Most events that feature a well-known public speaker also include a question and answer session after the speaker is done making their speech. What is the mental malfunction that causes otherwise normal people to confuse Q&A with C (Comment)? Last night, Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, gave a speech at the University. Glass' speech was informative, occasionally insightful, and completely entertaining. After he was done, there was a brief Q&A period. However, as always happens at an event like that, several people, who were apparently overcome by challenge of forming a question, decided to stand up and give their comments. This behavior always leads me to ask several questions: 1. When someone stands up and says, "I agree with everything you just said," is the Comment Maker so full of himself or herself that they believe the rest of us are withholding judgment on the speaker and their speech until we have gotten Comment Maker's opinion on the matter? Like I'm sitting there thinking, "Well, I was on the fence about what he said until that Comment Maker got up and lent credence to their speech, but now I'm fully in the speaker's camp."
- Why do so few speakers call Comment Makers on the fact that they are not asking questions, but rather offering opinions? Some do, most do not.
- Why does this behavior not annoy more people than it seems to? Has anyone else noticed that the phrase "mother of all …" has completely permeated American speech? In the last four days, I've heard that phrase with various endings used completely unconsciously no less than once a day in casual conversation. Last night, Sarah used some form of it on the way to the Ira Glass speech. Someone used a "mother of all desserts" form over Easter dinner. On Friday last week, someone with whom I work used the "mother of all questions" format. Isn't it ironic that America went to wipe out Saddam Hussein in "Gulf War II: Shrub's Revenge" but a quote of Hussein's from before the first Gulf War has become a commonly used part of everyday American English? Don't let anyone ever tell you that language means nothing and that people cannot live on through their words long after the speaker is dead and gone.