Positive Cynicism – Let’s play devil’s advocate

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

Boy, there’s a half-sentence I’m tired of seeing. Did you ever notice how every time there’s some kind of crisis or national tragedy or “issue” where we’re supposed to vote on how people live their lives, there’s always some asshole who pops up and thinks it’s time to play devil’s advocate?

No, no, this is a fantastic idea: some guy who is totally out of touch with the realities of how you live your life feels like his privilege is threatened, and wants you to consider the totally new and not at all incredibly stupid alternate hypotheses based on a lifetime of comfortable living. Yes, let’s pay attention to those ideas, shall we? Let’s even pay them the weird compliment of calling them “ideas.”

But, you know, seriously, let’s play devil’s advocate about things. It doesn’t make us sound cruel and stupid at all, especially when we’re telling other people of different race, economic background, gender, sexual orientation and ability if they’ve considered living their lives, you know, differently.

Look, I say, if you’re going to play devil’s advocate, you’ve already lost the argument that only you seriously think you’re having. So if you’re just going to stand there like some jack-off spurting nonsense all over your shoes, you should go all in. Say really stupid and bizarre things. Pretend you have courage in your ridiculousness. (Note: you have to pretend to have courage, because if you did, you wouldn’t be hiding behind the intellectual dishonesty of playing devil’s advocate just to espouse ancient ideas.)

Here, let’s play devil’s advocate about some stuff and ask the truly brave questions that no one has brought into the national debate yet.

:: Has science looked closely enough into the theory that you can lose weight by rubbing your stomach hard enough for enough days in a row?

:: Is it really wrong to download an album if you go on Facebook afterwards and review it?

:: What if instead of pulling out a splinter you’re just supposed to absorb the wood? What if it made you stronger?

:: Do you think people become celebrities because they actually like attention?

:: Carl Sagan said there are naïve questions and ill-informed questions, but there was no such thing as a dumb question. Do you think he would have revised this if he had lived to see Yahoo Answers?

:: Do we have definitive proof that President Obama is not just a human costume filled with squirrels?

:: Maybe Monday thinks your emotional inability to deal with your professional life is the real problem.

:: If eating the placenta gives a woman special powers, what kind of powers would she gain if she ate the entire baby?

:: What if God is just experimenting with recalibrating the Earth’s climate and by talking about manmade climate change we’re just pissing him off?

:: Don’t you think turning down your music when asked is a sign of weakness?

:: Maybe wild animals see zoo animals as success stories who’ve moved to a gated community with amenities.

:: Hitting a child with your car probably isn’t bullying in the classical sense, right?

:: You ever see those cartoons where Donald Duck is eating a turkey for dinner? Why would a duck eat another fowl? Ducks don’t even eat meat, so, clearly it was all about power.

:: You can live for the applause, but can the applause ever really live for you?

:: Did you ever notice how you never see Santa Claus and Vladimir Putin in the same place at the same time? That’s got to mean something, right?

Now, these are only stupid, stupid examples of a very, very real problem with our national rhetoric right now. We don’t need any more old white people telling us that maybe black people had it easier under slavery and maybe it’s only rape under a certain set of circumstances and maybe the constant emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere isn’t heating up the planet in a way that will make it uninhabitable, I mean, come on, the science isn’t in, right? Aren’t you sick of this shit?

Why do we have to entertain viewpoints that are clearly idiotic? Is it still this misguided idea that everyone’s opinion is equally valid and worthy of consideration? Quit telling your kids that. It’s not true. If we’re having a discussion about civil rights for the LGBT community, and the best you have to offer is something something bible something something Adam and Steve and survival of the human race something, keep it to yourself. Those are ideas we don’t have to entertain. You know why? Because we already have. We’re aware of them. We’ve been through them. Trust me, no one believes that all humans everywhere deserve equality simply because they haven’t had that belief tested by some troll arguing a conspiracy theory. That just doesn’t happen.

Here’s something to think about, just playing devil’s advocate here: What if there is no liberal agenda to indoctrinate people, and the problem is really that your ancient, outdated ideas are purely self-serving bullshit?

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Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com

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