The Smugness of the Sigh

The sigh – as an expression – is enjoying sudden new prominence in social media.

Rescued from obscure poetry and dusty literature, the lowly sigh is now finding usefulness to either express supreme disdain or as an assertion denoting that a superbly expressed and effective, powerful argument is concluded.

It’s all I have to say on the matter.  Sigh.
I’d like to discuss this further, but you wouldn’t understand the complexity of my thinking.  Sigh.

Have you noticed this phenomenon?

And even more often the word sigh is now written at the end of a sentence as if to denote
dismissal of any argument or consequential belief other than the writer’s opinion;
superiority – again of the writer – as if to say everything on the subject is covered already;
as a cap to the conversation, as in there is nothing more you could say that is of interest to me.

It is a brilliant.  It enables the writer to presumably claim the last word of any importance about the issue; it suggests that the writer has made their argument and is moving on without waiting for or listening to a response – sigh, as if whatever you may still want to say is of no interest and little consequence to me.  Sigh.

With a sigh in my heart as I write, I’ve seen this new 4-letter word popping up more and more frequently.  Its genesis to me at least comes from the social media team at a major, conservative media empire.  It popped up so suddenly and in frequent occurrence that it has left me wondering if this wasn’t part of a larger communications strategy?  But alas, with a proper sigh, that may be too conspiratorial on my part.

I just think this sudden surfeit of sighs is anything but accidental.

Once upon a time when an argument ran its course a different (some would offer a stronger, strident and certainly more rude) four letter word could be uttered contemptuously at one another and that was that.  If you were really miffed you might add that your opponent was a waste of food… but that requires contemplation to enjoy its full effect.

I am growing to appreciate the effectiveness of the sigh.  I’d even invite comments on this, as if I really cared what you thought… sigh.   But really when I think of what you might have to say on this subject, well, meh?

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Author: Peter Shaplen Productions

More than four decades of experience as a journalist, producer, reporter, writer and professor of news, corporate production, crisis management.

3 thoughts on “The Smugness of the Sigh”

  1. Wow, Peter, you really made me wonder. All this time…say 5 years…I’ve been using it in private email to friends who know me well, as an expression of Oh, well, what can you do. Sort of as resignation to a reality or circumstance about which I feel i can do nothing constructive or anything to change said situation.

    I think I also use it when I feel like I’ve done everything I can about a situation, and well, there it is…sigh.

    But you’ve made me aware that I’d better be more careful in its use, since the dictionaries of our various informal electronic dialects have yet to be solidified. Thanks.

  2. I’ve used “sigh” to indicate sadness or world weariness; can’t recall that I’ve ever seen it used otherwise. “My cat lost her battle and died “. “Thanks to anti-vax parents, we now have a major outbreak of whooping cough. “. If I wish to express contempt, is more effective (and , I hope, accurate). So go snort at that ‘media empire’ where people don’t know the difference between sigh and snort. I suspect they don’t know the difference between shiver and shudder either, eh?

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