"...Truly, a sight to behold. A man, beaten. The once great champ, now a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we've raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed-up, aged ex-champion..."
The pervasive lessons of Arguing 101 as defined in our culture:
I think it's finally over. Our reactionary emotional response seems to have stopped it dead in its tracks. If I'm right, all we have to do now is smugly reiterate our half-formed thesis and—oh, no! For the love of God, no! It's thoughtfully mulling things over!
Run! Run! It's making reasonable, fact-based arguments!
Quickly! Hide behind self-righteousness! The ad hominem rejoinders—ready the ad hominem rejoinders! Watch out! Dodge the issue at hand! Question its character and keep moving haphazardly from one flawed point to the next!
All together now! Put every bit of secondhand conjecture into it you've got!
Goddamn it, nothing's working! It's trapped us in our own unsubstantiated claims! We need to switch fundamentally unsound tactics. Hurry, throw up the straw man! Look, I think it's going for it. C'mon…c'mon…yes, it's going for it! Now hit it with the thing that one guy told us once while it's distracted by our ludicrous rationalizations!
Arrgh! Our pride! Oh, Lord, our pride! It burns!
All is lost. We don't stand a chance against its relentless onslaught of exhaustive research and immaculate rhetoric. We may as well lie down and—Christ, how it pains me to say it—admit that it's right. My friends, I would like to take these last few moments of stubborn close-mindedness to say that it's been an honor to dig myself into this hole with you.
Unless…wait, of course! Why didn't we think of it before? Volume! Sheer volume! It's so simple. Quickly now, we don't have much time! Don't let it get a word in edgewise! Derisively cut it off mid-sentence! Now, launch the sophomoric personal attacks! Louder, yes, that's it, louder! Be repetitive, juvenile, and obstinate! It's working! It's working!
We've done it! It's walking away and shaking its head in disgust! Huzzah! Finally—defeated with a single three-minute volley of irrelevant, off-topic shouting!
and How Conservatives Argue:
Liberal: The USA has fifty states.
Conservative: No, it doesn’t.
Liberal: Yes, it does. The USA has fifty states.
Conservative: What about Guam? What about that Guam, huh? Or the
Liberal: Those are territories, not states. The USA has fifty states.
Conservative: Oh, so you’re saying those don’t count?
Conservative: Oh, so the people there don’t count? They’re not good enough, huh? I thought you liberals wanted everybody to be counted.
Liberal: No, I said the territories don’t count as states. The USA has fifty states.
Conservative: You’re really something, you know that? You liberals are always going on about how all of us conservatives are racists, how we don’t care about anybody but people who look like us. But you don’t even want to count the blacks who live in Guam as Americans.
Liberal: First of all, I never said all conservatives are racists.
Conservative: Yes, you did.
Liberal: No, I didn’t.
Conservative: Michael Moore says it.
Liberal: I’ve never heard him say that.
Conservative: Yes, he does! He most definitely does!
Liberal: Look, I don’t know what he says. That’s beside the point. And the people in Guam “count,” whatever that means. I don’t even know who lives in Guam; I don’t know the first thing about Guam. I’m just saying Guam isn’t a state it’s a territory. The USA has fifty states.
Conservative: What about Puerto Rico?
Conservative: What about Puerto Rico, huh? You love all those Mexicans coming across the border stealing our jobs you must LOVE Puerto Rico, right?
Liberal: I’ve never been to Puerto Rico.
Conservative: Well, I have, and those kind of people would be pretty offended to hear liberals like you saying they aren’t real Americans!
Liberal: I didn’t say that!
Conservative: You said they didn’t count!
Liberal: Look, I’m just trying to say the USA has fifty states!
Conservative: According to YOUR sources!
Liberal: MY sources?! What are you talking about? Look it up!
Conservative: I told you, I don’t have time to spend all day cruising the internet, looking up geography questions! Maybe if you were busier at your job, trying to live the American Dream, you wouldn’t have time for all this hate!
Liberal: I work hard at my job!
Conservative: Then why are you spending all day downloading Michael Moore?
Liberal: I don’t spend all day downloading Michael Moore! I don’t even know what you mean by that! All I’m saying is that the USA has fifty states!
Conservative: Again, according to YOU!
Conservative: And I’m not even counting Pennsylvania!
Conservative: That’s a commonwealth, too!
Liberal: It’s a commonwealth, but…
Conservative: And Washington!
Liberal: All right, look, I lived in Seattle Washington is NOT a commonwealth!
Conservative: Seattle’s not even a state it’s a city!
Liberal: Yes, it’s a city, in Washington State! Washington’s a state!
Conservative: I’m talking about Washington D.C.
Conservative: Washington D.C. It’s a city.
Liberal: I know what it is!
Conservative: Well, you liberals are always going on about “Statehood for Washington!” Which, you admit, is already a state!
Liberal: Washington D.C. is not a state!
Conservative: Washington State is!
Liberal: You just said Washington D.C.!
Conservative: And you said it should be a state!
Liberal: I never said that! I mean, it should be… but I never…look…
Conservative: Should Washington be a state?
Conservative: Simple question.
Liberal: Washington State?
Conservative: Yes or No?
Liberal: Washington State or Washington D.C.?
Conservative: He snorts cocaine.
(Long, painful pause)
Liberal: (slowly) This is Washington D.C. you’re talking about.
Conservative: Yeah. The mayor snorts cocaine.
Liberal: Actually, he’s no longer the mayor…
Conservative: Rush is so right about you people.
Conservative: Rush. He gets it. You people are the worst.
Liberal: I don’t…
Conservative: Here I am, trying to have an honest political discussion, and all you can do is bring up this liberal claptrap! You call people like Rush racists, but you don’t want to count Mexicans as Americans. You insult the Governor of California every chance you get. You get all your information from encyclopedias and Michael
Moore. You want free cocaine in Washington, and you want Seattle to become a commonwealth, and you won’t pay me my fifty dollars even after I proved that blacks run Guam! And then, worst of all, you insult our flag and our troops!!! You disgust me!"
At what point does a political party become indistinguiable from a cult? From Mark Gisleson:
Yes, I talked politics with my mother last weekend, and yes, her head is so full of nonsense she’s not even sure what she believes. She still thinks Obama is foreign born. She’s convinced of that. The liars have been emailing the Snopes-ridiculed claim that Obama got a Fulbright for-furriners-only scholarship while at Occidental and that proves his foreign birth. Except O never got a Fulbright, never applied for one, had no reason to. I emailed Mom the proof and never heard back. I doubt I swayed her.
No Mr. Kristoff, I hear just fine. I investigate when I don’t know. The problem is with the Fox/talk indoctrinated and their cult. CULT. It is a fucking cult. It is a cult based on lies born of momentary convenience driven by the monied bastards who are either insane or insanely greedy. You can no more argue with a member of their base than you can with a Moonie. These people need to be deprogrammed, and so far President Obama’s doing a fair job of that. Sadly, the politics of the market crash/real estate crash/Bush crash have muddied things to where it’s hard to bring someone to the light when no one’s sure wtf is going on with our money, but that hardly matters when you’re talking to someone who cannot be dissuaded from thinking that Barack Obama is a dirty furriner, or that Sonia Sotomayor is a bad American for stressing the last syllable of her last name.