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Anyone notice how Tony Clement loves to overuse..


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I wrote a little article about it.. :D

Please comment!

The Fact of the Matter Is This

Watching this and that on television lately, I’ve noticed pundits and politicians swatting away others’ points and placing their opinions at the forefront by often opening their arguments with the smarter-than-thou phrase, “the fact of the matter is…”

The annoyance of this expression was solidified in my mind when I stumbled upon a televised Conservative Party of Canada leadership debate (unsurprisingly Belinda-free) on 11 February.

Tony Clement had had a reputation of being a know-it-all nerdish fellow somewhat lacking in charisma. I fell into agreement with this general suspicion, when Mr. Clement began each and every retort to Stephen Harper’s arguments with a snobbish, matter-of-fact muttering of “the fact of the matter is”.

Or at least it seemed to be the way he began each of his arguments. I don’t know exactly how many times he said it (I didn’t count, and I can’t find a transcript of the debate), but the phrase begins to stick out like a sore thumb—or Tony Clement in a group of cool people—when its used more than, oh, say, once.

The fact of the matter is, this expression is clumsy, long-winded, and condescending. Of course nobody uses it in normal conversation—I would hope—but even in an intellectual setting where it is more common, it clogs up the flow of information, makes one appear patronizing in tone, and just sounds overly assholish.

Not only that, but who’s to say that what you—or in continuation of my above example, Mr. Clement--have to offer is factually accurate? You have the facts, do you? The cold, hard facts? Well, that’s your—or Tony’s—opinion.

The Columbia Guide to Standard American English notes that “The noun fact functions often as an inexact name for an idea, a hope, a wish, or some other vaguely conceived ‘thing’ and often simply as a grammatical placeholder stuck into the sentence until the speaker or writer can figure out a destination and a way to approach it.

“Fact is also frequently used presumptuously, and even more often unconsciously, to give factual status to something actually far from factual.”

The Guide to Standard American English then advises to “omit the fact in honest exposition and argument, in favor of a direct question or statement.” But maybe Tony’s been consulting the Guide to Standard Canadian English. Because we have, like, a whole ‘nother language, eh?

The fact of the matter is that this phrase must be deleted from existence—and Tony Clement’s lexicon.

In fact, the fact of the matter is that anyone caught using the phrase in question more often than is factually below the threshold of supreme annoyance to me, shall be bluntly beaten with this fact: your intelligence level does not transcend that of everyone else, and the facts aren’t always on your side.

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Wrote an article? Let me edit - haphazardly - for fun.

Tony Clement had had a reputation of being a know-it-all nerdish fellow somewhat lacking in charisma.

Tony Clement had a reputation as a know-it-all nerd, lacking in charisma.

the phrase begins to stick out like a sore thumb—or Tony Clement in a group of cool people—when its used more than, oh, say, once.

when used more than, oh, say, once, the phrase sticks out like Tony Clement in a group of cool people

and just sounds overly assholish

Assholish? I'll stop here. WTF? Assholish?

Sorry, that's uglier than "the fact of the matter", "at that point in time", "irregardless" folded together in a mixed metaphor of a "spring roll knocked out of the park".

Good point though, about Clement. Kennedy banished kitsch from his speeches. Trudeau made fun of drafted speeches.

But, well, like, you know. Gotta live with it.

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Relax? I didn't get you on the "overly". Hey, why not "very overly"? Kinda adds emphasis, no?

It clogs up the flow of information, makes one appear patronizing in tone, and just sounds very overly assholish.

Much, much better. Very overly awesome better. Is that rad, or what?

7-80? Relax.

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Did you neglect to dose yourself with the ol' meds today? I'm not here to argue with you. I appreciate that you took a look at my little article there and took some time to correct the mistakes--but why are you ridiculing it? Point out the mistakes, yes, thats fine. But you're crossing a fine line when you start acting like an eighty year old bitch of an English teacher.

Oh I'm sorry, I meant eighty year old 'overly' bitch of an English teacher.

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You're right..I tell you to relax, and then you respond by telling ME to relax..its like I threw a boomerang at you, then watched as it came back to smack me in the face and then drop to the floor and KILL MY DOG!

That's what it feels like, man! Its not a good feeling! You've hurt me. You've scarred me. I'm emotionally cut. With the searing knife of the realization of the endless enormity of your superior wit! I bow to you, Mr. August.

Thank you. You have shown me the true wrongs of my rights, the inside of my outside, exposing the butter to the warm, flaky crust of my Pillsbury Toaster Streudel. The pastry Gods look down upon you--and smile. A warm, gentle smile, fierce with love yet enamoured in quaint solitude.

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Let me be perfectly clear because the fact of the matter is, I enjoy reading both of your posts and I hate seeing Mom and Dad fight.

Just so I'm clear on the fact of the matter of pastry, we must. Bake. A bigger. Pie. And respect. Our fellow. Posters. Right?

Yes, I would agree that there are several statements I wish to never hear again. I include Tony's talk of T.O. SARS panic but I couldn't fit it into the above.

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