words that irritate me: don’t get me wrong

September 25, 2006

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a phrase that gets my shackles up. Why do you think I’m going to get you wrong? My bloody-mindedness or your inability to say clearly what you mean? Anyway if I want to get you wrong, I bloody well will! Presumably ‘getting you right’ means going along with any bigoted, badly expressed opinions you come out with. I just have this sneaking feeling that people who use ‘DGMW’ realise that what they say won’t convince you and hope that a pompous phrase like this will. There’s a whiff of trying to have things both ways as well as a sort of abject pleading as a few minutes Googling shows :

“I refuse to stay here, there are little to no opportunities for my future children. I don’t agree with our political leaders and the average person has little to no say about what happens in our own country. Don’t get me wrong, I know I should be grateful for the freedoms I do have, and I am.  There are billions of people in much worse situations than me.  I’m sorry that you feel fear when you see an American.  To be honest with you, I feel a little frightened when I ride the train and see a middle eastern person.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not prejudice (sic) or racist, I am just aware of the hate other people have for my country, and it is warranted.”

Some more examples (thank you, Google):

“Kevin: You’d think the guy would have a little consideration. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I like Howard, he’s a dear friend of mine, I’d do anything for him. It’s just that.. you know.”

“Don’t get me wrong: I love a big, ugly tomato as much as the next girl. . But  I’ll remain a bit suspicious of this cult of garden-freshness.”
“Sex on a truss (no don’t get me wrong, this post is about slightly-erotic looking tomatoes. If you’re looking for porn, this isn’t it, ok?)”

“I love firemen, don’t get me wrong. But this is NY people, life goes on here, and those folks need to get over themselves. Don’t get me wrong, no one believes that Saddam is a nice guy, but things really didn’t have to be this way.”

I am shocked to find that in 1937 someone made a film with ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ as it’s title with Max Miller. Fortunately, it seems to have sunk without trace, as should the phrase itself. Shame on the Pretenders for stuffing the phrase 8 times in one song, starting:

Dont get me wrong
If I come and go like fashion
I might be great tomorrow
But hopeless yesterday

Now don’t get me wrong, but If you go on using phrases like that, you’ll be hopeless everyday of the week as far as I’m concerned. Now I see something called Westlife has managed to squeeze the phrase the same number of times into one of its songs and someone called Gerry Rafferty (who can only manage twice) has verses like:
Oh no don’t get me wrong
I wouldn’t want to hurt you
Anytime I come on strong it’s only self-defense

Oh yes, pull the other one, Gerry, I believe that just as I believe anything else said by someone who uses the wretched words.

Not surprisingly, ‘DGMW’ forms a prominent part of Bush’s verbal armoury:

Q: So, essentially, then, you think everything is going fine with the budget and there’s no need to use a veto or anything like that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m fully prepared to use a veto if they overspend. They’ve got a chance now to continue to show the American people that they’re willing to be — have fiscal discipline by voting on the reconciliation package in the House of Representatives. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, don’t get me wrong.

(on Iraq)
Bush: But I see progress. I’ve heard people say, oh, he’s just kind of optimistic for the sake of optimism. Well, look, I believe we’re going to succeed. And I understand how tough it is — don’t get me wrong — I mean, you make it abundantly clear how tough it is. I hear it from our troops; I read the reports every night.

BUSH: Listen, I want our troops out. Don’t get me wrong. I understand what it means to have troops in harm’s way…..But I also understand that it is vital that we do the job, that we complete the mission.
But there is a deep desire by the Iraqis — don’t get me wrong — to run their own affairs and to be in a position where they can handle their own security measures.

PRESIDENT BUSH:  Well, I think so, yeah. It should be based upon merit and also based upon — I think colleges need to work hard for diversity. Don’t get me wrong.

I’m sure nobody  will, Mr President.

To his credit, Blair has not followed suit. That’s probably because he knows it wouldn’t make any difference- people would still not believe a word he says.

2 Responses to “words that irritate me: don’t get me wrong”


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