Sometimes you just want to tell bickering pundits to shut up
Every once in a while something absolutely delightful happens that makes writing about politics and social issues worth it. It’s been a rough go of late, and it’s been hard to write about current events. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Cromnibus, shooting massacres, the clear biases of our highest court, America’s sadistic torture policies, social upheaval and unrest, corporations recognized as people, North Korea scaring everyone away from a stupid Seth Rogen movie, and Lindsey Graham. So, thank goodness for Joy Woodhouse.
If you’re like me, sometimes you just want to tell bickering political pundits to shut the hell up. Once opponents begin hollering over one another, the discussion has ended. Debate has been abandoned, reason cast aside, and comparisons of urination streams have begun in earnest.
Before I began releasing political and social perspectives, I was a member of multiple debate groups on Facebook. While interesting at first, they ultimately grew far more frustrating than fulfilling. Nobody ever really “wins” a debate there. Points are rarely conceded, civility is a joke, and not enough people change their opinions in the face of contradicting facts. Threads often devolve into a carousel of “Nuh-UH” and insulting each other’s heritage.
This has carried over into releasing these writings as well. Nary a piece gets out that I am not insulted, told I’m unintelligent, or am otherwise exposed to keyboard commandos who would never say the things they do online to my face. But that’s the price of the interwebz. If you want an argument, goes the saying, express an opinion, then wait.
Now don’t get me wrong, insulting somebody’s heritage is a fine foundation upon which to build a friendship. Some of my dearest and lifelong friends will greet me and each other with horrible slander against each other’s Moms. Some of that is apparent even in debate groups.
Back in my bar/restaurant days, vicious threats against a co-worker’s family were so commonplace as a sign of camaraderie that a failure to do so meant you were actually angry with that person. You would have to apologize for your failure to mention your desire to devour their children and follow that up by insinuating they fornicated with a goat that morning. This was done in order to assure that everything was cool between you.
Say, ever hear of The Aristocrats? The incredibly offensive joke where you freestyle horrors of a natural, un-natural, familial, sexual, and scatological nature in an attempt to gross your (hopefully private) audience out more than they gross you out? That should give you the idea of the type of thing that would pass between friends. Here’s Gilbert Gottfried giving an example.
But I’ve been sidetracked. The point I’m trying to make is that there is a time and a place for that sort of thing and it’s usually with friends, or with people you see on a regular basis. They understand this kind of thing is based on familiarity. You certainly don’t tell someone you’re in a debate with that they are, say, a necrophiliac pedophile. Not if you wish to accomplish anything.
However, threatening the life of the child of someone you don’t know is always out of line. Especially if all they have done is express an opinion different than yours. The time for offensiveness is between friends, not in debates or in comments below articles.
No matter what side of the gun debate you weigh in on, for example, pro-gun advocates have issued multiple threats against me and my family, and that can’t be condoned. The debate became secondary to just attacking me, and I’ve only been doing this for a year at this point. It’s amazing that they feel so threatened they feel the need to attempt intimidation at such an invasive level.
Many people have a tendency to drag a debate into the mud. Instead of conceding a point, they go on the attack. Now, instead of listening or even pretending to engage in discourse, they cast aspersions on each other’s characters, and correlate an opposing opinion with ethically questionable behavior.
“Oh you support Gay Marriage? You must condone bestiality!” We’ve all seen this sort of thing in just about every debate. Unfortunately, it’s a common tactic, used more often than actual discourse. It’s something I’ve often wished would disappear. Nobody ever steps in and reprimands the parties for engaging in such immaturity.
And this brings us to the Woodhouse brothers. Dallas, a Republican, and Brad, a Democrat. The two fraternal pundits got into an increasingly heated discussion about the political divisiveness in the USA, and whether or not this was normal to all families.
They put on a good show, those Woodhouse brothers, and they were just warming up. They weren’t really accomplishing much but they were good television I guess. You could see the heavy aspersions getting prepped for usage. Character was about to be thrown into question as their debate topic, long forgotten, was thrown away.
Then the phone rang.
Thusly, did Joy take her bickering Woodhouse boys to the woodshed. It was an immensely satisfying moment.
“I disagree that all families are like ours. I don’t know many families that are fightin’ at Thanksgiving. I was very glad that this Thanksgiving was a year that you two were supposed to go to your in-laws,”
Mrs Woodhouse continued berating her sons as they sat petulantly, like toddlers caught in the cookie jar. She finished with this gem:
“I’m hoping that you’ll have some of this out of your system when you come here for Christmas. I would really like a peaceful Christmas.”
One can only hope this will start some kind of trend, where pundits talking over each other are shut down for their unproductive immaturity. Being reminded that they need to be accountable to their parents and families would do everyone on both sides of the divide a world of good. And while I’m wishing, I would like a pony.
So thank you, C-Span, for showing us how to take a Woodhouse to the woodshed. And thank you for bringing us Joy for the holidays!
Oh yeah, here’s the video: