10 kinds of disingenuous bullshit that need to go away in 2014
Here are 10 examples of disingenuous crap we all heard a little too much of this year.
1. I’m not “fat-shaming” anyone, I’m just saying it’s just unhealthy!
First of all, fat doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy. It doesn’t mean people don’t exercise, it doesn’t mean they sit around eating Cheetos all day. You have no idea how hard anyone is trying to be healthy just by looking at them, and our bodies all work differently. Many skinny people are also unhealthy–perhaps more so than some who are overweight. I know quite a few ladies who maintain their figures with Adderall and various other stimulants, which will probably be harder on their hearts in the long run than being a few pounds overweight will. I also know a lot of skinny women who can, and do, “eat anything they want and just never gain weight!” Yet, for some reason, there is nowhere near as much vitriol pointed towards them.
Second–do you seriously think fat people have not been made well aware that their bodies are disapproved of? No, you don’t. There is literally no way you think that. You are also well aware that making people feel like shit is not “just the inspiration they need” to finally lose weight. What you want is to be a bitch, but couch it in terms of “I’m just concerned about health is all” because you think that way, no one will catch on to the fact that you’re a bitch. Well, guess what, you’re not “concerned”—you’re a bitch.
2. ______ is just like Hitler/Slavery/The Holocaust/Whatever other horrible thing that said thing is definitely not exactly like.
Other than the fact this this is a ludicrous argument forever and always, it’s also an asshole thing to do. No, trying to make sure everyone has health care is not exactly like sending people to the gas chambers. It’s just not. They are entirely different things, and what you’re doing when you compare them is saying that “sending people to the gas chambers” wasn’t all that bad, really.
The effect people are going for when they use this type of argument is a sense of urgency. There are, however, ways to do that without being disingenuously hyperbolic and essentially dismissive of past atrocities. It’s not the magic trump card you think it is.
3. “Obviously you’re just jealous.”
Is there anything more obnoxious in the world than this phrase? What, are we the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? We can’t legitimately criticize anything without it being about envy?
In real life, it’s annoying as hell. We all know people who go around thinking everyone who doesn’t like them is “just jealous” of them, and they’re obnoxious to be around. As though being good-looking or successful or wealthy means that no one can call them an asshole without it really being about “jealousy.”
In politics, it’s a tad more insidious. Probably every woman in politics has been called “jealous” of another woman in politics at some point–whether because the other woman is better looking or because she’s “getting more attention.” It’s a way of saying “See, these broads, with all their education and accomplishments? Still just as stupid and petty as the Real Housewives! Best we not put them in charge of anything or they’ll blow up the whole country on account of getting their periods!” That, I think, is dangerous.
Are some things motivated by jealousy? Sure. But it cannot possibly be everything. To boot, I’m pretty sure the ones who constantly accuse others of being “just jealous” are usually the ones for whom jealousy is sometimes a motivation. I think this is a phrase best put to bed.
4. If you’re so tolerant, why aren’t you tolerant of my intolerance, huh?
This is totally not the big GOTCHA anyone thinks it is. Why? Because no one has to be tolerant of someone being an asshole. Let’s put this in an entirely non-political context and see how it works, ok?
Jane is a high school freshman with really bad acne. Tiffany is a sophomore who constantly picks on Jane for having bad acne. Which one of these people is an asshole? Are their actions ethically equal? Should we be tolerant of Tiffany’s views on Jane’s acne? Would anyone say “Well, think of Tiffany’s feelings! She has to see Jane’s acne! Doesn’t she have a right to her views on what someone’s face should look like?” No, they wouldn’t. Unless they are incredibly stupid.
It’s disingenuous bullshit because the people saying it don’t really believe it themselves. They just think they’ve caught us in a logical fallacy.
5. The KKK was started by the Democrats, FYI!
Yes, we know. Unfortunately for you, however, we’re not living in the past. Nixon’s Southern Strategy changed party alignment, and you goddamned know it. You are not that stupid. You know very well that the KKK is not and has never considered itself a liberal or progressive organization. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure they are not too fond of us. There is a reason David Duke, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms switched parties, OK?
Also, you don’t want us anyway. If you wanted to be on the side of the civil rights activists, feminists, etc., you would be. If you wanted to fight racism, you wouldn’t belong to a party that fought to gut the Voting Rights Act. End of story.
6. “Stop being so negative!”
I know I can’t put this half as well as Gawker’s Tom Scocca did earlier this month with his “On Smarm” essay. The whole thing was freaking brilliant and I’ve probably read it 46 times already.
But let me put it this way– everything cannot be pictures of adorable kittens. Everything cannot “inspire you” or take you on a journey within yourself. Sometimes things suck, and those things warrant criticism. If you just ignore everything negative in our world, you become a stupid person living in a fool’s paradise.
7. “I don’t go for all that political correctness!”
Yeah, you know what political correctness is? It’s manners. It’s called having manners. It’s called “not insulting large swaths of people for no good reason.”
I realize that manners are not the big deal they used to be. But “good manners” for all intents and purposes, are merely about making other people feel comfortable and welcome. They are about making them feel good, perhaps, sometimes, at the expense of your own comfort. For instance, you may feel most comfortable chewing with your mouth open, but you would refrain from that when in the company of others, so as to avoid making them sick.
Bragging about not being politically correct is simply the most self-righteous way to advertise to the world that you are an asshole who doesn’t give a good goddamn about other people’s feelings. At least have the chutzpah to be frank about what you are.
8. “You can’t criticize him or boycott him! That’s his freedom of speech!”
I refuse to believe that people think that freedom of speech means that there can be no repercussions from speech, ever. This cannot possibly be the case. People cannot really think that freedom of speech means you can’t criticize anything someone says, or not want to buy their product as a result of something they’ve said. Why? Because surely, in their lives, they have done the same when someone said something they disagreed with.
So stop it. I can criticize Phil Robertson or Paula Deen as much as I like, and if they like, they can criticize things I say. You can criticize things I say if you like. I don’t have to buy their products or watch their shows, and they and you don’t have to read anything I write.
9. “Why isn’t there a WHITE history month?”
I really hope we’ll get to February this year without the usual bonanza of idiots who think they’re clever demanding to know why there’s no “White History Month.” I’m calling bullshit. No one is actually wondering why there is no “White History Month.” You know damn well why there is no “White History Month.” Because “White History” is not a thing that has been overlooked.
There also does not need to be “White Entertainment Television.” If you can’t figure out why that is, turn on the television right now, and tell me how many channels you need to flip through before you see a black person. Most of the television is “White Entertainment Television.” Duh.
The people who say this shit know better. They know why there is no “White History Month” and no “White Entertainment Television.” Because whiteness is considered the “default” option. The only thing they don’t seem to know is how stupid they sound.
10. “Sorry Not Sorry”
Can we please, please make “sorry not sorry” go away? It’s not cute, it’s not “sassy,” it’s obnoxious and it usually makes people want to punch you in the face. It’s just the worst.
We also need to stop “demanding apologies” from public figures who say and do dumb things. Why? Because all we end up with are these non-apology apologies that are entirely meaningless. An apology means nothing if you don’t think you did anything wrong and have no intention of changing.