TV political pundit number one gets asked a question. Before saying anything else, he says “Look.”

Look at what? Look where? You’re a jerk.

The next pundit fields her answer by starting with the word “look.”

It’s as if to be part of the intelligentsia you have to say “look” before making your point. It’s like a tough guy, street thug tick, like “hey man.” In order for me to respect what you have to say, and for you to respect your self-important self, and for everyone to think you’re a pompous, high-browed jerk, you have to say “look.”

Look. I’m right.

No one used to talk about narratives except in academic settings. Now it seems everybody wants a narrative.

Look, there’s another word everybody’s using throughout corporate board rooms too, from advertising suites to strategic think tanks and the rest of the business world. Anyone talking about any type of strategy says the word “pivot.”

“We need to pivot,” they say. “Let’s make a pivot. It’s time to pivot. Trump needs to pivot his campaign back to talking about building the wall and that Mexicans are going to pay for it. Our business is tanking. We need to pivot away from making strapless sandals and start making red canoes. To progress in your career, you better make a pivot towards not being so annoying and producing work that doesn’t blow like what you put out now. Look, if you don’t pivot I’m going to pivot myself and fire you. I’ll make you pivot right of this office and pivot to hiring someone who is competent and not so unlikable.”

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Look and pivot are two of my favorite words permeating our culture. The third is “narrative.”

Everyone thinks everything has a narrative associated with it even if those things don’t have a lot to do with narratives or, if they do, don’t need to be discussed in terms of narratives.
For example, political pundits dissected what narrative Donald Trump was trying to tell when he called Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump wasn’t telling a narrative. He was belittling a guy running for president against him. Or they say he needs to change the narrative so that the narrative Hillary Clinton is narrating will turn into a different narrative and makes her narrative about her destroying 300 billion personal emails.

Narratives are things high school English teachers talk about when unpacking JD Salinger’s books. No one used to talk about narratives except in academic settings. Now it seems everybody wants a narrative.

To build on this narrative, Sammy Sportface is going to pivot and create his whole new narrative. Look, readers won’t understand it.

They better pivot to it because that’s the narrative.

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