Thursday, March 27, 2008


I notice both live and in print, progressives seem to put more energy into making their response witty (whether they are quoting, inventing, or playing to the audience) than to getting it correct. That is hardly a universal, but seems a strong tendency. I have my own guesses why that would be so, but I'd like to break out of my prism (heh) a bit and hear yours.


Larry Sheldon said...

Could it be that some latent honesty informs them that what they are saying is [some euphemism for bullshit] which is OK in comedy but not OK is serious discourse?

Anonymous said...

This is closely related to another behavior I've seen in liberals that I call high speed topic reguritation. I just listened to Obama's ex-advisor Samantha Powers on a podcast. To every question, her response would include a rapid fire listing of all the germane and non-germain factors with out a clear purpose. The conservative in opposition would slowly talk about one or two main topics.

Environmentalists do this alot. I think it has to do with both showing how well read they are and to demonstrate that these problems are horribly complex. This shows that only horribly smart people are qualified to adress them and you may not be able do do anything anyway about them.

The conservative usually has more active experience and knows you need to aim at one target at a time.

cold pizza said...

The liberal A&H tribe thrives on wordplay.

The S&T tribe needs concrete facts (except for those computer geeks, because IT isn't really S&T).

The Mil-tribe (and cops et al) know that screwing around (outside the wire) can kill you. Being blunt, rather than obtuse, can save you.

For Christians, it is about being nice (or trying to be Christ-like). Anti-Christians have no such restraint.

It is the conflict between emotion and reason, between humans and Vulcans. The ends justify the meanies.

Each tribe has there non-verbal verbal jargon--words that convey emotion or meaning that aren't readily apparent to someone from another tribe.

Those (of us) who are crossovers from two or more tribes can hear and understand the difference.

When I say "misunderstanding is the key component for failure in communication," AVI will understand it differently than an engineer would.

(words with emotional content: misunderstanding, key, key component, failure, communication, failure in communication, key component for failure, etc). Each word or phrase can be parsed at length, reviewed, examined, tasted, tested, and deconstructed.

Ideas are intangible. Communication is the attempt of transfering ideas from me (the sender) to you (the receiver) and are conditioned on education, history, environment, context, culture, contextual clues, dialect, rhetoric and the whole history of human interaction as imperfectly understood by both participants in the communication process.

What constantly amazes me is the human ability to understand and comprehend increasingly complex ideas. And then misinterpret them. (jk).

Slightly off tangent, the brain is a marvel. Language is a miracle. We struggle through a glass darkly trying to explain the mysterious and unknown reaches of the mind and spirit.

Sorry to ramble, but language is my passion. -cp

cold pizza said...

pimf "THEIR" non-verbal verbals" not "there." Small typo, unless you've got OCD-English Language edition. D'oh! -cp

Assistant Village Idiot said...

cp - I am reading Pinker's The Language Instinct at present, am loving it, and will comment on it here when finished.

Anonymous said...

Part of it comes from remaining in a comfort zone of never having seriously examined their values, which makes them assume that they are correct, and therefore need only to give a witty put-down of an opposing argument.

OTOH, many of us who oppose their arguments used to be Liberals, and have engaged in a rigorous testing of our former Liberal assumptions with some combination of logic and reflection on experience. Those who were never Liberals have nonetheless often engaged in much argumentation with Liberals. While we like witty rejoinders as much as the next person, we realize that the way to win an argument is to use facts and logic, not to call the person with whom we disagree a doo-doo head.

The Ex Liberal/Conservative assumes that the Liberal is not thinking correctly. The Liberal assumes that the Ex Liberal/Conservative is evil. You do not engage in a genteel argument with evil: you put it down by whatever means necessary, such as mockery.

BTW, AVI, I hope you are going to do some Hail Marys , Mea Culpas, Amazing Graces, or whatever you snowbound church goers use, to atone for your remark at Classical Values!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thanks for plugging my remark over at Classical Values. I am sure you mean the one in the post about the girl on the sign for the hamburger joint.