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November 24, 2015

Thanksgivingmanship: Your Guide to Surviving The Progressive Imbeciles Who Have Spent a Week Cramming on How to Survive You

Oxford Don Stephen Potter introduced the world to the principles of Gamesmanship, the way to win at games by resort to cheap ploys which were very close to cheating without being technically cheating. He later expanded his inquiries into the general field of "Lifemanship," the discipline of embracing life in a dickish and hostile spirit, sabotaging social rivals without quite breaching social etiquette.

Given that the progressive elder-children-yet-not-quite-adults you'll be encountering this Thanksgiving (who I will henceforth refer to as "grownchildren") will be armed to the teeth with Vox explainers and Obamacare propaganda, I herewith humbly submit these first sketches of a new branch of Lifemanship I call "Thankgivingmanship," which I define as the gentle art of insulting the stupid without alerting them to the fact that they've been insulted at all.

It is the goal of the dedicated Thanksgivingman, then, to achieve the sublime art of giving offense without offense being taken.

My basic strategy is thus: It would be as rude of you as it is rude of your cretinous grownchildren kin to allow a Thanksgiving dinner into a stupid game of Rachel Maddow Talking Points and their rebuttals.

So, rather than confront the unemployed idiots who will be assailing you, I propose instead to superficially avoid conflict and engagement on their dummy mouthflappings, and appear instead to agree with them.

But -- and here is the point -- a skilled Thanksgivingman will only appear to agree with the grownchildren to feeble intellects, such as those possessed by the grownchildren themselves. Instead of disagreeing with them -- which will cause argument and anger -- you will instead claim to agree with them, while in fact contradicting them, subverting them, of baffling them with statements that nearly, but do not quite, make sense.

Our definitions and mission now established, we turn to the first of our three primary Thanksgivingmanship gambits:

The Neutral or Nonsensical Statement Disguised as Agreement.Progressives do not process language the same way human beings do; they chiefly adduce meaning from tone and body language, like dogs.

This means that you can say many things which are either irrelevant, nonsensical, or otherwise not in agreement with the progressive subcreatures you're temporarily amidst so long as you deliver your words with a warm smile and a lot of nodding.

You may also use uptalk to express an insincere solidarity. As with dogs and babies, progressives find artificially high-pitched vocal tones to be soothing and possibly a prelude to Walkies and Snackies.

Whenever a progressive grownchild says something stupid and ignorant, which will be always, do not engage on the merits. Progressive grownchildren will become highly emotional and agitated at the slightest show of disagreement, and may wet the floor or claw at the furniture.

Instead, say something which is either neutral or nonsensical (which successfully communicates your true beliefs to other real human beings capable of deciphering obvious meaning) while deploying smiling, nodding, and uptalk to falsely convey agreement with to the more-stunted intellect of the grownchild.

For example, if a progressive grownchild says, "Rachel Maddow is just so amazing," you can respond by nodding and saying "Absolutely, Rachel Maddow is without doubt a mammal." (Or: "A mammal...?")

Possible responses to common grownchild mouthchatter include:

"Well I see that the 'Faux Noise Machice' has gotten everyone riled up about so-called 'terrorism' again."

"Doubtless! Terrorists only win when allow them to make us afraid, or dead." (Or: "Afraid, or dead...?")

"Can't people see that stupid cons are doing Just What ISIS Wants us to do?"

"It's so obvious-- the attacks in Paris weren't just an attack on human lives. They were an attack on our shared human capacity to be alive." ("To be alive, and stuff...?")

This is a very simple one, which can be deployed in a variety of contexts:

"None of this is Obama's fault -- he's doing the best he can to keep America out of another War of Choice."

"Boy that Obama-- he is really something, isn't he?"

As the evening wears on, and you are preparing to depart, you may become somewhat more blatant in your stealth insults, like so:

"I just read an explainer about this on Vox."

"Today's world is so remarkable! When I was young, we had to read books and derive our own thinking for ourselves. What a time to be alive, when sounding vaguely informed is no longer a luxury of the intellectual, but a cheaply assembled ware available to the common man!"

Fake Statistics. It was my old friend Boston Irish who alerted me to this ticklish little trope, when he observed that no matter how absurd the statistic you proposed to a progressive, if that statistic seemed to call attention to whatever bugaboos xhe was excited about, xhe would respond with a gushing "I know, right?!"

He demonstrated this to me at a party by interrupting a couple of liberals talking, and announcing to them:

"You know, based on current statistics, in ten years, the entire state of California will be homeless."

"Right! I know!" came the response.

By the way, that is not schtick. That is not a joke written for this blogpost. I was really there, he really said that, that really happened.

After having secured the agreement to his obviously-crank "statistics," he turned to me with a slightly arched eyebrow and sipped his beer in quiet triumph.

