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Thursday, December 16, 2010

You don't care? PROVE IT!

I will never understand why people feel the need to join a conversation just to inform everyone involved that they don’t care about the topic at hand. Maybe it’s just me, but ‘I don’t care’ should be a station you go through in action and not statement. If someone is talking about something you do not care about, for one to go out of their way to have to SAY they don’t care is a very out-front suggestion that the topic at hand took up enough real estate in their minds for them to say something about it. In application, this makes untrue the ‘I don’t care’ statement.
Perhaps better employed would be ‘I don’t care as much as you do,’ but fact remains that even THAT would have one coming off as a bit of a dick as well, what with the suggestion that ‘what you care about is beneath me’ and all.

As ever, argument of sorts will ensue and then people get feelings hurt. And to think how less-than-necessary this would be if people could refer back to the art of shutting up.

[Phlip note – as a blogger, I am SUPPOSED to be a Keyboard Cowboy of sorts, and accept whatever backlash may come as a result of my opinions, if only I could turn a profit for doing so...]

F’rexample… Some nice people are discussing something – ANYTHING – and this conversation could be in any avenue, be it FaceBook/Twitter, coffee shop, breakroom, mall food court, synagogue, abortion clinic or under Clarence Thomas’ desk. Venue really matters not, just so long as you have one person (a) with an opinion, at least one person (b) who is listening to that individual’s opinion and at least one person (c) to witness the conversation who harbors an opinion on the topic at hand. Whether or not that individual will cop to actually having one is where this gets fun.
Now, (a) is sitting in discussion with (b) over their lunch, in a common area, and (a) has developed a strong opinion on a current news story, which they happen to be quite knowledgeable about following a lifetime of active interest. (b) listens to the conversation – almost (read: pretty damned much) a rant from (a), but the topic interests them both, so it continues…
At this point, (c) enters the room and naturally overhears the conversation at hand. The topic is one that vaguely interests them, clearly not as much or as passionately as the individuals currently in discussion. Smart money dictates that this might be the one to just lay up and leave alone. Yeah, that would make sense, right?

“I really don’t care one way or the other, but I think that [angle not necessarily related to the topic at hand]”

[Phlip note – this would have made it this far if the person had done the right thing, no?]

Now that (c) has stepped into the arena, it is only naturally inferred that they have an opinion on the topic at hand, and hopefully a little knowledge on the item in which they’ve now become involved.

And...
that is a DICK move.

But...
(a)
, now fully okay with having another participant in the discussion, addresses the newcomer and their response with a fitting rebuttal which steers the conversation back to what was ACTUALLY being discussed.
It is now apparent that our newcomer has no real interest in the topic at hand as it was initially being discussed (or apparently any respect for the intelligence of those in other than themselves), made evident by the constant reminder that ‘well I really don’t care.’ This will naturally devolves into ‘I don’t know why y’all care so much’ and will come to include all the requisite patronizing language on the in-between. Any attempts at the hands of the initial participants of the discussion to steer it back to – or keep it on – original topic are met with apples-to-oranges comparisons seemingly designed to not only drag the discussion further down a road it never needed to go, but also denigrate those involved.
Nits are picked, nerves are grated and non-issues dragged into it. Non-points are made by the uninvited participant, which are met with valid counterpoints at the hands of others. Every valid counterpoint is responded to with “whatever” or “I don’t see why you even care,” and without fail, they slip and present the wrong argument. At this point, their entire agenda is picked apart piece-by-piece, point-by-point to the point where the thing that most people would do is just shut up and leave the discussion in defeat.

But wait!

This person doesn’t care and never cared in the first place, never mind that they have now committed a large chunk of time that they are not getting back, thus making not caring the stupidest thing they will have done today. At this point, with no one intimidated into cowering before their apparently immense intellectual accomplishments.
No new fans made in this venue, they will leave the conversation completely incapable of admission that they’d just stepped into an arena where they were clearly overmatched, so the answer as presented will remain an emphatic “what-ever!”

Back to the task at hand… (a) and (b) will attempt to trudge on, though thoroughly derailed in doing so. A general “what in the fuck just happened here?” will be the chosen response, with a “damn, you handled that one better than I might have” and the situation as it were is left no longer addressed.

Why in the hell DO people do that?
Are we all living in some kind of alternate universe, wherein it is somehow socially acceptable to drop in on people who DO care about something enough to converse about it, but only long enough to remind them that you do not care? Once engaged, when did it become acceptable to continue the discussion that you apparently only care enough about to pat yourself on the back, thereby basically insulting all participants involved?
There are three arenas where this seems to happen most often…

  1. Religion
  2. Politics
    and most frequent/fervently…
  3. Sports

As ever, the prudent move – even if you DO care – if your aim is to avoid an argument or being pwned in an attempt to one-up someone in their own comfort zone, is simply to shut it and keep moving… The day that people START doing that, though, will be the day that posts like this will stop popping up.

And now, speaking of how not to care, I plan to sit back and watch as everyone proves it, with no one commenting this post, lol.
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