Battlepanda: I know...obviously, as it were...


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I know...obviously, as it were...

What do people really mean when they say "as it were"? There seems to be two usages for this curious construction. You can use it to be snide about something without actually resorting to quotation marks, of course. The other, more commonly British usage, is as a kind of semi-apologetic verbal placeholder of nervous embarrassment. One can imagine Hugh Grant firing off a few "as it were"s during the course of his questioning after he got hauled off Sunset. With Tony Blair's accidental open mike though, it seems he wasn't merely embarrassed, but mortified:
When Tony Blair offers himself as a Middle East peace envoy, he is casually rebuffed by the American President between bites on a bread roll. Told by Bush that 'Condi is going', the normally fluent Blair is reduced to inarticulate jabbering. 'Well, it's only if, I mean, you know, if she's got a... or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out, she's got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.' Yeah, just talk.

It was awful for Tony Blair to be caught asking for permission to go to the Middle East. It was dire to hear George Bush saying he wouldn't let the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom go out - not even on a pointless trip. It looks even more humiliating when the French Foreign Minister is going.
Poor Blair. Well, to salve the agony of being so summarily put in his place, at least he has the satisfaction of knowing that Bush really liked the Burbery sweater Blair got him for his birthday:'I know you picked it out yourself.' Ah, the warm fuzzies.

Of course, I haven't actually seen Bush wear the sweater, so he's probably just saying that to make you feel better, Tony.