Sometimes we flag the obviousness of what we’re about to say to avoid seeming condescending or clueless. In January 2021, facing criticism over the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview on the Today show, “Obviously, we have to do better than that.” He stated that he was stating the obvious—because not doing so would make him appear out of touch with public opinion. Sometimes, though, using the codicil “obvious” is meant to shame the listener: You haven’t read the memo, you are deficient in common sense. Indeed, the shame attached to missing the obvious—or to stating what is obvious while under the impression that it is not—runs deep. Nothing is worse than offering a brilliant suggestion, only to realize that many heads have already nodded it into action: The point has already been made, the proposal is in place. At such times, This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Five Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 45 Yoga with Adriene The internet’s best friend is—finally—finding her own flow. Arts & Culture Garden Issue 45 Piet Oudolf The Dutch designer bringing life—and death—to traditional gardens. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Thomas MacDonell The conservationist transforming the Highlands. Arts & Culture Design Issue 45 The New Craftsmen From the Outer Hebrides to central London, Catherine Lock is celebrating the crafts heritage of Great Britain. Arts & Culture Music Issue 45 Gerard & Kelly On dance, domesticity and the giants of modernism. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Hang in There How to make the best of a bad job.