Idiots and Slavery

What do the two have in common? I have no idea. However, a person who sometimes comments here recently posted this image on Twitter:

7-30-tlitb

The tweet he highlights is from me. It points out, quite correctly, the meanings of words change over time. It uses the word “idiot” as an example. People used “idiot” as a clinical term for mentally handicapped people. It fell out of fashion because the word began being used as a pejorative, much like how the word “retard” is used in modern times.

That’s an unremarkable point to make. Nobody could possibly question the fact the meanings of words change over time. The Leopard In The Basement didn’t. Instead, he made this strange remark:

https://twitter.com/TLITB1/status/494625059441741825

Where did this come from? I don’t know. We had been discussing the meaning of the word “nigger,” with me claiming it is not a horribly offensive word anymore. Decades ago, many black people, especially within the hip-hop culture, appropriated the word in an attempt to strip it of its power as a racial slur. My belief is they’ve done a pretty good job of it.

But that doesn’t matter. You can disagree with me if you’d like. You can believe “nigger” is a horribly offensive word. You can believe society as a whole shares your view. Whether I’m right or wrong about how that word is viewed in modern times has no bearing on what The Leopard In The Basement said. This is made more clear if we look at a later tweet of his:

https://twitter.com/TLITB1/status/494628389631041536

He explicitly claims my theory is “a ‘nigger’ 100 years go equals ‘idiot’ 100 years ago.” I said nothing of the sort. The tweet I responded to when bringing up the word “idiot” referred to the meaning of nigger “a couple centuries earlier.” It wouldn’t make sense for me to equate the meaning of two words 100 years ago in response to a comment about the meaning of one word 200+ years ago. He ignores the context given by his own tweet in order to create a false interpretation of what I said.

But that’s trivial. His inability to get a simple detail right may be suggestive as the more a person gets details right, the more likely they are to be right in general, but the real problem is what he said makes absolutely no sense. I didn’t do anything to associate “idiot” and “nigger.” I didn’t do anything to associate “idiot” and “slave.” There was nothing in my tweet which even hinted at such an association. All I said was offer the word idiot as an example of how the meaning of words could change. He wants people to believe that means:

https://twitter.com/TLITB1/status/494625059441741825

I responded on Twitter, pointing out his interpretation was completely baseless. I also called him an idiot for offering such a stupidly baseless interpretation. He chose not to even attempt to justify what he said, and I figured the subject would die. Then he posted this tweet:

https://twitter.com/TLITB1/status/494638585715642369

That tweet was directed at the public in general. It highlights my completely unremarkable tweet which points out how the meaning of the word idiot has changed over time. Nobody could possibly read that tweet and think I endorse slavery or hold whatever other offensive position The Leopard In The Basement is suggesting I hold.

For some reason, he decided to draw attention to that unremarkable tweet as though it proves him right in his ludicrous interpretation of what I’ve said. I don’t get that. People are free to hold different views. People are free to disagree about subjective things. What they’re not free to do is promote figments of their imagination as things other people have said, especially if they do so in order to paint someone in a negative light.

Well, I guess they are free to do that as long as it doesn’t amount to slander/libel. Everyone else is just free to say they’re idiotic, insane or anything else.

Note: I won’t allow racial slurs to be used on my site. People are, however, free to use the words/phrases in an academic manner for discussion purposes so long as they can keep civil about it.

Advertisements

47 comments

  1. Fair enough, I did start this when I broadcasted my summary tweet image.

    Nobody could possibly read that tweet and think I endorse slavery or hold whatever other offensive position The Leopard In The Basement is suggesting I hold.

    First off, let me clarify, I am not trying to own any moral high ground here or accuse you of holding an offensive position.

    Although I didn’t reply to it, I started by being interested, and took issue, with your implied trivialising any possible argument against the use of n-word in “classic” teaching material in schools, in this tweet

    If you think reading a classic novel in school is wrong because it uses the word “nigger,” you’re an idiot.

    Which, I think I am right in saying, was prompted by this article – (which I read)

    http://mic.com/articles/92085/the-way-america-s-schools-discuss-race-in-literature-is-profoundly-flawed

    I’m not going to say all of my tweets were perfectly reasoned or formed after my first one to you on this subject – so I will defend or apologise for any of my tweets as and when someone picks one out and asks me but when you made that equivalence of the change in historical use of the word “idiot” and the n-word this was following closely on from when you *did* imply an equivalence of “cracker” to the n-word.

    I made that summary tweet in a pretty instinctive WT*! frame of mind- I’ve got quite quick at taking screen shots and posting them from blog comment experience- in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have opened it up like that.

    This tweet from me is wrong because in hindsight I realise you didn’t imply that “idiot” was an equivalent to the n-word at any time. And I apologise for saying “you’d be fine” there too, that is a loaded implication I didn’t mean.

    @Corpus_no_Logos So you’d be fine if I caught you and put you in a cage and sold you and called you an “idiot” to justify this process?

    I accept you were not saying “idiot” was at is any time equivalent to the n-word, but your comparison of its historical change of meaning followed closely on from when you *did* imply an equivalence of “cracker” to the n-word

    I am a white man from a different country but I still need to see a really persuasive argument for how *any* white person ever found “cracker” an equivalent insult to being called the n-word. Maybe that is for another day 😉

  2. lucia, you may have been right on that topic, but the fact I never equated calling someone an idiot with calling them a nigger is easy to see with only 140 characters. I shouldn’t have had to jump through hoops to get someone to stop making completely untrue claims about what I said. I certainly shouldn’t have been called an idiot because someone refused to even try to read a simple tweet. And I don’t even have words for the stupidity of taking an issue like this to the public rather than reading a simple tweet. I mean, he took a screenshot highlighting the tweet. How could he have failed to read it?

    People are free to disagree with me on issues. That’s no problem. What’s a problem is when they start making wildly untrue claims about what I said in order to belittle me. I don’t really care about the racial stuff at this point. I’m still too dumbfounded at how ridiculous the description of what I said was.

  3. tlitb1, this really isn’t difficult. You say:

    when you made that equivalence of the change in historical use of the word “idiot” and the n-word this was following closely on from when you *did* imply an equivalence of “cracker” to the n-word.

    You start by talking about “historical use.” You then shift to talking about my remarks on the modern use of “nigger” and “cracker.” However, you do nothing to draw attention to this shift. A person could easily miss it.

    In fact, a person reading only your commentary would likely miss the fact three different time periods were brought up. My commentary had been focused on how various words are used in current times. You brought up how “nigger” was used 200+ years ago. I responded by talking about how “idiot” was used ~100 years ago vs. how it is used today to show modern usage does not have to reflect past usage.

    There was nothing in any of my comments to suggest there is an equivalence in the past usages of any words. Everything I said was focused on current usages. The one time I talked about a past usage was solely to make a point about current usages, and even then, it used a different time period than any you had mentioned. There was nothing in my comments which could even begin to hint at anything to justify what you said. It’s only by refusing to read what I said that you could manage to come up with such a ludicrous interpretation.

    And you’re still seeming to do it. You say:

    I am a white man from a different country but I still need to see a really persuasive argument for how *any* white person ever found “cracker” an equivalent insult to being called the n-word. Maybe that is for another day 😉

    The phrase “ever found” strongly implies you’re referring to past times. My comments on the word have been about present usages. Unless you wrote that remark very poorly, you’re still operating as though I drew equivalences about past usages, something which is completely false.

    It might help if when you find yourself “in a pretty instinctive WT*! frame of mind,” you took a step back and waited to comment as it’s incredibly rude to behave the way you behaved. Had you done it in person, I’d have done far more than just call you an idiot.

  4. Given the misinterpretations which have happened so far, I should clarify my last comment was not any sort of implied threat. I was not suggesting I would resort to physical violence or the sort. What I was referring to is I’m nicer in what I say online than what I say in person. If someone behaved like that in person, I’d probably wind up going into a rant.

  5. @Brandon Shollenberger

    You start by talking about “historical use.” You then shift to talking about my remarks on the modern use of “nigger” and “cracker.” However, you do nothing to draw attention to this shift. A person could easily miss it.

    When you say I “shift to talking” are you saying I did this “shift” in my comment above or in my twitter replies to you?

  6. tlitb1:

    When you say I “shift to talking” are you saying I did this “shift” in my comment above or in my twitter replies to you?

    I’m referring to your comment here. You know, the one I specifically referenced by quoting it immediately prior to the words you’re asking about.

  7. @Brandon Shollenberger

    I’m referring to your comment here. You know, the one I specifically referenced by quoting it immediately prior to the words you’re asking about.

