Friday, September 21, 2012

Am I From a Sarcastic Wonderland? (and pics!!)

Hey everyone,

So, first of all, I want to share a couple of the pictures I took from our trip to Pscof - which was really fun and beautiful and awesome - they are below.

Before I forget though, I want to pose a question to anyone reading to this. Err.... any American. So there is a Russian word: молодец (molodyets), which literally means "a person who does a good job" but is used in many situations when, in english, people would just say "good job." It is a a little strange, however, because molodyets is a noun, so the grammatical structure is a little different. For instance, if someone does something good or impressive, in English we would say "good job" and in Russian they would say "molodyets." The other day I was talking to a friend, who will remain unnamed (although you know who you are out there) and the issue of translating "molodyets" came up.

After talking and thinking about it for a little bit, I came to the conclusion that we, as in Americans.... err, the Americans I know and interact with, don't really say "good job" to anything. If we do, it is to some feat ot huge accomplishment. On a day to day basis, as much as I can remember, we don't really tell each other "good job." Furthermore, when trying to think of an instance where I would readily say "good job"... I come up with, IM sports in college, when someone made a good play in football, I would high-five them and say, "nice, good job." Other than that... in almost every situation I would rather say "nice" or even "cool" rather than telling someone "good job." Ok so this might seem really small and semantic but, after I thought about it for a while, I realized that if someone told me "good job," not even expressing that they thought I did something well, but using the actual words 'good' and 'job,' I would take it sarcastic if it were said in response to something mundane or small or insignificant. That being said, the following situation arose: we were in the kitchen and I was helping her make salad, all the vegetables were cut up and the only thing left to do was add some olive oil. She handed me the olive oil and told me to pour some in the bowl, I asked how much because I didnt want to do too much, and she said just a little bit. I opened the bottle and poured a little bit and she said "molodyets." Since we had been talking about it earlier, I told her that that was an example of when, in english, it would be weird to say it. Had I just poured some olive oil into a bowl to make salad and she said, "good job"... I would take it to be sarcastic: "WOW, you did it!? incredible!!! I never thought you would be able to manage to pour olive oil into a bowl - youre a genius!" Which then made me realize that, perhaps, the phrase "good job," to me, implies a certain level of unexpectedness, meaning, the person saying it did not think the other person would be able to accomplish what they did: "You just finished running a half-marathon, good job!" "Damn Derek, you actually did eat those 3 and a half pounds of pasta, good job!" -- both real examples from my life.

My question to you is the following, because I need your help - under what circumstances can you say "good job," will it ever, innately, be taken sarcastically, in what situations, if any, can you not say "good job?" Is it just me who has some weird relationship to that phrase? Am I living in some sarcastic parallel universe??

Maybe even "nice job"... yeah that sounds pretty normal to me. It's really just... man I don't even know how to describe it, it just feels weird to me "good job" BLECH! Someone please help me out here, clearly I am a little bit lost!

On a completely unrelated note, there is an international film festival happening in St P. over the next 5 days. We picked up a program today and I narrowed down the list to about 7 movies I wouldn't mind seeing. I am going to try and get out as much as I can this next week (even though we have a presentation due on monday and then a test later in the week) to see as many of them as I can.

I have some more things on my list to talk about but I am going to head to bed now so they will have to wait till later this weekend. I just really wanted to get that whole "good job" thing off my chest, oh yeah, and add the pics :)

Talk to yall later


  1. Imo, "good work" comes across as more sincere than "good job".

    1. I think you're right, thanks torrey :)