“Derailing for Dummies” — How to Sabotage Civility and Ruin Conversation!

30 01 2011

Derailing for Dummies is a major collection, not one article. Here are the section headings:

Just follow this step-by-step guide to Conversing with Marginalised People™ and in no time at all you will have a fool-proof method of derailing every challenging conversation you may get into, thus reaping the full benefits of every privilege that you have. . .

Read on, and learn, and remember… you don’t have to use these in any particular order! In fact, mixing them up can really keep those Marginalised People™ on their toes! After all, they are pretty much used to hearing this stuff, so you don’t want to get too predictable or they’ll get lazy!

If You Won’t Educate Me How Can I Learn
If You Cared About These Matters You’d Be Willing To Educate Me
You’re Being Hostile
But That Happens To Me Too!
You’re Being Overemotional
You’re Just Oversensitive
You Just Enjoy Being Offended
Being Offended Is Great For You
*********
Don’t You Have More Important Issues To Think About
You’re Taking Things Too Personally
It’s Only The Internet!
You’re Not Being Intellectual Enough/You’re Being Overly Intellectual
You’re Interrogating From The Wrong Perspective
You’re Arguing With Opinions Not Fact
Your Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone
Unless You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won’t Believe It
I Don’t Think You’re As Marginalised As You Claim
Aren’t You Treating Each Other Worse Anyway
But If It’s Okay For Marginalised People To Use Those Words, Why Can’t I?
*********
But You’re Different To The Others
But It’s True! – NEW!
Well I Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees!
I’m Just Saying What Other People Believe. I Never Said I Agree
I Said SOME Marginalised People Do That, Not ALL
“It’s A Conspiracy!” – NEW
You Have An Agenda – NEW
A In B Situation Is Not Equivalent To X In Y Situation
Anything You Can Do – NEW!
*********
But I’m Not Like That – Stop Stereotyping! – NEW!
You’re Just Suffering Privilege Envy – NEW!
Who Wins Gold in the Oppression Olympics?
You Have A False Consciousness
You’re Not Being A Team Player
You’ve Lost Your Temper So I Don’t Have To Listen To You Anymore
You Are Damaging Your Cause By Being Angry
You’re As Bad As They Are
Surprise! I Was Playing “Devil’s Advocate” All Along!

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34 responses

30 01 2011
SandySays1

How about if you don’t agree with me I’ll do my best to humiliate you, make you look stupid, and ruin your life. Sorry I’ve been reading the political blogs on both sides this morning. How revolting! Sandy

30 01 2011
JJ

And the “on both sides” thing is itself often partly true yet unfortunately in discussion, it’s another way to keep from getting to truth instead. False equivalency.

Maybe the moral of the story no matter what the issue, is it’s not the other guy but our own thoughts and words and memes each of us can best apply this to. I’ve been thinking about it as a sort of check on myself, all morning. 😉

30 01 2011
JJ

Nance and I got quite an online education in derailing for dummies from homeschool discussions, mainly the NHEN forums and HEM email groups.

30 01 2011
Lynn

What a terrific resource. Unfortunately, I’m lazy and there’s too much to read. Isn’t there a scripted FOXY friend who could distill it all down for me to a handful of catchy punchlines?

31 01 2011
JJ

How about Monty Python videos, better than Beck surely? And great punchlines . . .

From an older trip around the mulberry bush Lynn and I enjoyed together, about ways to confound debate and argue about arguing:

Need we first argue to define good argument?

To that point, I’m surprised you missed this Python definition of argument! 🙂

I laughed at that in the 70s because it was really absurd while Bill Buckley was doing Firing Line on PBS for real — breathing life into intellect and intellect into argument and argument into television.

Initially, Cleese simply contradicts everything that Palin says. Palin insists that it is not an argument but merely contradiction and asserts that “argument’s an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gain-saying of anything the other person says.” Cleese asserts that, to have an argument, he must “take up a contrary position.” Palin is frustrated until he realises that Cleese is actually engaging him in a sort of meta-argument about what constitutes an argument.

