Hollywood Reporter awards-season columnist Scott Feinberg has sent me a dated video (recorded two weeks ago) of Elizabeth Olsen talking with him about Martha Marcy May Marlene. He sent me this because on 7.31 I riffed on the lack of interesting voices (and the preponderance of mincing, squeakity-squeak voices) among under-30 actresses, and because Feinberg feels that Olsen’s voice has a snappy, stand-out quality. .
I half agree, although Olsen does utter the word “totally” at one point, and that’s not good. “Totally” is as much of a term to avoid as “absolutely” when striving to convey emphatic agreement.
The truth is that I pretty much write off anyone of any age who says “absolutely” in any context. Anyone who uses that over-used word is conveying a certain shit-shovelling mentality. It means he/she is being less than fully honest or exacting in describing how he/she feels. Spokespersons often use “absolutely” a lot on news shows. The instant that word passes by their lips they are relegated to the degraded status of “bullshitting spokesperson” as opposed to “interesting or impassioned person worth listening to.”
And “totally” is a go-along teenaged or 20something female mallspeak ditzoid term. If you’re young or youngish and want to take yourself down a peg or two in the estimation of your elders, say “totally”. You’ll be instantly labelled as intellectually stunted for years to come.