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today’s trivial observation

3 Feb

You know that conversation that I assume most people have had with their parents at some point that goes like this?

Parent: Did you do that thing?
You: Yes.
Parent: No, really.
You: I did the thing.
Parent: I seriously don’t think you get how important the thing is.
You: I did the thing! Look, I’ll show you the evidence of my having done the thing!
Parent: Don’t act like that. I trust you, but the thing is really important. So did you do the thing yet?
You: OHMYGOD I DID THE THING LAST WEEK!

Sometimes, I feel like the entire Internet is a version of that amongst peers:

You: A statement about a thing.
The Internet: Well, what you failed to consider is exactly the thing you just said.
You: Yeah, I said the thing that you just said back to me. So thing!
The Internet: Because I really don’t think you understand the thing you said that I’m retelling you because you totally didn’t actually just say the thing, because the thing is only said when I say the thing.
You: Okaaaaaaay. Yes, the thing! I said! The thing I said which then you said, that started this thing!
The Internet: No really, you’re not getting the thing!
You: Wait… I said the thing and you said the thing! So we agree on the thing! Let us dance! Frabjous thing day!
The Internet: Thingthing somethingsomethingthing noyoudidn’t thing
You: But the thing… Oh, fuck it….

You know? Tell me I’m not the only one.

(And because it’s inevitable: No, it’s not you. Or rather, yes, it is you. Because sometimes it’s all of us).

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16 Responses to “today’s trivial observation”

  1. Jackie February 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    YES! Which is one of several reasons why I skip the comments section of pretty much every site/blog I visit.

  2. Anastasia February 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I just finished a 2-day, multiple Email version of this conversation.

  3. tenacious_snail February 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Yes, yes it is. I have had that conversation with my parents, the internet, and, sometimes, my cat.

  4. Greenwick February 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Haha. No, you are definitely not the only one!

    I also tend to skip comments for this reason, unless I’m reasonably sure the commenters aren’t going to do this.

  5. adelheid_p February 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Yeah, sometimes it’s a what I said isn’t precisely what you read/heard problem. But yeah, it happens and I don’t skip reading comments totally because of this, but I do skip over the ones that seem to be doing this. Some blogs have amusing comments and some blog owners actually tell comment posters that they just did this (John Scalzi has done this in comments on some of his blogs.)

  6. Gement February 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    The recent comments on your post about the debutante spring to mind.

  7. Anton February 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I haaaaaaaaaaaate having that conversation. It always makes me wonder if everyone is hearing me in a foreign language.

    • miep February 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      yes, you are speaking czech. I don’t believe in Czech.

  8. naath February 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Yes. It’s so irritating. On BOTH sides.

    Like “oh blah blah thing” “no THANG” “yes THING, like I said” “no THANG, which you didn’t say”

    Of course different people put the boarders of things in different places, which means it’s generally pretty hard to write something and have other people interpret it exactly the way you meant it.

  9. dafydd February 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    My best solution to these situations, so far, is to comment to the effect of “So, what you’re saying is that we’re in violent agreement?”

    😉

  10. Tiferet February 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    The conversation I hate having is the one that goes like this.

    /me reads a post I disagree with.

    /me writes a post which doesn’t link to that post because I don’t want all my friends to go there, but which addresses the argument made in that post and refutes it.

    $whoever reads my post and disagrees with it and comments: “you just don’t get it, you are so wrong, it’s probably because you’re privileged/have problems with authority/have a grudge against the author/whatever, and I’m not even going to argue with you, you need to read this post which will explain everything”

    $whoever then links http://theexactdamnpostwhichIwasarguingwith.com

    /me replies: actually this was in part a response to that, if you will see here and here and here I have addressed those exact points, you can disagree with me if you want but this is why I think that other person is wrong.

    $whoever replies: repeats of the same damn points I’m arguing with.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    This is why I used to have a terrible reputation for losing my shit on the internet, because I’d go on like that for a few turns, then some other people would comment and we’d have an interesting discussion, then the threads would collapse and three more $someones would come along and do the same thing.

    Then fandom wank would link to it and the trolls would come.

  11. Tiferet February 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Also I have totally had that conversation with several people. And I have it a lot IRL with one friend who doesn’t understand that he drives me nuts with it, because we agree on 90% of everything but not 10%.

  12. Saoba February 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Oh ghod the thing conversation.

    Or as we say around here- Am I speaking fucking English? (meaning yes, I said the thing already, are you even listening?)

  13. Nicoli Dominn February 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    I wish I could just get on my soapbox and blame all of the needlessly circular arguments on native English speakers’ shaky grasp on their own language and the subtleties within, but that’s only a small slice of the pie. Some people just need to pick you apart so they can feel more important or intelligent.

    • naath February 4, 2011 at 5:49 am #

      The subtleties of the English language are a forever shifting swamp, convoluted by region differences… it’s not exactly shocking that two differently worded statements of the same point by one person read as slightly different points to another.

      And some people will just troll other people for teh lulz I guess.

      • Nicoli Dominn February 4, 2011 at 10:52 am #

        Also true, what you said about varying regional differences. Even so, I find it’s more basic than that with a lot of people. You know how there are tons of terms being misused and abused by politicians, media figures, and marketers? Unfortunately, to listeners and readers who don’t know any better, those terms take on new meanings that are often quite different and even contradictory to the dictionary definition. It makes for a lot of confusion when any abstract idea is being discussed. And of course, people put different emotional connotations on words based on their experiences with language and its uses.

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