Everybody’s been linking to this list of Conversational Terrorism Tactics, which also happens to be a guide to every argument that takes place in our house. Our favorites are “Lunatic Fringe”, “Selective Quotation”, and “Studies Have Shown.” (In fact, we have our own name for that last one. It’s called “Pulling a Woodroffe.”) I’ve also come up with a few additions to the list based on arguments we’ve actually had in the last week:
- “I understand [your point about space travel], but what about when the Americans killed all the Indians?”
- “Of course you’d think that [about the weather], you thieving Aussie bastard. Your ancestors were all criminals!”
- “I know you think that [women are psychologically predisposed to avoid fighting], but check out this move I once used on a huge bloke in a karate match in 1994. Okay, now I grab you ’round the neck like this…”
If a person is making a good argument that you cannot refute by any other means, make reference to some incident in their country of origin’s history that has nothing to do with the point and that they cannot refute.
Try to deflect the person from the real argument by constantly jumping up to physically demonstrate side points that have very little to do with the issue at hand.
In fact, Snookums has suggested that the very concept of “Conversational Terrorism” should be renamed “Condie Baiting”. Heh.