Friday, August 3, 2012

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

On City Life this morning, Dick Howe made an excellent point about people who say whatever they want (including things that are perhaps inappropriate, offensive, or worse) and then express shock, surprise, or any other form of sensitivity when people react in kind.

Such people are hypocrites, and they need to take a closer look in the mirror.

One of the sharpest quivers in the arsenal of those who engage in sarcasm, bullying, and related forms of expression is the "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" form of logic that says, "I can say whatever I want.  In fact, I can even use words that sting, or allegations not grounded in fact...if you challenge me on the first, I'll say that I was 'just kidding' and that you need to lighten up, and if you challenge me on the second, I'll just sort of backpeddle a little and just call you 'defensive' and hope to leave it at that."

Just watch for the next instance you witness of a person using sarcasm to mask an observation or insult that he or she wishes to convey...if the intended recipient 'pushes back' at all, the inevitable rejoinder that follows is something like, "Geez, I was just kidding.  You need to lighten up."  In similar fashion, those who casually lob hand grenades around in public forums are somehow surprised when others toss them back (not so much fun anymore, is it?) and then fall back on similar lines.

The funniest part of all this is that the people who are quickest to engage in this sort of behavior tend to react like wounded bears when they themselves are challenged...and when it happens in a public forum, it's laid bare for all the world to see.

It's one of those circular things that we sometimes wish wasn't the way a person who actually takes the time to read and apply a book about people skills is probably the least likely to need it.  People who like to toss live mortar rounds around -- whether in a bullying spirit, because they believe they were appointed to be one of life's omniscient narrators, or for whatever other reason -- are also the quickest to  challenge others who respond in kind with a dismissive wave of the hand.  

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

Is this about the US Senate Majority Leader?

Regards  —  Cliff