Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rocking the Passive Voice IV

Here's a really nice illustration of how the passive voice functions as the perfect grammatical context for offensively condescending bullshit. Which is, of course, the whole point.

It is unfortunate that you could not be included among our finalists.

Let's take this step by step. First, the passive voice, and with it, the grammatical implication that no one in particular made the decision not to interview me. In fact, "decision" isn't even the right word here, is it? Since no one actually did anything, it’s more like. . . an event. It just happened. It was a matter of fate or, if you will, fortune.

This is stupid, obviously. But once you start thinking about who did what and why, the sentence loses even its thin veneer of meaning. Who, exactly, is it unfortunate for than I didn't get an interview? Not this department. They didn't want to interview me, and it's no misfortune not to conduct interviews with candidates you're not interested in anyway. So that leaves me. They're telling me it's unfortunate for me that they didn't give me an interview.

Know what? I know that, assholes. I'm not so fucking stupid that you have to tell me it's unfortunate you didn't give me a fucking interview.


Karen said...

You'd be so proud of me! I sent out five actively-voiced rejection letters today.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Awesome, K. Take ownership of those decisons!