I once heard a Navy Captain say that the most disrespectful comments he ever heard always followed the sentence, “With all due respect.” With all due respect, that is the most stupid, lame-brained idea to ever come out of your pie hole.
The English language is loaded with disclaimer phrases, aimed at deflecting the blame for what is about to be said.
Like, “Some people say.” Some people (but not me – goodness no) say that you are an incompetent fool. The arrow has hit its mark and the archer is standing behind bulletproof glass.
There are others.
No offense, but…
Don’t get me wrong, but…, or its cousin, Don’t take this the wrong way.
Nobody asked me, but…
It’s none of my business, but…
For what it’s worth…
What follows a disclaimer phrase reveals the deep-down, unfiltered disdain that the speaker really has for you.
The Captain I mentioned earlier told me that he would always stop the person after hearing, “With all due respect”, and warn them that they should be very careful about the words to follow. That’s great advice if you are (a) an active duty Captain with nonjudicial punishment authority, and (b) have lightning quick reflexes that enable you to recognize the threat and stop the insult before it hits home.
It doesn’t work if you are (a) a cartoonist that doesn’t scare anyone, and (b) slow. For those like me, our only option is to brace ourselves for the onslaught that is sure to come.
Even the ubiquitous “but” portends danger. That is a fantastic idea and it will work; but not if you do it.
You have to ignore what follows the disclaimer phrase. You have to tune out the passive-aggressive whiners who hide behind their introductory remarks. Truth be told, it isn’t much of a stretch to ignore everything they say.
I think I’ll do that.