Some phrases have entered English conversation that are symptomatic of our culture of pretense.

The phrases I am referring to are “I bet …” and “I accept responsibility …”. I won’t even mention “… not to mention …”.

The former is meant to convey confidence in holding some proposition, while making a vague undertaking of risk. After all, a real bet is one that one might lose, and thus lose something of value. But the speaker usually risks absolutely nothing by saying this, especially not money, which is the traditional penalty or prize. The popularity of this type of phrase has so cheapened an attestation of confidence that not even credibility is placed at serious risk by its statement. It’s just noise.

The latter is especially popular with political and corporate leader types, after some shit has hit a fan. In order to conclude the matter, they “accept responsibility”. They perform this action by doing nothing except stating “I accept responsibility”. No resignation, no self-punishment, nothing, except those tepid words meant to impress people: “Ooh, the poor minister, she’s showing such contrition.”. And poof! she’s off the hook. Phoney noise.

I bet that’s all true, not to mention sad. I accept full responsibility if I’m wrong on this.