not many worlds will be conquered in our future, let alone with that demeanor.