Express your opinion on the topic or…awkward!

Key and Peele nail it again. Okay, it’s satire. It’s exaggerated beyond what you’d see in real life.

But oh, this real-world behavior is so ripe for satire.

You’ve seen it. Someone has opinions, but little confidence that they can defend them.  Yet they don’t want to be sidelined in the conversation.

So they ridicule. They roll their eyes. Make snide comments. Label other people’s contributions–awkward, loony, naive. Anything to avoid engaging in peer-to-peer debate.

In real life, of course, good conversationalists don’t behave like either character in this clip. But oh, dear lord, I certainly have been tempted at times to react like this–and just throttle people who won’t make their point directly.

Snide comments and eye-rolling are not the only ploys people use to keep themselves in the conversation when they don’t have anything to contribute. You’ve seen (or done!) these, I’m sure:

  • Raising questions that everyone knows are accusations, but refusing to state them as accusations.  An example from my Facebook feed today:
    “Jill Stein once attended a dinner in Moscow where Putin was present. How do you think she raised the money for those recounts?”
  • Changing the subject.  I can imagine a pre-Civil War debate:
    “We must end slavery in the South!”
    “The North cannot attack slavery until they’ve resolved the Indian problem in West.”
  • Arguing against a point that no one is making.  I’m sure this exchange took place at many a dinner table in the late 1960s:
    “The United States has no business in Vietnam. The Vietnamese people have the same right to choose their own form of government as anyone else.”
    “It’s ridiculous to think that communism is better than democracy!”
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About Karen McKim

Retired from a 30-year career in public sector quality assurance and management auditing, I now spend my time freelance writing, largely on topics related to our right to self-government. I have two main focuses: how we can protect our election results from miscounts (whether deliberate or accidental), and skills for talking politics with our fellow citizens. I am based in Wisconsin.
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