Friday, September 28, 2007

Phrases I don't understand, Part 2

I (over)heard this couple arguing the other day. How sweet. I feel like society-at-large spends so much time criticizing my singlehood without lamenting the negatives of relationships, ie, Stupid-Ass Arguments About Nothing. Anyway. I couldn't really hear what they were arguing about*, because I'm a good boy who minds his own business and tries his best to keep his nose out of others', but at one point I hear The Dude exclaim, "Now don't get me wrong!"

* Fun fact: I think it was Bo Schembechler's son and his wife who were arguing. It's a long story, and ultimately unverifiable.

I really don't get this turn-of-phrase. Now don't get me wrong. I understand it. But I find it a uniquely peculiar argumentative technique, employed largely when one has made an overly radical statement and is now attempting to "clarify" (aka "backpedal") so as not to seem quite so wacko. Example: "Black people are an inferior race. Now don't get me wrong. I don't support the KKK or anything. But I really don't think black people should be involved in higher education." Or what have you.

So. Congratulations. You've now said something you wish you hadn't. How are you now going to soften the blow and attempt to bring the other person over to your otherwise radical point of view? By giving them a command, of course! "Now don't get me wrong. Don't do it. Don't you dare fucking do it. By the power invested in me, I order you not to get me wrong." Too late. I've gotten you wrong. In fact, I'm sorry to say it's now surpassed my ability to get you right. Not the most persuasive technique you could have employed. You should have tried "That's a fair point, but..." instead. That one always works.

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