Be Cooler

Day 1. 57 pages, 20,973 words. Don’t get too excited though, most of that was stuff that I’d already written as part of the series arc and is now (obviously) going into the final book: I didn’t write 57 pages in a day.

I ran into an interesting link a friend posted on Facebook the other day. It was about debate, and how to engage ideological opponents without condescension or mockery, and thus be most likely to achieve a successful outcome. Here’s the important excerpt:

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.[“]
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

It transforms your opponent into a more receptive audience for your criticism or dissent, which in turn helps advance the discussion.

It was all pretty obvious when you look at it, but it’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds. And I speak as someone who has been trying to live by these rules since … ooh, at least 2013. And I started debating online in the late ’90s.

I did, however, also debate – and coach debate, a bit – at school in the early ’90s, and back then these rules were golden. If you couldn’t adhere to them, then you had no place debating. Now of course, the aim in an academic debate is to make your own argument and destroy the opposing argument, so you want to get through these stages as quickly as possible and get on with your “But…” statement. Still, the philosophy was there.

I wonder why it went away. I suspect it’s as simple as “the Internet made it easier for us to be lazier, and angrier, and have our opinions validated.”

Well, this is unfortunate, but I will do my part to ensure that it remains a tradition.

Oh, and by the way. I figured out what is wrong with the world today, and how we can fix it. I’m going to provide an itemised list and take us point by point through the issue, and solve the collapse of our species into a heavily-armed mass of foaming hate-monkeys once and for all. Stay with me on this, it gets a bit complicated.

  1. A lot of people still haven’t watched Zootopia.

Yeah, no, that’s all. That’s all it is. Holy shit.

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8 Responses to Be Cooler

  1. stchucky says:

    Now I come to think about it, were there any monkeys or apes in that movie? I don’t remember seeing any, but I’m sure there must have been in the rainforest habitat or something. Holy fucking shit, were they left out because they just couldn’t evolve to get over their base responses? Did they get left behind by the enlightened animals?

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    I like your answer better, too! And I’m glad you enjoyed the movie…I agree, it seems ENORMOUSLY important to me.

    Now, I would like to critique your blog entry.
    1. Your position is I should follow these rules, correct?
    2. I don’t agree.
    3. I’ve learned a lot from you.
    4. I think it’s more effective to shout and insult. But of course, I mostly deal with trolls when I debate, so that might be the problem right there.

  3. aaronthepatriot says:

    Circling back to this one after a day when I dumped 3 more youtubers, 2 on the right-wing and one on the left, first time for that in…ever? I realized that I dumped them in part because of violations of these instructions! Now, the other part of why I dumped them is extremism…which is part of some of the violation of these rules, but also a more general issue. I’m just fucking SICK of extremism in all forms. If these terrorist attacks lately have caused that I guess it’s like the tiniest silver lining ever, but that’s a dark thought so let’s move on.

    So to the violations, just to mention, one right-winger was dumped because of violating rule 1 in completely misrepresenting TYT’s position. Oh that’s the third thing that can piss me right off: attacking TYT when you’re a fucking non-American who doesn’t have a goddamn clue the importance of TYT to America right now.

    Anyway, the second right-winger was dumped for the same. The liberal, I’m ashamed (for him) to say was dumped because from a pretty long video with some really valid points (anti-SJW questions that, actually, had a good bit of merit in some cases), he found a way to just disagree with EVERY point. Sorry, man…been pissing me off for a while and I expect better from a liberal. If you can’t admit when your “opponents” cite valid grievances, you’re really not worth my time.

    Anyway it was interesting to see that this list does matter to me, in practicality, all joking aside.

    • stchucky says:

      Absolutely. And isn’t it all part of the same package? Extremism is adherence to a fringe view in rejection of all alternative viewpoints and attempts to reach peaceful and progressive compromise. Basically point by point, a refusal to follow these steps when exchanging opinions is a recipe for extremism.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Very true. And I recognize, too, that extremism is the best way to get more name recognition these days. Maybe that’s another reason I detest it.

      • stchucky says:

        Speaking of YouTube and your ragequits, it did get me thinking that a lot of the best channels are the ones that seem to adhere to these guidelines. They acknowledge the opposition, state their case, list points that both sides can learn from. As I originally said, it’s all pretty obvious really, and it’s equally obvious why this shit doesn’t fly in comments wars and Like-counts. It’s because there’s too much other shit flying around.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Yup. That’s definitely where I start to find my safe spaces…channels where there is reasoned discussion of the points and a plea for rationality and sanity. If you follow those rules, you can even be a little conservative and I’ll stay subscribed. But, only a little. I just don’t need to be subjected to irresponsible irrationality.

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