My latest addition to the list of Words And Phrases I Don't Like is "Don't go there."
It joins "There's Nothing We Can Do About It," "For The Record" and the words pamphlet, brochure and utilize in the pantheon of linguistics that seriously rub me the wrong way.
Unlike pamphlet and brochure, which I dislike for purely aesthetic reasons, "don't go there" made the list for reasons of ethics and honesty. People seem to use this phrase when someone is in danger of speaking an uncomfortable truth. It's a shorthand that cuts off conversation in a manner that is borderline dishonest... or even blatantly (albeit subtly) dishonest.
Don't Go There means let's pretend something that is true... isn't actually true. Let's ignore the issue. Let's not deal with the core problem. Let's go somewhere else. It's the verbal equivalent of looking for your lost keys at the street corner, because that's where the street light is, instead of the dimly lit area down the block where you actually lost them.
Look, we can't solve problems by avoiding them. Discouraging people from discussing something because it's uncomfortable or impolitic doesn't really help. Don't Go There really means "if we don't talk about it, I believe it'll go away." And that's not only a silly belief, it's dangerous.
It's still important to exercise discretion of course, but when it comes to going there, I'm thinking we should...