Listen. When you're tuned in to the radio, when you're watching a celebrity interview, when someone is describing themselves or their experience on air you will hear it. It's very sort of.
"Sort of" has become, I propose, a sign of the times. It used to mean not quite or in a way. My living room walls are sort of beige, sort of creamy tan. Now it's often used to temper an extreme, as if stating anything definitively any more is a crime against diction or against listeners' ears.
I listened to a writer today on NPR talk about his new book about his trip to Ireland. He was a likeable fellow and the more I listened, driving along sipping my Starbucks grande latte, I felt inclined to check out his book. Even this clever, engaging writer, however, kept saying 'sort of' in ways like: It was a very, sort of, great experience to meet the farmers' sheepdogs as I walked. Golfing on every golf course on the coasts of Ireland was an extremely, sort of, fascinating experience. After meeting my relatives in Ireland I was definitely, sort of, reminded that I am an American first, then Irish....
What's this tempering our statements now? It's sort of reminding me of dumbing down, mediocrity, coming to the middle, political correctness, our dislike nowadays of defining something as GOOD or BAD, "tolerance" even, in a way....sort of. Why can't these people say: It was definitely a great trip during which I learned X unapologetically, Y absolutely, and Z without a doubt! The boldness of it all.
Well, it's just something I've sort of absolutely noticed sort of constantly lately. Sort of drives me up-sortof-a tree. Sort of.