Why “Look”?: Musings of an Anal Retentive Observer

Why is it that guests on most news shows preface their comments with “Look”? I have observed this most frequently during my obsession with everything political in the last 12-18 months. I first took notice of this practice when watching, then Senator, and now President-Elect Barack Obama. When questioned, he would start of with, “Look” and then give his answer. In most cases he would use this when responding to inquiries both contentious or benign. Increasingly then and now, many guests on the usual suspects of news shows, respond in this way. Is this just the way arguments are made? Does using “Look” lend a sort of authority or forthrightness that merely stating the answer or comment does not?

This is not to say that I’ve never heard of or used “Look” myself. Ususally, I use it to signal irriation or that what is coming next is my final thought on the matter, whatever it may be. “Look, if you don’t clean that room or bathroom of yours, there will be no TV watching tonight.” Alternately, “Look, I’ve said time and time again, you are not going to get a cell phone.” As you can see, I mostly employ this word when talking to my child, unfortunately.  In any case, I was just wondering if this was a normal, expected part of interview parlance.

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