    Thanks. I needed to check.

    I haven’t shifted then. I have my comment above, that any sentient human can read, and there is my twitter stream, which any sentient human can read.

    You don’t claim I have shifted my opinion in my twitter stream but say I have somehow “shifted” in my comment above – I think this is a clearly weird response – but having no further insight I am willing to accept it 😉

  8. tlitb1:

    You don’t claim I have shifted my opinion in my twitter stream but say I have somehow “shifted” in my comment above – I think this is a clearly weird response – but having no further insight I am willing to accept it 😉

    You can think it is “clearly weird” if you’d like, but it’s pretty well indisputable different time periods were used in the comments you reference. There is reference to discussion of the “historical use” of words (and how it changed), and there is a reference to my discussion of modern use of words. When you said:

    when you made that equivalence of the change in historical use of the word “idiot” and the n-word this was following closely on from when you *did* imply an equivalence of “cracker” to the n-word.

    No reader could be expected to know the latter portion of this refers to comments specifically limited to the current usage of those words. They certainly couldn’t be expected to when you offered this comment as an explanation of why you falsely claimed I drew an equivalence about the use of “nigger” and “idiot” 100 years ago.

    In other words, I limited my discussion of those words to their current usage, but nobody reading your comments would ever realize that. In fact, nobody reading your comments could even be sure you know I never made any issue of the past usages of those words, that that was purely a fabrication on your part.

  9. JamesNV, I really don’t like Cracked, and that article shows part of the reason why. It’s entire discussion of the second point, a failure to understand probability, is wrong. It’s wrong to the point of being infantile. A person with a different worldview could hold the same general viewpoint while inverting every example it offered, and it’d be equally (in)valid. For the simplest example, it says:

    Do you know a guy who keeps a loaded shotgun under his bed? You know, in case a gang of European terrorists storm into his house and try to kidnap his family?

    If you throw a bunch of statistics at him about how unlikely that is (for example, that he lives in a low-crime suburb in Wisconsin where there’s only been one murder in the last 40 years, that he’s statistically more likely to accidentally do something stupid than ward off a criminal and that more people were struck by lightning last year than successfully shot bad guys in the middle of committing crimes), it won’t change his mind. Instead, he’ll rebut you by citing a news story or an anecdote about a guy who successfully fended off a Die Hard bad guy thanks to his trusty 12-gauge. For him, that single, vivid example completely overrides all talk of statistics or probability.

    Statistical probabilities cannot be used this way. That an accident is statistically more likely does not mean it is more likely for an individual. Almost all accidents happen because people involved behave in ways they shouldn’t. A person who handles guns properly is almost guaranteed not to have an accident, thus they are almost guaranteed to be better off having the gun than not (though perhaps by some infinitesimal margin).

    That said, it does get the sort of get the first point right. It’s wrong (or at least exaggerating certainty) when it says this is bred into people by evolution, but it’s true people generally aren’t interested in what’s true or false. Right and wrong play a small role in most things. A protective form of self-delusion has a far stronger role for most people.

    There’s no reason to believe this is genetic though. It’s easy to demonstrate a societal influence on it. Put people in a situation where they benefit from thinking critically, and they will mostly avoid self-delusions. That shows its a triggered effect. Teach them coping mechanisms which don’t require self-delusion, and they will resort to self-delusions less often. That suggests it is a learned effect.

    My personal view is people learn to delude themselves because this world is insane, and it’s practically impossible to grow up in the world while maintaining your sanity. To function, you have to find ways to cope with the insanity, and self-delusion is one of the easiest.

  10. @Brandon Shollenberger

    Twitter is not meant for serious conversation, or careful, meticulous parsing of arguments. It functions as a stage for clowns to posture and grandstand in the hope of raising a mob to cheer them on in their antics.

    You brought a pocket calculator to a food fight. What did you expect?

  11. Throgmorton, I don’t agree with your depiction of Twitter, but even if I did, my answer would still be the same. I expect people to be able to read simple sentences. I expect people not to come up with ludicrous interpretations based upon nothing but their imaginations.

    And when that doesn’t happen, I expect I’ll be calling people idiots. Or illiterate. Or insane. Or delusional. Or willfully incompetent. Or self-deceptive. Or any number of other things.

    If not for the character limit on Twitter, I might expect all of the above.

