You hear it in everyday conversation. You ask someone what they thought of a book, a movie, or a class lecture and they respond, “It was really interesting.” There is that word- interesting. It was first in the movie “Captain Fantastic” (2017) where the concept of ‘ interesting’ as a nondescript word came to my attention.
The scene plays out like this:
Kielyr: It’s interesting.
Bo: Illegal word!
Zaja: Dad, Kielyr said interesting!
Ben: Interesting is a non-word. You know you’re supposed to avoid it… Be specific.
Interesting vs. Cursing
The way in which the word is referred to in this text is similar to the way my siblings would tattle on me when I would say a curse word. The difference? We’ve been taught that curse words are bad, that they are inappropriate and show an inability to express emotions through descriptive verbiage. However, we have been told that it’s okay to say something is interesting. Like curse words, it is also a nondescript word, showing a lack of ability to express your true thoughts on the matter.
Choosing a Side
We all laugh when Trump says, “he’s a great guy, good guy, fantastic guy.” Yet, we do the same thing when we describe things by stating that, “it’s interesting.” What about it is interesting? Why did you really like that book? What about that movie appealed to you? It’s important to be specific, to express oneself, to pick a side. ‘Interesting’ is like being neutral in a time of turmoil. Interest doesn’t state your opinion until you explain what it was that was of interest to you.
We are all guilty of this, but we can all do something to stop it. The next time you hear yourself, or someone else, say, “It was interesting”, parse the conversation and ask, “Ok. What about it was interesting?” If we all start to express ourselves, to describe our thoughts and interests, we might be able to actually start to understand each other.
To help you describe your emotions, refer to the Feelings Wheel:
So tell me, why is this article interesting to you?