The best way to think of
Anthony Lane thinks better than you
November 11, 2009
The best way to think of “Detour,” which shows at BAM on Nov. 16, is as a kind of anti-“Cleopatra.”
The best way to think of the strategy of opening an article with the phrase “The best way to think of x” is as follows. The writer is announcing:
Before committing forefinger to keyboard, I already saw all the ways it is humanly possible to think about this subject, and having surveyed them pitilessly in my phat brain, I am now going to do you the service, dear reader who is not as clever as I, of revealing the best way to think of it. Do not under any circumstances try to think about it in another way. You will just be wasting your time! Just sit back and observe me thinking about it in the best way. Oh, you may applaud, I suppose.
Of course you do not necessarily need to be a genius of pantactical thought, like Anthony Lane, in order to attempt this ploy. Indeed, in theory, it would even be possible for a writer to announce that what he was going to say was the best way to think of his subject even though it was actually the only way to think of the subject that popped into his poor, befuddled head three minutes before deadline.
Liberal use of the best way to think of may thus be heartily commended to all writers who would like to achieve a rarefied level of intellectual pomposity without actually being obliged to think as hard as a pettifoggingly literal reading of the phrase might indicate.