Are You Even Intentional, Bro?

Check your intentionality, man. Are you pure?

We need to talk about this word: Intentional. Count yourself lucky if it’s not haunting your days and the, uh, “narrative” of public life around you.

“We need to be more *intentional* about creating inclusivity and transparency.”

“He was known for his exceptional intentionality.”

“How would you rate the intentionality of that shower?”

“My intention for this year is to intentionally create an intention.”

Please kill me

Here’s my hot take on this word that no one asked for: It Means Nothing. It’s a buzzword for people who need to sound like they’re doing something so they can avoid giving details of what they’re actually out there doing (or not doing). I say that because the word seems to apply itself perpetually to the future tense. “Let’s be more intentional next time” is something you see a lot more commonly than “Wow, I really intentionally kicked that football,” or “I hope you didn’t see me intentionally put 12 boxes of fruit leather into my cart.”

“Intentionality” is to progressive political speech what “goals” are to the corporate bottom line: something someone with more power tells you that you need to accomplish — a directive that is basically without substance but sounds good to the speaker.

Make it go away

Try this trick next time you see this word try to slip itself into any conversation about Big Important Social Things. See if it changes the meaning of the rest of the sentence (spoiler alert: it won’t).

“Let’s intentionally foster a dialogue” -> “Let’s talk” = SAME THING IT IS FINE

Another thing you can do is just throw it back at the speaker like a third grader:

“No YOU be more intentional.”

“I AM being intentional. And my intentionality is telling you to shut up.”

The opposite of intentional is accidental. And I’m sorry to say that I accidentally wrote this essay in my basement, and now the world is going to fall apart. Sorry not sorry.



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