January 21st, 2014 → 5:27 am @ // No Comments

Desdemona:  “How is’t with you, my lord?”

Othello:  “Well, my good lady.”  – Othello

An op-ed in The New York Times yesterday discussed the cultural significance of Americans’ common greeting, “How are you?” along with the usual lackadaisical response, “Fine.”  I found it hilarious.  The columnist, Alina Simone, notes how in Russia no one would ever say “fine,” they’d respond with a true litany of how miserable life is.  My own mother (also a non-native American, this time an immigrant from Turkey) similarly hated such irrelevant-seeming small-talk.  Once, when a woman in an elevator said to her, “Nice weather we’re having,” my mom replied with, “I find that insignificant.”  That interaction is now lore in my family.  Whether you find small talk interesting, or irrelevant, Simone notes that it’s been around since at least Shakespeare’s time, as noted in the above quote, said just five scenes before Othello murders Desdemona, making it abundantly clear that he is, in fact, not “well” or “fine” at all.

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