What distinguishes the junk language of our day from the junk language of earlier days is that it is so quickly taken up by people who are supposed to — but of course don’t — know better: journalists, public figures, academics in high places with low tastes. Glimpsing a recent book about Henry James, I came across the phrase “James’s take on this question.” Henry James had a point of view, insights, observations, aperçus, a striking pensée or two, yet I am certain that he didn’t do “takes,” ever.
— Joseph Epstein, “Don’t Ask, Multitask,” Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays
I didn’t “lol,” but I did indeed laugh out loud to read this, given that it was written eighteen years ago. What would Epstein (or even more amusingly, Henry James) think now that “take” has become the preferred term in our attention-deficient age for referring to an expressed opinion, of either sentence-fragment or article-length, used by precisely the same culprits he named so accurately? There are many disgusting and enraging things about social media and its heaviest users, but this particular piece of overused argot is one that makes me wish I could delete other people’s accounts.