Posted on March 7, 2019
Calling someone stupid is usually a conversation killer. Just doesn’t give you much wiggle room to continue talking. We all do it, in one form or another. Sometimes we are blunt.
“Hey idiot! Put your blinker on next time!” Is a good conversation killer. It is unlikely the other driver is going to answer you verbally. You will probably get a profane hand gesture as a response.
“Blinker please!” Is more polite, but you are still calling them an idiot for their mistake. However you may get a ‘Sorry’ or a contrite look with a polite wave.
Admonishing others for their mistakes is almost a given nowadays. On Social Media, we love to do that. We dole out our 2 cents about everything. With friends and family it is usually polite, but on occasion it comes off crass. With complete strangers? Well we drop all pretenses of niceties and just call them an Idiot.
But is calling a person on Social Media an idiot really “winning” the argument? Or does it just make you feel better to call them a name? Because we all know there are a lot of idiots out there to call out, but what are we trying to prove? Prove they are an idiot? If they truly are, do you think they will stop writing and say “Oh my gosh! They’re right! I am an idiot! How did I not see this all these years?! I will henceforth shall leave Social Media forever! ” Probably not. The response you will get will be “YOUR AN IDIOT!!!” (and yes, they will use the wrong ‘your’) You can snicker, because we’ve all seen it.
It’s about the kids dammit!
When it comes to discussions about children, people tend to get wiggy. Whether it is news articles about child abuse, lost or abandon children, or when people elect not to vaccinate their children. We get real wiggy.
Stories about children get to us, because we look at children as the most vulnerable among us. Children depend upon the adults to care for them, for their health and wellbeing, and to raise them right. To give them that 18 years head start before life beats the ever-living hell out of them. It is the emotional response that angers us. How could they! or What were they thinking! and Don’t they know?! is our usual response to stories that involve children.
Then our fingers flail away at our phones or keyboards, calling them idiots. Because we have to call them idiots you know. They have a serious Your problem.
I take it personally.
One thing that irks me about the anti-vax movement is the assumption that vaccines cause Autism. My 11-year-old daughter is high functioning autistic. So, I take it personally. Which is not a good thing. Because when you take things personally you lose your objectivity.
Now the link between autism and vaccines has been debunked. Several times. The News Media, yesterday, abounded with articles about a study that puts the question to rest. Yet Social Media has not done so. There is always someone who will debate the science. Usually debating science is a good thing, new studies, new information and all. And yes, it is a good thing to question new studies. But my daughter is autistic, and she’s my kid. And I took it personally.
My fingers hesitated. I was going to rip this person a new one. How dare they suggest this is a contrived study! That to him, no matter what Medical Science says, the study is still wrong, and vaccines cause autism. Bastard!
But I didn’t. I wrote a response, yet it was more for me than anti-vaxxer. I told him I have four children (I do) and that I have a son who by all accounts he should be autistic because autism is more prevalent in boys than girls (it is), yet my son isn’t autistic. I told him all my children have been vaccinated, and that by anti-vaxxers logic all of my children should be autistic. They aren’t. Only my youngest daughter is.
I also told him that having concerns about vaccinations is normal. That asking your Pediatrician questions is a good thing. Not to rely on Social Media articles and Websites that push pseudoscience ideologies. I ended my response by saying that I would rather deal with my child being autistic than marred by a disease, or dead from one.
That last part, of course, was my “your an idiot” comment. I could have left it out, but I didn’t.
I changed his mind!
No I didn’t. And I won’t change his mind. That is a fallacy of our Social Media Society. That our responses to others will change their minds. It won’t. Neither will belittling those who hold different opinions or world views.
Yes, other people on the thread liked and loved my response. Yet he did not respond. Because his mind is made up.
This is part of the human condition. We make assumptions, and then find information to back up our assumptions. We seek out like-minded individuals and articles to reinforce our ideologies. Whether it be politics, religion, or even medical practices. We ignore other ideas for our own. He was no different. I could not change his mind. Even by saying ‘Blinker Please!’.
Calling someone an idiot is a conversation killer. Anti-Vaxxers are not idiots. They are people with a world view that is different from most of us.
This world view is born out of fear, frustration, and a distrust of science, and the medical profession in whole. Can’t say I blame them. Trust is a rare commodity now a days.
When I found out my youngest daughter was autistic I had a billion questions. I did research on autism and still do to this day. One article I found was a study into older fathers. The article suggested that a father’s age at conception could be a factor. Older fathers may be a cause for autism, or at least a factor.
I am an older father.
Yet, I didn’t go down that rabbit hole. I did not research it further. I stopped at what could have been this wild search for reasons to which there aren’t any answers to yet, only to assign blame. I miraculously skipped becoming an “Anti-Vaxxer” by hesitating, and not making an erroneous assumption. I will wait for more studies to come out.
As humans, we have issues accepting bad things. We look for reasons behind the bad thing, and want to point a finger at it and yell ‘Witch’. Searching for blame would not change my daughters outcome. She is what she is, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.
This fear that anti-vaxxers have is real. It is concerns that every parent has. We worry as parents. All the time. And while I disagree with their world view, belittling them for their concerns gets me, and you, nowhere. It will not change their minds.
Because in the end? Calling someone an idiot is more than a conversation killer, it reinforces their beliefs, and makes them shut out the rest of the world. Which, in the end, is the real problem.
[Opinions expressed in this blog are the authors own. For entertainment purposes only. And occasionally, just to tick people off]