Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How To Win An Argument

One of the best movies I saw this year was The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington, Forest Whittaker, Kimberly Elise, and John Heard. It illustrates the power of good debate. It's a riveting film about the south. It's also a riveting film. Period.

For all the people who have hurled epithets on the blogosphere and have had name-calling shouting matches rooted in passion, please rent this movie. It demonstrates how you can't win any argument by taking down your opponent. 97% of people are firmly entrenched in their own beliefs so you gain nothing by making them wrong. Quote your side, rave about your position, point out your qualities and you might make some headway and piss off less readers.

If you read Dooce, you know she received a death threat for her anti-Palin position. She was hostile and accusatory and way over the top and obviously pissed off some readers, which she can certainly afford to lose. If you read Jennsylvania, a very vocal Republican, you know she's stayed out of the fray because to quote her:

And no matter what I'd try to say or the facts and figures I could dredge up, the simple truth is everyone has different views because all of us come from different circumstances. Our individual histories influence each of our unique perspectives.

Rent the movie. And let your kids see it. Show them how to argue effectively without shaming others. The truth is that everyone thinks they're right and no one thinks they're wrong. Why waste bandwith trying to manipulate? Who do you think you are, my mother?

And just so this post doesn't suck for the People Who Can't Let It Go, I'm at Uproarious today talking about what a loud mouth, disruptive and boundary-less person I am. And how I got dumped by someone who agreed with me. So there.

End of chat.


  1. I love arguing but I despise fighting. Sadly, most arguments, it seems, end up as fights so I've learned to keep my trap shut.

    Debating only works if the other side also knows that it is merely a debate. The minute anything is taken personally-- to quote Pat Cooper-- it's over.

  2. ***The minute anything is taken personally-- to quote Pat Cooper-- it's over.***

    I certainly proved that point when 2 men called me names. Mercifully, they're both gone now.

  3. A rational debate is a thing to treasure, but rare indeed when it comes to politics. Unfortunately, that includes the politicians themselves - the trend seems to be 'how low can we go'.

  4. Anonymous4:12 PM

    i have seen some blogs that just keep blasting at one side or the other- i'm sick of it.

  5. I haven't read Dooce in a while, so I'm missed the controversy.

    The polarization in our society right now is very sad.

  6. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Im pretty sure it happens every 4 years only you and I werent blogging then, Jenn.


  7. Everyone should just settle it on jerry springer.

  8. So, calling names is wrong? I guess I have some apologies to make.