  12. Hi Brandon, I was only referring to the first example. I agree “Cracked” is not an ideal source for accurate information… 😉 In this article they are nice enough to link to higher quality sources in case their readers were interested in following up.

    Human beings are social animals. I don’t think we can make hard distinctions between instinctual behaviors and social conditioning. I don’t buy into the “everything is genetic” thinking, but I don’t care for the “every thing is social” thinking either.

    Generally, I think people delude themselves because it works to get them what they want. Delusion, or rather ignorance, is more the default state. People try to influence others to their own advantage, and they will use whatever skills they have in their toolbox. Being “technically correct” is generally only important when it happens to coincide with a persons interests. As soon as “correctness” seems disadvantageous, they quickly change tack.

    Learning to think well and with disinterest is a skill that most people do not consciously work on. It takes time and effort. Applying that kind of thinking strictly and across the board is even more difficult, and in many cases it may not appear the effort is worth it. It could even be seen as socially damaging. (Is that what you meant by coping mechanism?)

    A verbal debate or argument is not like a bar-fight. In most cases the losers can not tell they have lost and neither can the audience. (If a tree falls in the forest…)

  13. JamesNV, I pretty much agree with everything you just said. There is one point I want to comment on though:

    A verbal debate or argument is not like a bar-fight. In most cases the losers can not tell they have lost and neither can the audience. (If a tree falls in the forest…)

    I’m not sure if this is true in “most cases.” I’d agree it is about the opponent not recognizing he’s lost, but a good debater should be able to get an audience to recognize he has.

    Learning to think well and with disinterest is a skill that most people do not consciously work on. It takes time and effort. Applying that kind of thinking strictly and across the board is even more difficult, and in many cases it may not appear the effort is worth it. It could even be seen as socially damaging. (Is that what you meant by coping mechanism?)

    Sort of. Social damage is why one wants to avoid certain thought patterns. The coping mechanisms are what allow the individual to avoid those thought patterns.

    It’s related to the cognitive disonnance issue. Cognitive dissonance is the unpleasant sensation one gets from holding contradictory beliefs. It being unpleasant gives the individual motivation to avoid it. One way to avoid it is to think consistently Another way is to develop coping mechanisms like self-delusions.

    In other words, social damages encourage the individual to be inconsistent in their thoughts/behavior, and coping mechanisms are how the individual justifies doing so.

  14. “Social damage is why one wants to avoid certain thought patterns.”

    This a fascinating statement – pregnant with possibilities – but only- I suggest – if anyone can show how to measure “thought patterns” let alone know their consequences? 😉

  15. tlitb1, one doesn’t need to be able to measure thought patterns to demonstrate that. It’s trivially easy to demonstrate people will resort to self-delusion to reduce feelings of unpleasantness. Social damage causes such feelings. Ergo, social damage causes people to resort to self-delusion.

    It’s a generalization, but a true one. It runs deeply through society.

  16. It’s trivially easy to demonstrate people will resort to self-delusion to reduce feelings of unpleasantness.

    Is this a roundabout way to admit your “shift” delusion above? Because I am not pleased with its lack of honesty.

  17. tlitb1, this is pathetic behavior. I explained what I meant when I referred to you shifting topics in your comment. You indicated you didn’t understand. I explained it again. You ignored my explanation, and now you call what I said a “delusion.”

    If you want to have a discussion, try discussing something. Don’t just make petty remarks which serve no purpose but to insult. It wastes everybody’s time, and it makes you look ridiculous.

  18. @Brandon Shollenberger

    Hey, I am helping you out. *I* never “shifted.

    This is a construct idea that can only be invented as your cognitive ointment.

    Realize it.. 😉

  19. tlitb1, twice, I explained how you shifted. Twice, you failed to address my explanation. You can deny having done it, but so long as you simply choose to disregard what I say, it’s a waste of everybody’s time. You might as well just post, “You’re wrong, you idiot.”

  20. You claim I am “shifting” here. You don’t say I shifted in my twitter stream.

    However *I* did “shift” in my twitter stream and you missed it.

    You mentioned contemporary references in your twitter stream and *I* introduced past experiences.

    In my twitter stream it was *I* who introduced the idea of historical context, or to be less lofty I suggested the use may be differently perceived “a couple of centuries ago”.

