Straw phrase? Broken-backed emollient?
You know those phrases that are notoriously unconvincing and self-serving – so much so that they form a category, which people recognize? Phrases that are meant to reassure but don’t because they are so transparent? You know the ones I mean. The one I’ve been pondering is ‘It’s not personal’ – used about an obvious, blatant insult or rejection or exclusion or other bit of invidious treatment. The others I’ve been able to think of are ‘The check is in the mail.’ ‘Don’t worry, I’ll pull out in time.’ ‘It’s okay, I’ve had a vasectomy.’ ‘The donation in no way influences my vote.’ ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’
Does that genre have a name? And what are some others? There must be others, but I don’t seem to know of any.