You know what I hate?
The expression “just saying.”
It’s usually used after spewing something at the very least negative or contradictory, but at worst, misogynistic, racist or hateful in some way.
It’s used as though it somehow justifies the comment. But before I get to that, the expression is “just saying” as opposed to what? Just singing? Shouting? Chanting like a Gregorian monk? What?
But, yes, it’s tagged on a strongly-worded opinion that the speaker expects will be unpopular or is inappropriate. As though it excuses what’s being said. That somehow, it has to be said and the person saying it has to be the one with guts to say it. As though they are actually saying, “You know it’s what everybody’s thinking, right?”
And that, above all, it is right (i.e., correct). Which, of course, it frequently isn’t. What it is, is an opinion.
But it’s a mainstay of social media speak in places like Facebook’s Campbell River Rant, Rave and Randomness group.
“Scottish people are cheap, cranky and talk funny…Just saying.” (Do you see what I did there, I used my own ethnic identity to illustrate how an inappropriate racial [ethnic?] insult is somehow justified by the ubiquitous “Just saying.” That way I don’t have to repeat some of the racist justifications I see that are delivered with “just saying.”)
urbandictionary.com gives some interesting additional definitions:
“TOP DEFINITION: a phrase used to indicate that we refuse to defend a claim we’ve made – in other words, that we refuse to offer reasons that what we’ve said is true.”
“PERSON-A: You shouldn’t hang out with her anymore.
PERSON-B: After all she’s done to help me? Wouldn’t that be pretty mean and selfish of me?
PERSON-A: I’m *just saying*, you should quit hanging out with her.”
Definition #2. “There is an obvious implication of what I just said, but I formally disavow that implication, although I actually believe it. That might be the wrong tie to wear. Just saying. (Implication: it makes you look ridiculous.)”
And my favourite: “Just saying” is a nice way of saying, “you’re a dumbass.” – “Hey man, I wouldn’t put the lighter fluid so close to the actual fire…just saying.”
And then this definition is the most in line with the way I see it used most often:
“5. Something you say when somebody points out that something you said is basically redundant or obvious, whether they put it bluntly or subtly, as if to remind them that there was no harm in saying it.”
And that’s the thing, it’s added as though there’s no harm in saying it. When, of course, there is.
It’s like, “…don’t get all upset about it, I’m just saying.” But why is the fact you’re just saying it a reason to not get upset?
Its definition and use varies quite a bit but it generally, to me, seems to also mean “don’t shoot the messenger.” As though it’s not the speaker’s fault that what he just said is true. Even if it isn’t.
There’s a great movement in our society to allow people to feel justified in saying whatever they want without any justification other than they have the right to do so. But it’s not true, you do have an obligation to show some sensitivity to the other speaker in a debate or, God forbid, an argument. If for no other reason than you want the right to have your opinion respected in return.
And I’m not “just saying,” that, I believe that to be true.