    Can anyone guess the reason I chose “a couple of centuries ago” ?

    This was in reply to your relating your contemporary experience of being address as “my nigger”. Not knowing the context (or really caring) I wondered if that was really relevant to the experience to kids in classrooms being exposed for the first time to “classic” literature that uses similar terms in the antebellum america.

    I didn’t draw you back to the original article in my tweets because – and I ask you believe me – that I thought you may have had that article’s content in your tiny little mind.

    God knows why I though that*you* were thinking about that then but I tell you I was now.

    Whatever you are thinking …

  21. tlitb1, I have no idea why you are talking about the shift in your Twitter stream. It was obvious you shifted there. It’s also obvious that’s not what I was talking about in this current exchange.

    If you want to talk about additional topics, we can, but you cannot justify calling what I said a “delusion” by simply ignoring what I said.

  22. ‘Brandon Shollenberger
    Mate, I haven’t “shifted” in a Ho ho let’s all look at him he’s “shifted” his pant’s way either!

    You really have secured a safe zone by having prevented F-word roots 😉

  23. It was obvious you shifted [ in your Twitter stream]. It’s also obvious that’s not what I was talking about in this current exchange.

    https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/idiots-and-slavery/#comment-3338

    tlitb1:

    When you say I “shift to talking” are you saying I did this “shift” in my comment above or in my twitter replies to you?

    I’m referring to your comment here. You know, the one I specifically referenced by quoting it immediately prior to the words you’re asking about.

  24. You start by making a glib generalisation on twitter, which could have been a neat way to use twitters limitations and spark responses that could allow you to demonstrate some underlying deeper and better thought out reality, yet you remained glib and irrelevant and then get upset when you find someone doesn’t accept the glib irrelvancies and actually challenges you on them

    however the worst thing is you now seem to be waffling vaguely as if you have some pseudo psycho insight as to what is going on .in some superior insight way !?

    Coward.

  25. To clarify. Brandon is a coward because he can never be really wrong.

    In this way he is actually like Dana and Cook.

    All cut from the same cloth.

    Oh yeah Brandon will go “eek” and correct minor issues, but the troubling thing is he’ll surely use these experiences as a salve to keep him going on and pretending he’s robust to criticism.

    He clearly isn’t.

    See above 😉

  26. tlitb1, you’re now spamming. There is no reason to make five different comments in a row to express the same general view. Please learn to combine your thoughts into fewer comments. Also, please realize saying:

    I haven’t “shifted” here.

    How hard is that to see?

    Will not convince anyone. When I said you shifted, I explained why I said it. When you indicated you didn’t understand why I said it, I explained it again, in more detail. You’ve never done anything to address either explanation.

    Failing to address what people say then expressing surprise they don’t agree with you is silly. Of course people won’t see what you see if you close your eyes and refuse to look at what they say.

    To clarify. Brandon is a coward because he can never be really wrong.

    In this way he is actually like Dana and Cook.

    This is a baseless smear I routinely get from people who refuse to have anything resembling a reasonable conversation. Any time anyone thinks I’m wrong on an issue, all they have to do is quote what I said and demonstrate how it is wrong. Should they do that, I’ll respond in one of two ways: 1) I’ll point out what I see as flaws in your demonstration; 2) I’ll correct what I said.

    But you, just like so many other people who make the same accusation, refuse to do that. All you guys do is insist you’re right, ignore any rebuttal I offer then insult me for refusing to bow down and worship your opinions.

    It’s pure projection on your part.

  27. Goodness 5 comments? Did I? Like I used up some precious comment oxygen in the space ship of Brandon’s blog. How does comment numeration become spamming from “a person who sometimes comments here” ? And is essentially is the subject of this post?

    Yes I am getting ready to be banned, a coward like you would want me to let me help you wont you?

  28. “[I am somehow saying you should!?] bow down and worship your opinions”

    Eh?

    Which of my opinions is so strong that implies worship?

    I am Tol like in my “negative” criticism, I think you are projecting pal, if you cannot see this then …..

  29. tlitb1, you know it is reasonable for a blogger to tell people to not make five comments in a row when they could have expressed the same thoughts in far fewer. Any moderator at any site would likely do the same. As for your question:

    Which of my opinions is so strong that implies worship?