But it’s not so funny when television and real life become one big intellectually bankrupt contradiction clinic 24-7.

I think of “good argumentation” much like, ahem, other forms of healthy human intercourse. 😉

It is meant as a creative force to uplift, connect and sustain virtues rather than do harm to anyone directly or indirectly through vice and self-indulgence. It is “good” intercourse and fun to share with the right person for the right reasons, when it’s neither deceptive, regressive nor retrogressive, iow more than masturbatory; never when it breeds violence, degradation of people, ideas or the planet, thus no, argument is not good as “mental warfare” except if CLEARLY defined and understood by all as healthy consensual sport, not actual war.

So, not blaming the Pythons but “good argument” is in a sorry state, at least here in the States. In our new American dictionary any “politics” is venal and mostly vice, not good argument. Politics purposely exploiting faith traditions and doing harm in a quest for power, may indeed meet various legal definitions of crime, including conspiracy to defraud.

In my dictionary, through my kaleidoscope.

Maybe our kaleidoscopes are so different now that common English dictionary definitions aren’t common enough to serve us well in argument anymore? — and/or working definitions of even common words are too specialized for clear thought.

And the point of making points well through argumentation was to help illuminate the question from all angles for the thinking audience, to use different facets of it to bounce the light around. Bill Buckley, not Bill O’Reilly. To use our dictionaries and kaleidoscopes for good and not evil. By definition, not to bludgeon each other into numbness, concussion and serial loss of consciousness with deception, sophistry and contradiction.

By that definition maybe there are no good arguments anymore.

I looked up dictionary definitions of “argument” and another element often listed is defining the question. Subsequent comments this morning seem to suggest that here the central question wasn’t actually argument analysis of Frank Schaeffer but more counterpoint or rebuttal to Lynn’s post, sort of FOX and MSNBC slugging it out rather than mutually delighting in the intercourse? Not how I framed my argument nor indeed, how I understood the defining of this question.

Cat’s always a gracious host but I’m prepared to argue that even here and even for smart folks, it’s a dying art to share a good joke across definitions and contentious world views, much less a good argument. I’ve unintentionally spoiled this sketch by taking it seriously but in my book, as good argument that parrot is, by anybody’s definition, DEAD.

31 01 2011
Lynn

re: confounding debate

Ugh, I remember Cat. In the end, she actually illustrated the good sense of one of Schaeffer’s points: Sometimes, it’s better to leave those uninterested in genuine discourse on their (figurative) mountain tops and move forward without them. Really, I’m supposed to take seriously a list of “22 fallacies” committed by Schaeffer (and myself and my readers) according to someone who freely admits that she doesn’t “care to cultivate” “US political knowledge”? (Sounds sorta like my list of 22 disagreements I have with a book I never read.)

I also didn’t care for her “tonal colour.” 😉

1 02 2011
JJ

Speaking of tonal “colour” some of us will remember a master derailer who called himself Red Hat Rob and drove all of us away from what once had been a useful and determinedly diverse place for sharing news and good argument about homeschool and other education legislation.

I wondered how he was able to come in so late and blow the place up so smugly and thoroughly that its owner thought WE all suddenly were the problem (after years of knowing us to be intellectually honest thinkers and talkers.)

So I checked the guy out and it turns out he used all the Schaeffer techniques. He runs a “study center” that adulates Schaeffer. These days I would have forgotten him except he’s posting on Scott Somerville’s legal-political FaceBook threads, promptly derailing every discussion in which I dare to comment. It works — I stop when he starts. I’m sure he’s just as smug as he was crowing about derailing real discussion before, and feels his work has again been done.

1 02 2011
Lynn

I missed out on Red Hat Rob. Is he any match for Tanzania Lynn (from my blog)?

