On Monday while on my lunch break, I thought it would be funny to have a character mistakenly say, “the brevity of the situation,” rather than “the gravity of the situation.” I searched for that exact phrase on Google, using quotes, to see whether anyone else had thought of this (which usually reveals that my idea was not new).
I got 206,000 hits, and after clicking down to the third page of results, I realized that the writers were using it incorrectly, not satirically. In one case it was used in a tirade about Sookie, an annoying character from “The Jersey Shore.” There it was not surprising, but often it was used within text that otherwise seemed to be written by an educated, well-read person. (On second thought, perhaps the Sookie comment was a very clever reference to the character who calls himself “The Situation,” but I doubt it.)
Curious, I searched for the phrase “the gravity of the situation.” That time I got 1,200,000 results.
That means that, out of a total of 1,406,000 occurrences of both phrases, “the brevity” was used nearly 15% of the time. I can’t possibly know whether it was used for comic effect or not, but extrapolation from the first three pages of results on that phrase isn’t promising.
Please pardon the gravity of this post. I mean, the brevity. Dang!