Thursday, 24 March 2016

Euphemisms: Arguments

You just don't understand the issues.

David Cameron says that people who email their MPs “don’t understand the issues”. He means “They disagree with us”.

abrasive: disagrees with me
abusive: disagrees with me
ad hominem: disagrees with me
aggressive: disagrees with me
angry: disagrees with me

Argument never changed anybody’s mind!: I'm putting my fingers in my ears and going "la la la".

arrogant: disagrees with me, asks for evidence, explains their point of view, has all the arguments, has all the data, is right – dammit!

a small but vocal minority: people who disagree with me (usually socialists, liberals and other lowlifes)

attacking me: disagreeing with me (“I’m being attacked on Twitter!”)
bashing: criticising
bashing me because they find my views offensive: disagreeing with me
biased: biased in the wrong direction (usually to the Left)
bigot: disagrees with me
binary: Where X is true, Y is false.

Calm down!:
Shut up!
carp, cavil: catch me out in a contradiction
clever-clever: cleverer than me, dammit!
closed mind: disagrees with me
communication problem: disagrees with me, won’t listen
compromise: give in
cynic: skeptic

emotional, hostile, militant:
disagrees with me
Everyone has an opinion: They’re disagreeing with me again.

experts, so-called experts, self-appointed experts: people with facts and figures that undermine my ideas

extreme: disagrees with me
forceful: argumentative
frank discussion: row
glib: tells it like it is

has an agenda:
disagrees with me
healthy skepticism: doesn’t attack my favourite prejudices
hostile: disagrees with me, asks for evidence

I’d be a fool to waste my time arguing with these people: I have no arguments.

I don’t like your tone!: You’re disagreeing with me. (Or: Oh no, I’m wrong!)

I’m bored now: You’ve exposed my shaky logic and shown that my evidence is unreliable.

in denial: won’t see things my way
intolerant: disagrees with me

If you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument: Even if reality bears you out.

irrational and vituperative: disagrees with me, states facts that disprove my proposition

It’s not as black and white as you make out, there are shades of grey, it’s more nuanced: I wish to continue to hold two contradictory opinions that cancel each other out. (Or “I am going to say something so generalised that it’s meaningless, or so vague you can’t counter it.”)

It’s time to move on: It’s time for you to shut up and stop complaining, even though we haven’t fixed what you are complaining about.

keeping ideas in watertight compartments: holding self-contradictory ideas

Let’s agree to disagree: Let’s me be right. (Or “Let’s pretend your proposition doesn’t falsify mine.” In fact “Let’s pretend that two contradictory ideas can co-exist.”)

Let’s not bring politics into this: Let’s all agree with what I say.

Let’s stop this, shall we?: You appear to have minced me into small pieces.

likes the sound of his own voice: Someone else is talking!

metaphorical: made-up
metaphorically true: false

mindful: skeptical, critical (when addressing people who don’t know what those words mean, or think they mean “aggressive”).

moan: put a point of view I disagree with

not living in the real world: disagrees with me

Of silence and speaking, silence is best. (Salvator Rosa): Shut up and let me talk.

On attrappe pas les mouches avec le vinaigre (You don’t catch flies with vinegar): Excuse me, you forgot to massage my ego! And stop coming out with facts that demolish my argument!

opinionated: disagrees with me

outrage: faux outrage
over-excited: disagrees with me.

overthink: ask awkward questions, demand that I define my terms, object to moving goalposts (Or maybe “think”. Or maybe “women talking”, as usual.)

pedant: someone who assumes words have their primary meaning, and not the meaning Humpty Dumpty has given them

pedantry: How dare you point out that my facts are wrong?

People worship science, science is a religion: People are too respectful of science, science has data and evidence, I want to push some line that has no basis in fact at all.

pontificate: put forward a point of view I disagree with

preach: put forward a point of view I disagree with
quibble: see overthink
quibble (noun): question I can’t answer
rant: disagrees with me

Reality is more nuanced: Let’s lose this whole “right”, “wrong” thing.

reframing: distortion
rhetoric: clichés, euphemisms, weasels, manipulation
right in a different way: wrong

scene, vulgar scene: women making valid criticisms and complaints (If children do the same, it’s known as a “fuss”, or “silly fuss”.)

self-appointed guardians of rationalism: skeptics
self-proclaimed gurus of atheism: atheists

She has strongly held opinions: She disagrees with men in public, the poor fool.

shove an opinion in my face/down my throat: state an opinion I disagree with

shrill and aggressive: states position too definitely, says things I disagree with, attacks my point of view, produces facts and evidence that disprove my POV

skeptic: attacks my favourite prejudices
snark: criticism
so-called: phenomenon I don’t like
Softly softly catchee monkey: See “mouches”.
split hairs: see quibble
straw man: How dare you point out the weaknesses of my argument!

strident: “Richard Dawkins is too strident” means “Richard Dawkins says what he thinks”. (Or even “Richard Dawkins’ views upset a lot of people.”)

strong views: crazily right-wing views, like blaming women for domestic violence
subtle: deliberately ambiguous, hints (see nuanced)

subtle and nuanced: statements that can be neither falsified nor confirmed (so we can carry on waffling until the cows come home, or the end of time, whichever is sooner)

subtlety, hints, subtext: obfuscation, misdirection
tact: Don’t disagree with the boss. Don’t argue with your bread and butter. Or the electorate.
take a more balanced approach: stop disagreeing with me
talk out of turn: talk

They’re bad at communication: They don’t listen. They don’t understand what they hear.

There’s a fine line between X and Y: X and Y are totally opposed and cancel each other out.

There’s always an off button!: Shut up. Stop complaining.

too good not to be true: false

use language artistically: Don’t say what you mean.
vicious, nasty, attack: debunk religion, spiritualism or quackery

We can never really “know” anything: I am losing.

What is truth?: You have data and I have none.

Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must keep silent. (Wittgenstein): I’ve definitely lost.

Why can’t we both be right?: I don’t like this game any more.

Why do you always have to be right?: I’ve run out of arguments and data.

Why must you get so angry about everything?: I forgot to pack the arguments and data.

Women are dominating the conversation!: They are talking as much as men. (Or “talking”.)

You are being too binary: You are disagreeing with me.

You have a religious belief that you know the Truth and reject any other opinion: Dammit, you’re disagreeing with me again!

You see things too much in black and white: Your views are directly opposed to mine. (Or perhaps “You insist on quoting the law!” Or opining that “You canna change the laws of physics!”)

You’re arrogant!: I’ve run out of words.
You’re entitled to your opinion: You’re wrong.
You’ve got no consideration for others!: You’ve got no consideration for me!

The evidence is all around you!
Don’t you have a dictionary?
I’m not doing your research for you!
Don’t you know how to Google?

All mean “I did not base my position on evidence and have no idea where to find any”.

Or: “I am using this word to convey a subtext which may be racist or sexist but of course I’m not going to admit that.”

You need to learn your own language, you’re a terrible writer – and your photos are blurry!: You’re disagreeing with me, and asking me to define my terms, and asking for evidence.

More here, and links to the rest.
And many more in my book – see right.


  1. Depressing but all too recognizable...

  2. This is just a conversation, I don't have to give evidence! (Translation: I haven't got any, this is just prejudice.)

  3. And I forgot "contrarian" and "libertarian"...