1 02 2011
JJ

Lol – I couldn’t say. is she a published author and did she do graduate study in history and humanities at Stanford? Unlike Queen of Derailin’ Palin, woefully uneducated and stubbornly staying that way, this guy has no excuse that good argument can justify for how twisted his twisting is.

But we all know what that sounds like, no need to seek out more examples, right?? So instead here’s an example of honestly opening up each other’s thinking in discussion rather than derailing it: Lynn might remember the Christian yet very practical Mrs. C from conversations here? Last week she blogged the mom jailed for using a family address in a better school zone, to enroll her kids in that better school. The head she chose was, “It’s Called STEALING” and many commenters emphasized law and order, plus fairness to taxpayers rather than kids. The mom was cheating and stealing from good folks, by getting a more expensive education than her kids deserved. At least Rosa Parks paid for her bus ticket before breaking the law about where she could sit, etc.

Then I posed school attendance policy perspective as questions for more thought, not to argue they were wrong to see this one case as breaking school law, just to add on and fill out the bigger picture of school law as broken. So a fine time was had by all! 😉

*************
. . .some homeschooling parents risked jail to break the school rules back in the 80s. For their children. Were they cheats, too? Or is that okay because it wasn’t a tax complaint?

Thanks for straightening out my misunderstanding, that in this particular case it was the granddad, not the dad, living in the school’s district. Also for realizing that in the larger picture, it doesn’t matter. She still would have been a criminal, and she’s just one case in a much bigger mess of public and private problems with dysfunctional school system rules, funding schemes and conflicting ideas about education.

You’re right that immigrant children (usually citizens themselves regardless of rules about their parents) are part of America’s school-rule problems, trying to access the education some of our rules guarantee them, at the same time other rules make it unreasonably hard or even impossible for them to get!

If we’re both right that both are wrong, that she did break the law (in this specific case) AND that we together have broken the law (literally, as in our laws and schools don’t work to serve us well) — then it’s time for fixing the law, and if that takes hanging together rather than hanging separately, well, American rebels do have that tradition. 😉 Or we could just keep trying to control each other and keep punishing ourselves and everyone else over all the breakage that broken authority creates, from laws and rules to hearts and dreams.

About homeschoolers breaking the law, you said: “we have a right to the possession of our homes and property and children.” Children are above possessions but leaving that point for the moment, then wouldn’t this cover not just homeschool rebels but regular schooling parents who wind up as truancy court defendants? MANY more parents are in court paying fines and even going to jail for not sending kids to school, than for sending them to school despite rules keeping them out. What about those laws? I know homeschoolers who judge them harshly, condemn them even.

No matter what we use school rules to punish parents for, though, the bottom line is that innocent children lose out on the education we say we’re guaranteeing them.

The least fortunate urban children have parents with no choice or even no parents, just fosters, granddads or marginally less poor relations. So they tend to get moved around several times each school year, bunking with different relatives, friends, campgrounds and cars, in temporary assistance shelters.

Never mind that school rules like attendance and homework pale in importance for kids trapped in such an unstable reality. Let’s just look at the specific school zone rule about where they can or cannot enroll.

Must they change schools every few weeks to stay legal with where they are sleeping that month? That’s what putting the residency rule and taxpayer concerns above actual children’s needs would require, isn’t it? What about the thousands of literally homeless children in urban districts with no address at all? The law says they must go to school and perhaps they want to — but where? Does that mean by the letter of the law they cannot attend any public school, because they don’t live anywhere at all? Or conversely should they get total choice by just picking any street-corner sidewalk wherever they please?

Fixing what’s broken would mean figuring out what’s fair and educationally sound for the kids, moral for the community and manageable for the system. Back in the 80s we had well over a thousand such children, about the same percentage as homeschoolers represent now, in our suburban school district. The economy was better then. With unemployment and foreclosure It must be worse now. For example, homeless schoolchildren doubled in NYC last year which in one school, was twenty percent of the kids!

