March 29, 2012

How to Argue Effectively

Sometimes my boring interpersonal communications text book throws something off the wall and hilarious at me, this is a prime example:

How to Argue Effectively
by Dave Barry

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:

Drink Liquor
Suppose you are at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you'll discover you have strong views about the Peruvian economy. You'll be a wealth of information. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

Make Things Up
Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove that Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that you are underpaid, and you'll be damned if you're going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. Don't say: "I think Peruvians are underpaid." Say instead: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."
NOTE: Always make up exact figures.
If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up too. Say: "This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon's study for the Buford Commission published on May 9, 1982. Didn't you read it?" Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say, "You left your soiled underwear in my bathroom."

Use Meaningless but Weighty-Sounding Words and Phrases
Memorize this list:
Let me put it this way
In terms of
Per se
As it were
Ipso facto
So to speak
You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as "Q.E.D.", "e.g.", and "i.e." These are all short for "I speak Latin, and you don't." Here's how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say, "Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't have enough money."
You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say, "Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Ergo, ipso facto, case closed. Q.E.D."
Only a fool would challenge that statement.

Use Snappy and Irrelevant Comebacks
You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:
You're begging the question.
You're being defensive.
Don't compare apples to oranges.
What are your parameters?
This last one is especially valuable. Nobody (other than engineers and policy wonks) has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.
Don't forget the classic: YOU'RE SO LINEAR.
Here's how to use your comebacks:
You say: As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873...
Your opponent says: Lincoln died in 1865.
You say: You're begging the question.
You say: Liberians, like most Asians...
Your opponent says: Liberia is in Africa.
You say: You're being defensive.
You say: Since the discovery of the incandescent light bulb...
Your opponent says: The light bulb is an invention.
You say: Well DUH!
Compare Your Opponent to Adolf Hitler
This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say, "That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say," or "You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler."

So that's it.  You now know hot to out-argue anybody.  Do not try to pull this on people who generally carry weapons.

March 19, 2012


I went to bed at 3 in the morning after franticly designing a poster due in class later today. 
I woke up to a cat licking my foot and my annoying alarm blaring in my ears at 8 am.

I look outside and scream and fall over at the sight of 4 inches of snow on the ground with more falling each second.  It's March; we should be done with snow by now.

I throw a coat on and run outside to clean snow off the car so mom and I won't be late to the airport.

I help mom search for her missing glasses, she finds them.

I forget to eat breakfast.

I drive very slowly to town with mom freaking out every time I accelerate to more than 30 mph =)

I get reprimanded for running on ice by the guy shoveling snow at the Cascade gas station. 

I drive very carefully and slowly (in my opinion) on the freeway, while mom freaks out at my driving again.

I get mom to the airport on time!!! Woot!

I drive to Staples to get my poster printed, but alas my document is not compatible with the printer's computer!  I quickly pull out my laptop and export the file to PDF and it gets printed!  Yey =)

I drive to Smiths with the intent of purchasing sustenance, and I run into my dear sweet sister! 

I forget to acquire sustenance and get nail polish that was on sale instead. Darn....

I go to Michaels after parting ways with the sister and I buy spray-on-paper-glue.

I run errands for Cheryl and buy goat feed for her, at the feed store I have a lovely conversation with a lady who wants to buy one of my sister's goats, she gives me a very professional looking card which I later deface.

I drive to the bank thinking to run in, deposit my checks and then be on my merry way in minutes.  Think again.  I spend half an hour talking to a lady who wants me to get a credit card, uggg.

I go to Target to purchase a ruler since I carelessly forgot mine at home.  I sit in the back seat of the car and use the ruler and my exacto knife to cut my poster/foam board down to size for the poster I mentioned earlier.  I cut my finger in the process.  I then use the spray glue stuff to attach my poster to the foam board!!!!!!!!  PROJECT COMPLETE!!!!! There is much rejoicing.

I realize that I am growing weak with hunger, I run on the ice (again) to get to Little Creasers where I buy some delectable Crazy bread.  I devour it within minutes.

I become thirsty, so I dash to Albertsons to buy iced coffee.  I bump into a guy I don't like in the store and I make a run for it back to the car! 

I realize that I despise manual transmit ions when I stall the car in the school parking lot. 

I try to ignore the fact that everybody in the school is staring at me because my wet sneakers are squeaking LOUDLY on the floor.

I make it to the library and collapse on a chair, exhausted from the day’s events.  It's only 2:00 in the afternoon.

I still have classes to go to till 7 pm.  Dear God, please help me survive the rest of the day!