Here, because I didn't sleep well last night, is a look at the use of the rhetorical device "[verb/adjective/descriptor] much?" on Metafilter. Specifically, on
This particular rhetorical construction, generally used as a sarcastic/ironic inflection of an assertion (e.g. "Bitter much?" as way of saying "You are, in fact, bitter."), is ubiquitous enough to have an entry in the OED (as noted by languagehat over on his blog
), and pops up all over the place online, both in credulous use and as fodder for peevery from folks who dislike the usage.
Metafilter is no exception, in either respect; the much? construction has been derided on at least
of occasions (likely more, I haven't actively looking in part because its hard to know how to search for references to it), and has, as the files above show, been used a great deal over the years, particularly on the blue.
- The files are sorted alphabetically without respect for case; I did my best to filter out false positives (mostly by filtering out prefix collocations like "...a bit much?", "too much?", "pretty much?"; the full set of stop words I used is [so, too, how, very, pretty, that, bit, little, doing, to, as, know, it, out]) but there are a few of them still in there. An intensifier between the stop word and the "much?" is a common culprit, as in "so fucking much".
- The regex used to generate this gets the job done but isn't fancy. There are odd bits of leading punctuation on some items that I didn't bother to strip out, and while I managed to trim most of the content before and after the key "foo much?" phrases out, in some cases that didn't work well and there's a little (or a lot) of chaff stuck to an entry.
- In some cases an item appears more than once in the file because it is quoted in a response; in other cases, it appears more than once because different people (or potentially the same person on different occasions) happened to use the same formation independently. Common rhetorical touchstones ("troll", ad hominem", "strawman") are prominent examples of this latter case.
- Each citation's "much?" links to the comment it's taken from, if you'd like to see a given usage in context. Note that for completeness of the catalog of uses I didn't exclude deleted comments from this search, so in some cases the context will not in fact be waiting on the other end. My impression is that this is a pretty small proportion of the listed comments, though that proportion may be a bit higher in the askme section since sarcastic rhetoric is more likely to get nixed on the green than elsewhere.
- Total citations to date for the blue, the grey, and the green respectively are 845, 188, and 195. That count includes the quotation-as-false-positive cites mentioned above, however, and so is somewhat inflated. (I suspect the metatalk count is going to spike up a bit farther today.)