04 March 2010

How to handle personal attacks

It's always a pleasure, in part because of how rare and difficult it is, to see someone respond well to a host of personal attacks.  One of those exceptional, and funny, responses is from Rebecca Watson, the 'skepchick'.  Apparently quite a few folks have decided that rather than respond to the content of her arguments, they'll comment about her eyebrows and other such irrelevancies. 

Follow through to the end of the video to her exactly correct conclusion about such arguments.

h/t Pharyngula


Anonymous said...

I too am a woman with bushy eyebrows, crooked teeth, and a strong beautiful voice.

Love this!

Alastair said...

On a similar theme, I recently realised that I receive angry responses from people who have been proved wrong. There is nothing more infuriating than the loss of face caused by being proved wrong, or even because you cannot think of a reply and so have been proved a fool.

On this side of the Pond we were always taught that when you lose your temper you have lost the argument. But it seems that in hte US the opposite is true. If you lose your temper then you must be right! (Actually that is true, not just right, but far right, or even Neocon :-)

So, perhaps that is what is driving the anger of the Tea Party brigade - they are really wrong!

There is just one catch to this idea. Every time I get angry, over people like the Tea Party brigade, or other climate change deniers, I am now forced to stop and think. If I am getting angry is it me who is wrong?

Horatio Algeranon said...

Alastair says it seems that in the US ... If you lose your temper then you must be right!

Horatio agrees with most of what you say, with just one minor tweak:

In the US, if you lose your temper, it means there is probably a very good chance that you are right, but the real clincher is if you lose your mind. Then it is virtually 100% certain that you are right(if not correct)

But as far as personal experience with the subject under discussion...

No one has yet criticized Horatio's bushy eyebrows or his crooked smile or even his tiny brain...though Horatio does not allow comments on his blog, which may have something to do with it.

Horatio decided from the getgo that comments might actually make far more sense than his mostly goofy poems (ie make them look bad).

Better not to take that chance.

Robert Grumbine said...

Now you're set for your response next time someone tries that line on you!

I'll take a different line than Horatio ...
I think in the US over the last 30 (50?) years there has been a progression to a new idea. From my understanding of earlier eras here, we used to be like you and figure lose your temper = lose the argument. (In some of those earlier periods, verbal argument wasn't much concern, but that's a different matter.)

Here and now, though, I think it's a matter that losing your temper is taken as being 'authentic' -- truly caring about what you're discussing. And, that it is more important to be 'authentic' than to know what you're discussing. Certainly many a TV or radio host spends much time yelling at his guests rather than than advancing reasoned argument or engaging in discussion.

Per the original ... I differ in many ways from Hollywood-approved looks. If, as has happened, someone goes to talking about my appearance, I know they've got nothing meaningful to say.

neil said...

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