Must-see.  There, I’ve used the phrase for the first and last time in my life.  I have never heard it spoken, but I often see it written, as recently as in today’s newspaper.  It is popular in the travel section where everyplace in the world has a “must-see” attraction. The phrase is also popular in the entertainment section where almost every half-way decent movie or TV show is a “must-see.”  Just recently, I saw a poster in our local Chinese restaurant advertising a Chinese ballet performance in Philadelphia as a “must-see.”

I do not use the phrase, and neither does anyone I know, for a good reason: We all understand there is no such thing, and anyone who claims otherwise is either mendacious or stupid, or maybe both.  Or maybe a lazy advertising writer who will bore you with still  more cliches.  (This applies to any variation of  “must-,” such as “must-taste,” and “must-try.”)

I’d rather watch a Seinfeld rerun.

In fact, anything claimed as a “must-see” is a sure sign I can skip it—even the Second Coming. It would take a slow night on TV for me to step outside, as shown here, let alone put on a suit and tie, let alone point it out to my wife.  But my old, ratty bathrobe might fit right in.

Not even Longwood Gardens is a “must-see.”  It is very nice, certainly a “should-see,” but if you pass by without seeing it, you will survive.  Worse things could happen.

An interesting hobby would be to keep a list of all the “must-see” places, movies, and TV shows that we have missed, yet here we are, still alive, still healthy, still happy.

If there really was a “must-see,” it would be something much more personal, such as seeing a new baby or a loved one before they die.  Never a place.  Never an event.  Never a movie or a TV show.

If you insist you know of a “must-see,” just tell me about it. I have a good imagination.  But be warned: A “must-see” for you may not be a “must-see” for me.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
This entry was posted in Popular culture, Writers and Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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