Kindly Read This
In the past few years, I have noticed that more and more before a play starts a gentleman or lady stands in front of the audience and says, "We kindly ask you to turn off your phones,."
What on earth does this mean?
I did a little research and judging by the many synonyms for kindly, it seems these people are graciously, or thoughtfully or genially asking me to turn off the phone. I guess they must think there is really something special about the technique they use to ask me to press a button!
But further research cleared up the confusion. Kindly also means please, which accounts for the slowly disappearing but infinitely more correct, "We ask you to kindly turn of your cell phones."
The correct phrase does not indicate how wonderful the speaker is but merely that he or she is trying to be polite. In a world so filled with rudeness, this is somewhat comforting.
But really, who cares if a few people bungle a phrase so it no longer makes sense?
I care, and we all should care. The theater is a place we go to hear heightened language. It’s where words have meanings, express ideas and tell us truths about ourselves. It is sometimes the last bastion of civilization in a world that seems increasingly uncivilized.
Words should be sacred in the theater. So let’s have no more of being kindly asked to do something everyone should kindly do.