This propensity of grownchildren to agree to whatever fantastical "studies" and "statistics" you propose to them can be exploited for much private merriment at the holidays.

Other gambits include:

* "You know, the average family of four pays more in ATM fees to the Big Banksters than they spend on rent."

* "By the year 2030, global warming predicts that the entire North American landmass will be flooded by seawater and wolves."

* "99.4% of the world's wealth is controlled by six-tenths of a single person."

* "More people are killed every year by shooting accidentally shooting themselves than who died in all the wars in the world combined, except for the Korean War."

You need to throw that "Except for the Korean War" in at the end because the claim, on its face, is too preposterous, so you deduct out Korean War deaths to bring it into the real of the plausible. (Plausible, that is, for progressive grownchildren.) It makes like you've done the math and just have to make this one little adjustment to get the numbers to work.

You may follow Boston Irish's trope of the obviously-crank "liberal study" claim, or you can try your hand at claims which are simply baffling nonsense:

* "Studies have proven that if you have a gun in your house, you are more in danger of being struck by lightning than being bitten by a rattlesnake. Think about it."

A minor variation of the Fake Statistic ploy is the Fake Profundity gambit, in which you propose some ludicrous "deep thought" which derives not from social science, but from your own personal philosophical inquiry.

For example, this one is best delivered with chin uplifted, Obama-style, and a metaphysical glaze of the eye:

* "For what is it that gives the terrorists power -- their weapons, or our primitive, irrational fear that they will kill us with their weapons?"

It is generally a useful practice to prefix such bits of nonsense with faux-biblical language, such as "For what..." or "Lo" and "Thus and so."

Fake Quotes. Progressives love fake quotes -- they just love dressing up whatever passes for this week's SJW Conventional Wisdom and attributing it to some historic figure.

Generally, these historic figures are very well known, because progressives don't know any historic figures except the very well known. Thomas Jefferson is always a popular choice. For "bad sounding quotes," Hitler is preferred. Napoleon and Marcus Aurelius may be deployed as well, but be prepared for some confused looks as to who it is you're talking about.

Offering a ridiculous quote can bring you and any other lively minds at the table great amusement. Your target will probably not notice the quote is fake, because he is an imbecile, and also because you'll have a serene, self-satisfied smile on your face as you say it, which he will read as "A Fellow Progressive in Discursive Mode."

This minor camouflage will permit you to smuggle huge amounts of nonsense in the guise of Wisdom of the Ancients.

Feel free to subvert your noddingsmiles with messages that are blatantly mottos of the NRA, if only the grownchild could understand simple words, which they cannot.

For example:

"Wasn't it Mahatma Gandhi who said, 'It is not necessarily the first man to shoot who wins the battle, but it is always the last man shooting who wins the day'?"

"As Gertrude Stein said" -- and I should say here that this gambit works best when you pronounce this name, for no particular reason, in an outrageous German accent, as Gaertruude Schteinn.

So, let's begin again: "As Gaertruude Schteinn observed, 'The man who is slowest to arm himself is quickest to savor the bounties of Heaven.'"

Another gambit is to offer up the following quotes, which are applicable in a wide range of situations.

"I forget which scientist said it, maybe Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but it's worth repeating: 'Wars of religion always make me laugh because basically you're fighting over who has the best imaginary friend.'"

Or:

"A great philosopher, Gaertruud Von Schteinn, once said, 'Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true'?"

You will get big nods for these Aphorisms of the Sages. You yourself can take pleasure in the knowledge that both quotes are from the movie Point Break, delivered by Johnny Utah (Keanu Reaves) and Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), respectively.

If you get any verbal expressions of agreement, a "hear-hear" or an "amen," you can extend the joke by saying, "In the words of the spiritual master Boddhisatva, 'You can do what you want, and make up your own rules. Why be a servant to the law, when you can be its master...?" or "Six seconds and we're going to be meat waffles.'"

Make this trope your own. Have fun with it. If you want to claim that it was Niccolo Machiavelli who first advised, "Sweep the leg, Johnny," go with it, but try to get your more subtle Fake Quotes in before "going big" like that.

A Final Word. At some point, even an experienced Thanksgivingman will go too far, and give his game away. At that point, there will be sulks and silences, and the Thanksgivingman will have actually failed at his goal, which is to give offense without offense being taken.

In such straits, the Thanksgivingman, in order to be the polite person he wishes to be, will have to apologize -- it is the verminous grownchildren who have come to bicker and strife, after all, not the well-mannered Thankgivingman.

However, for the zealous Thanksgivingman, even an apology can be exploited for further Thanksgivingmanship points.

For example, if the childanimal you are speaking with declares:

"You're micro-aggressing me."

...then be sure to respond,

"Ah, then please sincerely accept my most micro apologies."


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posted by Ace at 04:35 PM

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