Friday, April 1, 2011

Daddy Rants: A Battle of Wit and Wordplay

I have, on occasion, use this forum to delineate my thoughts on common behaviors that I encounter in my everyday life.  While for the most part, I am an active participant in the lives of my family and close friends, I have always enjoyed people watching.  I try to mitigate my judgmental tendencies with self-deprecating humor.  It is only thanks to my many foibles that I am able to identify those I see around me.

Today's subject is particularly near and dear to my heart.  It is a pastime with a long and storied history and it fits particularly well with the technology of today.  It has many aficionados and I count myself among their number.  The difference is that I at least recognize it for what it is and list it among my guilty pleasures.

I am speaking, of course, about heated debate of a political or controversial nature.

My family, particularly on my father's side, is the reason that I enjoy passionate conversation.  As my wife will tell you, getting us all together is an experiment in multi-target hearing and would be the subject of serial nightmares for any court stenographer.  It could also be compared to standing in a room full of agitated ducks.

Facebook in particular has molded itself well to the ideal format for an argument.  The ability for anybody to write out comments in reaction and counter-reaction to somebody's statement fulfills everything an accomplished arguer could ask for.  You can review and research your opinion as you are creating it, and your opponent's statement is conveniently written out for you to pick apart point by point.

See, the point of debate, especially online, is not to sway the opinion of your opponent or audience.  The point is to flex your intellectual muscle and show off those syntactic skills.  When engaged in a good debate I am so consumed with finding more compelling and eloquent ways to defend my mindset that my audience is rendered inconsequential and my opponent exists only to postulate more philosophical clay pigeons for the double-barreled shotgun of my logic.

It is very similar to blogging.

It is also very similar to masturbation.

Though there are many many more similes to be drawn between using Facebook for passionate debate and the act of self-pleasure I will abandon this line of thought. After all, my mother sometimes reads this blog.

Here are a few reason why Facebook is the perfect forum for matching wits against the masses:

1. The 'like' button is available on everything.  This allows instant feedback on the brilliance (or lack therof) contained in an argument.  For an audience member, it is the equivalent of murmuring general approval.

2. The ability to see individual threads of specific argument is far superior to the # tagging that Twitter employs

3. The ability to see and measure the quality of conversation simply by the number of comments it generates.  I have never seen a post that earned more than twenty comments without being overcome with curiosity and seeing what all the fuss was about.

4. The notification feature allows you to immediately know when somebody has responded, either in agreement or in their continued ignorance.

Regardless of its inherent selfishness and the narcissism it implies, I enjoy both blogging and engaging in online debates.  And while I appreciate each and every one of my readers (especially those of you who 'like' my Facebook page) I know that even if there was nobody out there reading this I would still have to write it, for I have tasted the sweet nectar of sermonizing, and God help me I like it.

Added bonus- embedded video!

This is the job for which I have been searching my whole life.

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