A Kansas City Star story about the recent Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson concert at Sprint Center made me cringe.
According to the Star, "after Clarkson's spectacular rock-soul performance of Patty Griffin's 'Up to the Mountain,' Reba took a couple steps back, bowed respectfully in the 'I am not worthy' gesture and then told Clarkson she had more soul in her little finger than most singers have in their entire body. Clarkson shrugged and said, 'Whatever.'"
Whatever is not an acceptable answer to a genuine, generous compliment. Whatever is not an acceptable answer to anything.
It's a common tendency to deflect compliments. It is not a good common tendency. And it's time to stop.
The next time someone praises your creative accomplishment, relish the moment. Give 'em a grin. And just say, "Thank you."
In today's social climate, it's a testament to Reba's high level of refinement that she didn't turn around and just thump Clarkson up side the head, tempting as it might have been. "Whatever" is a shorthand for "I'm not going to expend the energy to properly respond to you." It fits in with "yadda yadda" and "you know" as manifestations of extreme mental inertia. Whatever, indeed.
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