Over on my buddy's blog, Philliedelphia, an interesting article began the thread you see below (through Facebook, though).
The idea of there being "much bigger things" to complain about is a valid one. Typically when folks (myself included) start whining about X, Y, or Z, there are at least a zillion other things more important that we could be sniveling about. That being said, I take issue with the "much bigger things" argument being used to allow moral decay (via lack of responsibility, accountability and common decency) to take root. Thus, I chose that moment to enter the thread.
*Sigh* (Sorry, Mar... I know you hate my sighs.)
Barring the fact that I could easily turn the argument around and say, "I, too, am a paying customer and I don't appreciate that garbage being spewed across loudspeakers to my children... I didn't realize it was perfectly OK for me to sacrifice MY enjoyment - and subsequently, my children's - so you could enjoy some anti-women screamo," and the ridiculous allusion to the idea that parents who refuse to be a party to this foolishness are simply "wasting... 'teachable' moment[s]," I responded incredulously with:
Notice how, for pointing out the lack of logic behind her argument, I'm the one immediately thrown under the bus. I actually did laugh out loud when I read that.
Anyway, instead of registering that I'm simply demanding accountability from the ballpark for the music they control in what they bill as a family-friendly venue, she attempts broadening the argument to include every person in the ballpark, as if I even remotely alluded to an obligation on their part to manipulate the crowd into being saintly.
This is a common tactic that folks use without even realizing it. This is what's known as blowing smoke in the face of real issues. If we alter the perception of an argument juuuuust slightly (in this case, making it appear that my beef is with society in general as opposed to the duty of the proprietors upholding their image as family-friendly), you can have an entirely different set of rules with which to attempt dismantling your opponent (since the real issue is no longer in focus). Lucky for me and all those communication classes I've taken, this is something I avoid like the plague.
Again, she's going for that whole blowing smoke in the face of the real issue. Now, instead of focusing on the problem of the ballpark failing to uphold its dedication to family-friendly entertainment, my words are warped into a personal attack, somehow devolving into calling her "dumb." Instead of this remaining a civil discourse that has nothing to do with how we feel about one another as individuals (and rather, our opinions of the corporate decisions of a ballpark), it become as "Yeah, well... whatever. You're just mean."
For the record, I very much like Beth on a personal level. The two of us went to school together, I'm a huge fan of her family, and she's proven herself to be very intelligent, witty and compassionate. This discussion doesn't call any of that into question. Somehow, she thinks it does.
Which leads me to the point of this post.
I honestly can't help but make the connection between this conversation and darn near every other one I've had regarding Catholicism, the HHS mandate, or even politics lately. It seems that folks immediately get threatened when you don't fall in line with their beliefs. Worse, they get REALLY snippy when you call them out on fallacious statements. Instead of accepting that the argument has nothing to do with personal feelings, any challenge to their ideology / opinion / belief becomes a personal attack against their integrity as human beings.
And yet I'm the one who somehow gets accused of being constantly offended or agitated by these conversations.
I seriously can't help but shake my head and laugh at that. Typically, while panties are in a bunch across the internet, I'm calmly typing out my thoughts, researching points, or asking for clarification on something. Now of course there are certain things that'll rattle me (like spiteful things said about the Blessed Mother or remaining obstinate in one's proven folly). There have been times where I've let my sharp tongue get the better of my charity. But truth be told, I very rarely get upset about discussions (even "heated" ones) because I view them as opportunities to learn, teach and share.
Folks think I'm attempting to convert or force my beliefs on others. That's never the case. I know better than to attempt converting someone through intellectual conversation. Ha ha. I simply can't accept half-assed logic. If you've got an argument for or against something (and it's something that piques my interest), I expect you to be intelligent enough to explain yourself properly. Many times, though, especially online, people aren't able to do that. They've got very superficial ideas about things (which they love to spout), but the second someone probes a bit, tempers flare and panties get all sorts of bunched.
As someone who has studied the psychology of communication, this is a particularly interesting thing for me. However, it's very concerning that this has become relatively normal, and I really believe this is due to the internet.
But I digress... (don't I always?)
The Garlands of Grace saga ended in much the same fashion (though a few of us are still plugging away).
I wonder what one can do to combat this sort of thing. I enjoy open discussions and having my ideas challenged (as it forces me to really understand my own conclusions better), but I don't enjoy the inevitable fallout that seems to happen so much anymore.
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