Every so often, I’m struck by the impulse to collect examples of one thing or another that annoys me or strikes me as particularly stupid. For a while, I was copying sentences from authors’ book descriptions on Smashwords. I had quite a good batch of the garbled, the self-congratulatory, and the just plain insane, but finally chucked it all. What would be the point of it?
But the impulse never dies, it seems. I’m not going to make a collection this time, just present an example and let it go. “We’ve all seen the ads for the new book When She Woke (by Hilary Jordan), a futuristic novel in which a criminal’s skin is dyed to reflect her crime, a story that’s been compared to the classic,The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.”
The significant part is “We’ve all seen . . .” It could be “We all know,” or “We’ve all done this,” whatever this is supposed to be. And my first response is always “No, we haven’t all done this, thought that, wished this, seen that, wanted this.
I have no idea who Hilary Jordan is, never heard of her novel, and if the ads have come in front of my eyes, they’ve never registered. And I’m probably not alone. There is probably nothing on earth we “all” do except eat, breath, and eventually die. I’ve seen rationalizations for this collectivity mindset, but all it is, really, is a lazy cliché that writers seem to think makes them deep thinkers or makes them companions in some smarmy or stupid thing that we all do. But we all know that, don’t we?