1 02 2011
Lynn

Interesting story about state jobs offered to “undereducated” students. Is it an attempt at “levelling the playing field” or affirmative action for students who didn’t have the good fortune to be educated in “ritzy” districts? Do the stories tie together in that kind of way?

It’s also interesting to me that it’s the state government of Tennessee that says aloud what a lot of us know about many religious homeschools: the education that these children get is not only… different, but contrary to the purpose of government which to represent the rights of all citizens equally. If you’ve been groomed for employment through which you’ll work to “take back government” for Christianity, go hook up with a privately-funded “study center” somewhere.

I can’t remember if I’ve shared this story before. A few years back, I went to a new dermatologist (at a time that I was having a skin cancer scare). I really liked him. He was young, but seemed knowledgeable. He actually apologized for keeping me waiting. It was only his bio that gave me pause: he had been homeschooled in a family doing missionary work in Africa. I didn’t have the guts to ask him which curriculum package his mom used. (If he had said BJU or Abeka, etc., I would have made a dash for the door.) Was his mom a Tanzania Lynn? No way to know. I stayed for the appt. but I had to make a pragmatic, educated guess about him. It was treatment for skin cancer after all; not a common cold. Ultimately, I found another doctor.

So, homeschoolers have a legal right to teach ancient mythology in place of history, conspiracy theories in place of science, dominionism in place of civic responsibility; but don’t expect people who know better to hire your children.

(I’m such a flamethrower, I know.)

1 02 2011
Lynn

oops. I made a coding mistake. 😦

1 02 2011
Lynn

I also forgot to mention that I’d regard grads from certain private religious schools in the same way.

1 02 2011
Nance Confer

Have Mrs. C and her brethren never heard of civil disobedience in the face of injustice?

1 02 2011
Nance Confer

Oh, that would be a disturbing diploma to see on the wall. . . Mom’s University of Science is Sin!

1 02 2011
Nance Confer

Loser Limbaugh is a fan of RHR?? LMFAO!! Do we need to know anything else about this jerk?

Except that he has disruptive powers. . .but still. . . why does Scott put up with him?

1 02 2011
COD

So let me see if I understand this. The conservatives are opposed to parents embracing free market principals and sending their kids to the school that is best for them?

1 02 2011
JJ

By George, I think he’s got it! Oh, and they are opposed to me being able to get affordable medical care for my kids too.

1 02 2011
JJ

Nance, sadly, he and Scott are of one mind and mouth these days. Perhaps it was ever so and I was just too enamoured of my own little mental exercises and thought experiments to see it . . .

Lynn, you said: Is it . . .affirmative action for students who didn’t have the good fortune to be educated in “ritzy” districts? Do the stories tie together in that kind of way? Interesting! I tend to see connections everywhere but didn’t see this one — will have to think on it. I do think the failure to connect is quite literally the problem, the one I’m having with these folks and the one they are having between ideas and positions and principles they themselves espouse from issue to issue and case to case. If we connected “school reform” and “health care reform” for example, what would it look like in my world view and in theirs? Which would be more human and humane, as in pro-life say, and which would be a not-human corporate callousness to human concerns? Would there be any room for them to join together in one nation or would civil war (again) be inevitable?

1 02 2011
Nance Confer

So Mrs. C can’t afford ritzy schools and therefore nobody else in her income bracket should go to them. That and the idea that people choose to live in poor neighborhoods and can just choose otherwise. That’s what I got just now from visiting her blog.

How white is Mrs. C? There seems to be another message (which will instantly be denied, of course) that this is just another black woman getting away with something.

Where are the Christians indignant that citizens of this country are pitted against one another to get their innocent children a decent education?

1 02 2011
JJ

Exactly Nance! And in health care. I brought that up this afternoon in Scott’s thread about Vinson throwing the whole 2,000-page bill out over his one provision’s concern, brought it up as in asking WWJD, and was told it wasn’t relevant to their discussion! LMAO!

