Prayers and thoughts and inefficacious speech acts

My latest article for The Week is actually one I wrote a few months ago. We decided to keep it in reserve until another mass shooting brought the topic into the news again. Sadly, we knew that it would happen. And it did. Here’s a piece on that thing that people say as a substitute for doing anything effective:

How ‘thoughts and prayers’ became the stock phrase of tragedies


One response to “Prayers and thoughts and inefficacious speech acts

  1. Yes, a familiar phrase like “thoughts and prayers” helps us say something when there is nothing to say that can possibly help, and best not to tamper with its rhythm. On somewhat the same subject, I was — as ever — struck with the utter lack of grace in the faint thought patterns of the President of the USA when he tweeted his “warmest condolences” to the friends and families of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. What? Wouldn’t that be “deepest condolences” and “warmest congratulations”?

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