A note to Neil Genzlinger (“The ‘R’ Word: Really, Really Overused,” Arts pages, Oct
Your Critic’s Notebook column about the overuse of the term “Really?” was so deeply vacuous that I couldn’t help but feel that you have stepped into my area of expertise.
Really, Neil? Really? You’re upset about too many people saying, “Really?”? I mean, really.
O.K., fine, when it’s used in scripted media, it is a little lazy. But comedy writers are lazy. You’re not fixing that.
So, here’s the bottom line.
If you’re a writer, fine, don’t use it. But in conversation it is fun to say.
I did a “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” segment titled “Really!?!” with Seth Meyers a few years ago. It was a blast and the audience loved it.
Your example with the girl in the office and the bad clothes? It is definitely much more fun to look at her and just say, “Really?” than to actually talk about the stupid outfit. Really, it is.
What I do not say or write, as you did in the part about responses to Einstein’s theories, is “wrap my head around it.”
Are you kidding? No, no, no, Neil. No sir.
When I hear people say, “If you can wrap your head around it,” I want to wrap their heads around something, like a pole.
There’s no “wrapping.” There’s no heads going around.
Don’t preach to us about “Really?” and then wrap our heads around things.
You crumbled a bit of civilization off there yourself.
New York, Oct. 2, 2012