1 02 2011
Nance Confer

I thought Jesus was supposed to be relevant every friggin’ minute of the day, no matter the topic under discussion, even if you have to wedge him into the conversation with a two-by-four. I will never understand this odd religion.

1 02 2011
Lynn

JJ: “If we connected “school reform” and “health care reform” for example, what would it look like in my world view and in theirs?”

In theirs? I don’t follow these people, but I’d guess that they’d prefer to strip government social services bare and leave education and health care to the so-called free market. The Gospel of “Sink or Swim,” so to speak. The Good News of “As Long As I Have Mine.”

Maybe they should take a look at Matthew 25:38, 41-46:

38 (The Lord) will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

41 Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
44 They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?
45 He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Uh-oh.

2 02 2011
JJ

That would make a wonderful group blog name: UH-OH
What do you think? 😉

2 02 2011
Lynn

http://uh-oh.blogspot.com
Check Availability
Sorry, this blog address is not available
😦

2 02 2011
JJ

What a waste, and that hasn’t even been active in almost a decade. Oh well. Think it’s available on wordpress?

2 02 2011
Lynn

[JJ de-linking Lynn’s uh-oh dot find, but apparently that can’t prevent it still being a, shall we say, “hot” link?] 😉

2 02 2011
Nance Confer

uh-oh indeed. Warning to the innocent among us – surely there are some 🙂 – the last link is to porn. Now, don’t all rush. .. .

And JJ — that’s so sad about Scott’s mind.

2 02 2011
Lynn

Uh-oh. Was I supposed to add a warning? [cringe] Sorry about that.

2 02 2011
JJ

What do you USUALLY do with your porn links, Lynn?! 😉

2 02 2011
JJ

Which would be more human and humane, as in pro-life say, and which would be a not-human corporate callousness to human concerns? Would there be any room for them to join together in one nation or would civil war (again) be inevitable?

Young Son and I were looking for the audiobook station on satellite radio in the car (we’re still playing with it) and when we found channel 167, it wasn’t a book but an interview airing, an author interview we suppose. A Chinese-accented little (sounding) man was asked what the “Chinese Dream” was, if any, akin to the “American Dream.” We all know the American Dream is about enough money to be independent and enough independence to make more money.

So this little man said softly that the Chinese Dream was for “harmony” in private life and in public life. Then he was asked about religion and he said it was a spiritual dream, yes, but the three main religions in China (Christian wasn’t one) all shared the one dream of harmony with each other for the greater good. One of those three – Confucianism — he described as more social/political than straight religious, and it makes me wonder if conservative Christianity American-style takes after it, only not in a very dreamy way.

3 02 2011
Lynn

“What do you USUALLY do with your porn links, Lynn?!”

Usually, in my posts that link porn, I try to use a font that dots all the i’s with little hearts. I think I forgot this time because SOMEbody had just (accidentally?) sent me on a domain name scavenger hunt that ended up at a porn site. 😉

3 02 2011
Nance Confer

Well, this has certainly been an educational post. 🙂

3 02 2011
JJ

[huffily] Of course it was accidental! I MEANT to send you to a scholarly porn site instead, all about “Mistress Jade” who I am not making up!

Judge Faults U. of New Mexico’s Handling of Phone-Sex Scandal

A state-court judge has rebuked the University of New Mexico over its handling of a professor who participated with current and former students in a sadomasochistic phone-sex operation. The judge ruled that administrators there effectively drove one faculty member who voiced concerns about her colleague’s extracurricular activities to leave her job . . .

The case. . . is one of several legal disputes stemming from the university’s treatment of complaints against Lisa D. Chávez, a tenured associate professor of English, after she was discovered in 2007 moonlighting as the phone-sex dominatrix “Mistress Jade.”

The faculty members who complained about Ms. Chávez said they were especially concerned that she had posed in promotional pictures for the phone-sex company sexually dominating one of her own graduate students.

4 02 2011

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