Totally Like Whatever, You Know? by Taylor Mali


Totally like whatever, you know?
By Taylor Mali

In case you hadn’t noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you’re talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you’re saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)’s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren’t, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences – so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not –
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don’t think I’m uncool just because I’ve noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It’s like what I’ve heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I’m just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we’ve just gotten to the point where it’s just, like . . .

And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we’ve become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.


Brainstorming- You mean I have to think?

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For some reason, students have a hard time coming up with topics. Sometimes I have strict guidelines- depends on the kind of speech. Here is a random link I found that might help. It is always a mystery to me why topics are such a problem. The possibilities are literally endless- but maybe that’s the problem.

Brainstorming- you’ve known what this is since elementary school. The definition in The Challenge of Effective Speaking is an uncritical, nonevaluative process of generating associated ideas. Some people make lists, some do the bubble system. That’s the one you remember from elementary school, only now its called concept mapping. Who knew? And as always, think about your audience… I’ll elaborate on that in another post.

And then there’s another kind of commencement speech….


Steve Jobs


Taylor Mali


Here We Go!

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I wanted to try a blog for my public speaking classes… with links and examples for my students to check out.  I’m sure it will evolve…. we will see what happens!

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