"I’m Just Saying!!!!" Oh Yeah... What Exactly?
Have you noticed recently how the saying “I’m just saying” has propagated throughout pop culture communication? It was actually just a few months ago that an extremely lovely woman friend of mine first said it to me in a way that made me focus on it. Since then, I hear it everywhere. Even on my way home today from Burlington, Vermont I heard hip-hop artist The Dream in his song “Love King” give this advice to a woman he was interested in: “N….a” keep playin, change where you layin, I’m just saying.” While the advice seems admirable, it does appear to benefit him to give it, so once again there is more weight to the "I'm just saying," than meets the eye. Someone answer this for me: has this saying been around for years and I just didn’t notice it, or did it actually just expand throughout our vernacular?
What does it really mean? Does it give people a pass to say anything they want to say? Is it similar to “I’m just joking?” Hmmm? Well, when people say I’m just joking, it often is following an insensitive statement that they aimed at someone and they are trying to mitigate the extent of the damage by rationalizing it away as meaningless. Could it be that these two statements are something akin to first cousins, or even siblings?
So what type of statement is “I’m just saying” punctuating?
I heard a woman tell another woman that she saw her man whispering in another woman’s ear, and punctuated telling on him with “I’m just saying.”
My daughter recently criticized my attire as not effectively matching with “I’m just saying.”
An educator I know recently criticized both a school superintendent and principal’s seeming indifference to the struggles of the underrepresented students they are supposed to care about with an “I’m just saying.” (Fortunately these two administrators were from two different districts, and yes, I'm just saying.)
I was watching a news show and thought I heard one of the contributors take a pot shot at the Tea Parties, saying something about a hidden agenda, then attempting to walk away from it with an “I’m just saying.”
And I think it was on MSNBC the other night that I heard wannabe congressman and so-called politician Ben Quayle (son of the seldom decried best Vice President ever) declaring that President Obama was the worst president in U.S. history, something that the extremely rationale, never over the top congresswoman Michelle Bachmann has also articulated. I actually couldn’t believe that neither of them accentuated their claims with an “I’m just saying.” I mean, really, though on some level, I’m just saying…
Interestingly enough, is it truly “just” to say “I’m just saying,” somehow exonerating oneself from the weight of owning a statement that arguably is quite unjust?
So, what is it that she and he, you and I, all of us are “just saying?”