1: (v) To feign interest in the subject of the person with whom you are speaking, in order to express your own, personal, unrelated subject.
2: (v) To respond in such a way as to put forward your own thoughts, feelings or ideas without acknowledging the thoughts, feelings or ideas of the person with whom you are speaking.
Example, “After spending ten minutes explaining what we should do, she retorded me with her own idea.”
It’s almost always writers contacting me through Facebook, DeviantArt or WordPress, with a message that goes something like this,
“Wow! I really loved your Aenya story! By the way, I’ve been working on my novel for ten years, and was hoping you could take a look at it and tell me what you think. Thanks!”
See the problem here? Most of what they have to say concerns themselves. All I see is, “Me! Me! Me!” When I press them for details, when I ask, “What did you like about my book?” it becomes terribly obvious they’ve only given it a cursory glance. “I liked the naked amazon girl (that I saw a picture of on your page).” Thanks, Mr. Anonymous Fan, that’s a real help!
Thing is, I know how lonely and frustrating writing can be. I sympathize. I’ve taken hours out of my busy schedule to help complete strangers, editing manuscripts into shape, only to have the person disappear when they’ve gotten what they wanted. Once, I helped a co-worker with a short story contest. She won first place! When I sent her a story of my own, something I thought she might enjoy, I never heard from her again. She’d been retording me from day one.
But retording doesn’t just pertain to writing and writers. I see it everyday, people fishing Twitter and Facebook for likes. Social media is like a cage full of monkeys, with a lot of strutting and chest pounding, and nobody paying attention to any of it. When it comes to my fellow artistes, I just want to scream, “How do you expect me to care about your thing, if you only pretend to care about mine?” Does it never occur to these people that the same is being done to them?
OK, so maybe you think you’re one of the special few whose opinion is worth more than two cents . . . Surely, everyone truly admires your brilliance, and is being sincere when they say so, despite the fact that you’re never sincere with them. But for me, at least, if your name isn’t Neil deGrasse Tyson, I probably don’t care what you think. In the rare instance that I do give someone the thumbs up, you can be certain I genuinely read/looked at/played whatever that thing is they’ve made, and that I genuinely liked it. People who go around retording, trading likes for praise, can only expect the same in return.
If you liked this post, you might like some other words in my Definitions series, including:
Comignorant: (n) (adj.) A person or persons who make a statement in response to an issue they know very little about, or have not properly researched. May also be used as an adjective to describe said person.
Obliviate: (v) To act or behave towards a thing or person as though that thing or person does not exist.
Riding the Donkey Carriage: An expression used to indicate a person who quits reading a book before the book concludes. Typically, the person intends to finish the book at some indefinite time in the future, but more often than not, never does.