Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where were you when ...?

Pet peeve of the day: Attempting to defeat my current argument with my past "failure."

I hate talking issues with people.  I would say I hate talking politics with people, or hate talking religion with people, or hate talking the law with people, or hate talking sports with people, but it really has devolved to the point where I hate talking about anything with people.  People suck.

People suck mostly because they don't follow the logical path to an argument.  They throw in imaginary statistics and facts they heard from somebody once.  And it's all so tired, because stupid people (the very worst kind) always make the same stupid arguments.  And they invariably think they're clever, because they backed it up with a google search.

My favorite example is the, "Oh yeah?  Where were you when X happened?" argument.  Such as ...

Me: "I wish conservatives would stop this smear campaign against Judge Sotomayor.  Everyone knows she's not really racist."
Them: "Oh yeah?  Where were you when liberals were smearing Judge Bork as a racist?"

Answer: Preschool.

Me: "I wish people would stop demonizing President Obama.  We should all be hoping for his success, not predicting his failure."
Them: "Oh yeah?  Where were you when people were doing the same thing to President Bush?"

Answer: Um, also hoping for President Bush's success?  (albeit with less optimism?)

Me: "Guh, I hate how the media pretends that Mitt Romney is still relevant.  Why do we need his opinion on stuff eighteen months after it became obvious he's not going to be president?"
Them: "Where are you when the media lines up to take quotes from Jesse Jackson?"

Answer:  Oh, I don't know ... eating a sandwich?  (Good job on switching up the past/present tenses, though.) 

The main problem with this "tactic" is that it reminds me of a problem we all had when we were teenagers.  Remember when you were 12 or 13 and you learned that awesome word "hypocrite"?
Much like Julie Taylor of Friday Night Lights (pictured right, about to tell her parents they're hypocrites for not letting her wear the slutty top Aunt Shelly bought her), you probably thought, "A ha!  A clever thing to call my parents when we're fighting!  They're going to hate it!"  (And they suuuuuuure did, didn't they?)

But most of us also remember being about 17 or 18 and realizing, "Hey, some of what I see as hypocrisy might actually just be evidence of complex character. Much like Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when she started nailing Spike instead of staking him like a good vampire slayer ought to."

Yeah.  You learned a lot that day, didn't you?

So what is infinitely frustrating about this "you must come to every argument with totally clean hands" line is knowing the speaker somehow missed out on that invaluable life lesson that UPN taught most of us years ago.  Where-Were-You-Wheners, did you never have the satisfaction of watching Mia Thermopolis embrace her inner hottie on Princess Diaries?  John Conner look to the T-800 for a father figure in Terminator 2?  Virginal Blair get down and dirty with womanizing Chuck in the back of a limo in Gossip Girl?  Murderous, sociopath Dexter look at step-kids Cody and Astor with so much affection on Dexter?  

People - we are more than the sum of all our previous behavior.  Stop trying to create hypocrisy from innocent statements of hate about our socio-political structure by stretching them further than they were ever meant to go.  Julie Taylors, heal thyselves.  

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