Issue #189: Red light, green light

In Alenka Zupančič’s Odd One In (2008), she opens the chapter “The Ego and the It” with a humorous reflection on a polite question: In many languages there is a splendid and constantly used form of polite question. In English the question is: How’s it going? The greatness of this formula resides in the fact that the usual answer (Very well, thank you) leaves wonderfully intact the ambiguity of this question, its two possible “subjects.” In order to see this, it is enough to shift the accent a little and to emphasize the “it” in “How’s it going?” What I have in mind is that the full answer to the question How’s it going? might very well be something like: It is going very well. But me—well, that’s another matter. I’m tired, I’m depressed, my back aches.... (63)

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