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August 12, 2014

Argument-Bullying and Why It's Dumb

I saw this in Geraghty's Morning Jolt, and I planned on quoting it.

But I see (via, get this, Hot Air) that he's now posted it in his Campaign Spot column.

I mean "Argument-Bullying" kind of ironically, as I don't support claiming everything under the sun is "bullying."

Still, it reminds me of something @conartcritic said the other day: The most pointlessly boring discussions consist of one person who's yelling, yelling at another person who's yelling, that he's not yelling in quite the right way.

A writer calling herself "Selina Kyle" objected to James O'Keefe's Osama-crosses-the-Rio-Grande stunt, finding it dumb, or low, or somehow beneath her. Eric Bolling, on The Five, made a similar claim.

I don't really get this. Certainly there are pitches that are more elevated than others; more serious than others; more thoughtful than others; more subtle than others.

Such pitches are important.

But those aren't the only form of useful writing. They're one form of useful messaging, and, indeed, I would agree with Eric Bolling and "Selina Kyle" that the right needs more of that sort of messaging, and less of the viral Hammertime messaging we're churning out.

But unsubtle messages can be useful. So can less-than-serious messages. So can funny messages.

I see this a lot on the right where people are perpetually arguing about what tone we should have in All of Our Messages.

We should have a consistent tone in all of our messages? We have to be on precisely the same page as far as subtlety, seriousness, and decorousness in all of our messages?

Completely different writers with completely different styles and completely different psychologies and completely different audiences should get together to agree upon a Unified Tone in messaging?

What?

There is a creepiness to uniformity, and an egocentrism to it as well. No one ever argues, when formulating a Uniform Rule That Shall Guide Us All, for any other rule than that which appeals to oneself.

For example, you would never hear me say "People on the right need to Stop Making Dick Jokes; it's killing the movement." Obviously, for purely egocentric reasons, I would always postulate that a dick joke every now and again could be useful.*

And so pretty much everyone, when they get on this ridiculous subject of The One Unified Message and Tone Which We Must All Propagate In Unison, urges, coincidentally enough, the precise sort of message that appeals to they themselves, and the precise sort of message that they themselves are most comfortable making.

We are, Get This, different people. We have different priorities, different backgrounds, different cultures, different aspirations, different tastes.

It is inevitable we should favor different styles of argument and different tones in those arguments.

We are not all the Same Person.

Can we all agree on this obvious proposition and stop trying to bully everyone into sharing our particular, idiosyncratic idea of The Proper Culture?


* The true analog here would be for me to claim: "You know why William F. Buckley didn't get through to most people? He didn't make enough Dick Jokes. His methodology was deficient and cowardly."



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posted by Ace at 03:25 PM

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