    You keep insisting I’m behaving poorly, foolishly or whatever else because I refuse to agree with you that you did not “shift” topics in a comment on this page. You refuse to address any explanation I provide for my comment, instead insisting it is obvious you are right. Demanding people accept your view on a topic without allowing for any discussion or disagreement is egotistical and rude. All you’re doing is waving your hands, yelling “I’m right!” and expecting me to go along with it.

    As for me being a coward, let’s remember on Twitter you recently wrote:

    Cunt should go to bed and not try call me a cunt when tired. https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/idiots-and-slavery/#comment-3376

    But when I criticized you for it, you deleted your tweet. You’re calling me a coward while covering up your own poor behavior.

  30. But when I criticized you for it, you deleted your tweet.

    Really I don’t remember seeing your response when was that? What did it say?

    From your tweets

    After calling me a cunt, @TLITB1 is now pretending it is wrong to tell him not to post five comments in a row.

    This seems a pretty egregious non-sequitur, what the hell has me calling you a c*** on twitter yesterday to do with the number of comments that *you* take exception to today?

  31. Say what? tlitb1, I pointed out you deleted your tweet after I criticized it. You respond by saying:

    Really I don’t remember seeing your response when was that? What did it say?

    But you retweeted this tweet I posted:

    Timestamps show you retweeted that shortly before making your comment here. How could you have retweeted me saying you shouldn’t do something yet not remember seeing me criticize you for doing it? Maybe you can argue semantics to say that response wasn’t actually a criticism, but there can be no doubt it was a response. Heck, if you select that tweet, Twitter will show it was made in response to this tweet of mine:

    Which not only responded to, but even quoted the tweet you say you don’t remember seeing a response to. And you retweeted that one too! How can you expect anyone to believe you “don’t remember seeing [a] response” when you retweeted two of them?

    As for your comment:

    This seems a pretty egregious non-sequitur, what the hell has me calling you a c*** on twitter yesterday to do with the number of comments that *you* take exception to today?

    Two things. First, I’d suggest your question indicates you’re bad at this. There’s no need the two aspects be tied to one another for the comment to make sense, but the connection between the two should be pretty obvious.

    Second, as a moderation rule, dodging the chat filter is not allowed. As this post notes for racial slurs, I’ll allow the academic use of most language so long as people keep it civil and relevant. When censoring a word though, that censorship must be complete.

  32. Thanks for the amusing thread, guys. It’s really quite beautiful.

    Keep up the good work.

    (Keep in mind, however, that some might hold you responsible for their decisions, and blame you for wasting their time if they decide to read it.)

  33. Hey Brandon. Your reply got me thinking and reading a bit more about cognitive dissonance. One thought that struck me was the idea that inconsistency (or dissonance) makes people uncomfortable. While I agree it is true in some cases (and I think it’s actually a good sign), I don’t think it is true in all cases, not by a long shot. It’s the old catch 22: ignorance does not recognize itself as being ignorant, and incompetence does not evaluate itself competently.

    There is more than one way to win an argument, and it often has less to do with the technical details, except to those who care. (Most don’t.) You can win a debate by appealing to the emotions of the crowd for example, or through humor, etc. Even the concept of what it means to win depends on what you are trying to get out of it. Some people are genuinely seeking greater understanding, while others are just trying to rally support for a cause. Some people want to strut their stuff and show off their intellectual prowess, while others are just looking for a brawl. Trolls win just by getting people to react.

  34. @Brandon Shollenberger
    August 2, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    That tweet existed for barely a minute – well done for noticing it copying it and re-tweeting it – but saying that you prompted it’s deletion is clearly only wishful thinking on your part. If you want to own some response I think it is probably better worth ensuring you really own it rather than just relying on plausible gaps in timing between responses.

    I deleted it utterly unprompted by you after considering the offense it could cause third parties. I’ve done this many times before with impulsive tweets I have thought better of after I made them. If I ever make an offensive tweet that I later regret, but lasts longer and or someone picks me up on, it stays up. Anyone can go on my twitter stream and embarrass me by finding those tweets. And if someone criticises me, and I see it at the time, I respond to them, at the time. I don’t surreptitiously modify. This is all only for the record, I really don’t give a flyer for any argument anyone may try and muster against that.

    If this deletion behavior of mine is an act of cowardice (and better, add idiocy 😉 ) on my part, then sure, I am a coward for not leaving up these tweets, but it doesn’t actually make a difference. Nothing is contingent upon *my* offensiveness or cowardice there. 😉

  35. JamesNV, I may have been unclear regarding the point you make about cognitive dissonance. What I was trying to say is cognitive dissonance is the unpleasant sensation a person gets when they are confronted with internal inconsistencies. People develop all sorts of coping mechanisms to avoid facing such inconsistencies. In other words, I’m completely with you on this point.

    And yup. I used to have a great book (whose name I’ve forgotten) about winning debates that went into detail about what you’re saying. The basic gist was the first thing you should do for any debate is decide what your goal is. Some of the most common goals are self-promotion, rallying support for a cause and education. You can accomplish any of those even without “winning” a debate.

    One of the best examples of that is debates hosted at colleges. College campuses often have strong biases toward particular positions. People holding the opposite position don’t go there hoping they’ll get most of the audience to agree with them. They may go there hoping to convince some people to support their cause, to sell some books or just to try to get people to think about different views. They may well achieve their goal even though the audience says the other guy “won.”

    A crude generalization is: Being right does not make people like you; being likable does. Being right helps get people to support your cause; likability has an equal role. Being likable doesn’t educate people; being right does.

  36. ==> “Being likable doesn’t educate people; being right does.

    Being likable and being right are not in opposition and being likable tends to enhance educational efficacy. .

  37. Regarding cognitive dissonance, I was just wondering aloud if a) it takes a certain level of self-awareness to be able to recognize internal inconsistencies, and b) even so, wouldn’t someone have to care to some degree before they felt any discomfort?

  38. I read some more of the twitter conversation and was reminded of the old adage: “Never wrestle with a pig in the mud. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

    Or the famous quote from Wargames: “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

    And one of my personal favourites, albeit cliched and perhaps a little less apt: “It takes two to tango.”

  39. I’m going to do some more thinking on cognitive dissonance. I’ve been familiar with the term for years, and have felt the strange nagging desire for “internal consistency” myself, but I’ve never looked into the concept very deeply. At the time I encountered it, I just accepted it as a reasonable and plausible explanation for a lot of apparently irrational beliefs. Time permitting, (and if you’re interested in chatting about it further) I will write something up and throw some ideas around just for fun.

  40. JamesNV, the problem with those addages is they’re true. Getting in certain arguments will make you look bad, even if you’re right. Even worse, they will make you look bad even if getting in them is the right thing to do. The reason is people don’t care much about right and wrong.

    I was actually toying with writing a post related to this. It’s remarkable how often one party will start a conflict yet both parties will be punished equally. My high school had a zero tolerance rule where anyone in a fight would be suspended, no matter what. That meant if somebody attacked you and you just stood there getting hit, you’d get suspended right along with them.

    The worst part about it is the aggressor would generally care less about being suspended than his victim. That meant the adminstration was making the victim suffer more than the aggressor, on top of the fact the aggressor got to beat them up!

    It’s silly, and yet, it’s incredibly common. A lot of parents do the same thing with siblings who fight, as do bosses with their employees (though usually these don’t involve fist fights). If people complain about it, that just makes everyone madder so they punish the complainant more. The net effect is to teach people bullying is rewarded.

    .

    On the topic of cognitive dissonance, I’d be happy to discuss matters more. I’m always happy to discuss any topic I bring up, but this is one I happen to find fascinating. I had a lot of problems because I couldn’t force myself to accept the many inconsistencies I came across growing up.

    For instance, I believed Santa Claus was real far longer than I should have because my parents taught me lying was wrong unless it was necessary to protect someone. It hadn’t occurred to me they’d lie when teaching me about when it’s okay to lie.

  41. @JamesNV

    I read some more of the twitter conversation and was reminded of the old adage: “Never wrestle with a pig in the mud. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

    You read “some” of the twitter conversation and can only come back with a tired cliche. Well thanks for that.

    Pretty pointless really. You’d do better to say you managed to struggle through the “whole” conversation and maybe even added on the cognitive chore of reading the original article that apparently initiated Brandon’s exploration into school curricula. I linked to it above in my first comment if you need some help.

    And this is followed by some more airy waffle about “cognitive dissonance”? Nice one 😉

  42. tlitb1, when addressing people who haven’t spoken to you, I’d advise being more respectful. Jumping into somebody else’s conversation with snideness and hostility is generally ineffective for anything other than trolling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s