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Cronin Theory of Comics – You Really Don’t HAVE to Argue Every Silly Point Out There

Yes, this is a general thing, too, it is not just about comic book blogging, but about any sort of blogging or message board posting, as well.

You don’t HAVE to argue every silly point out there.

Really.

Lord knows that I don’t.

If I don’t think a point is worth dignifying with a response, I don’t. I just leave it at that.

I know there is this feeling that if someone says something and it isn’t responded to, then it somehow, like, gains validity – like, “No one told Poster X his point was idiotic – therefore, if we are not there to say it is NOT true then it must BE true!” It doesn’t work like that. A dumb argument is a dumb argument, whether you respond to it or not.

That is not to say that you should not engage people with whom you disagree. Of course you should. If you disagree with someone on a point, go right ahead – argue the point. But only if you think the other person’s position is worth arguing. Otherwise, there’s nothing to be really gained. One of the hallmarks of this blog (I hope, at least) is to further intelligent discussion – if you’re dealing with someone who you don’t think is furthering the discussion, then do not bother with him/her. And especially don’t pull the ol’ “I’m responding just to tell you that I’m not responding to you” – no, don’t – just don’t respond period. I know it will make you feel like they’re “getting away” with something by not having their delusional rantings challenged, but they’re not – their point is just as stupid, so what do they get out of it? They’re the ones with the dumb point- there is no “victory” there.

Likewise, I’m totally cool if you think someone says something offensive and you want to respond. That’s totally different than making a ridiculous argument, that’s actually saying something rude or cruel or whatever. Feel free to take issue with that (like that guy we had awhile back who was calling gay people an insulting term).

But if it’s just someone making a dumb point, trust me, it will not give their silly position validity by not responding to them.

So I don’t think you should bother.

26 Comments

Actually, Brian, I’m sort of the opposite opinion.

After all, if someone says something dumb, the natural impulse is to correct it. It’s one of the main reasons people post in the first place.

It’s the ATTITUDE that matters. (Sorry about the ALLCAPS, but I don’t know how to do underlining or other such effects here. I’m not “shouting”.)

I don’t mind if somebody corrects me. Or THINKS they’re correcting me. But, if they say it in such a way that it sounds like “…and you’re a retard for thinking that!” THEN I take offense. But then, how can we be sure that it was intended that way? That’s the really big problem of posted conversations- things like inflection don’t carry over, and a well-meant critique can sometimes come across as a putdown.

Which leads to your second point, which I disagree with even more: DON’T ARGUE WITH OBVIOUS JERKS. If some starts making homophobic, racistic, or other such comments that most average people *can* tell are meant with ill will, then that person is either a troll (who WANTS the flameback) or utterly clueless. In this is case, it IS better to ignore it and hope he goes away (or, more correctly, let the Mods handle it. That’s their job.)

Finally, one point I’d wanted to make for a while, is that just because someone disagrees with you about a comic (or some other matters) we shouldn’t take an aggressive posture about it, as if somehow someone else saying “this comic sucks” would hurt the title, or a theory we don’t like would make its way to the comic if left unchallenged. We comic fans CAN be overly touchy at times. As someone else said, “Comic book characters are imaginary. The people who post are not.”

Oh, and yes, in general I find “Comics Should Be Good” to be a good place for getting intelligent feedback, which is why I post here. So thanks for providing the outlet, Brian!’ ;)

In the same spirit, Sijo … It’s racist, not racistic :P .

I disagree, Sijo. One of the issues with the internet is you have no idea who you’re talking to. It could be an adult or a ten year old with really good typing skills who still hasn’t grasped adult concepts like good people doing bad things, rules needing to be broken, etc. Or worse, basic physics. (momentum, gravity)

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had an argument with someone only to realize that they literally could not understand basic adult concepts, because they were eight, twelve, or a really slow 16. And even if they weren’t, arguing with someone who simply refuses to apply logic is pointless. There’s no purpose in debating a wall, and that’s just what some people are, either unintentionally or by choice.

On the Order of the Stick webcomic message board, there’s a set of posters who will go to great lengths to argue the finer points of the “Start of Darkness” print only prequel book without ever having read it. They’re absolutely convinced that they figured out exactly what happens in the book, and want to debate “plot holes” that don’t exist. After the fifth time correcting one of these misinformed posters, I simply ask “Do you actually own the book?”. If not, there’s no point in continuing the discussion, because all you can do is recite the book back to them in excruciating detail, because they refuse to believe that there is no plot hole.

I trust this posting has absolutely nothing to do with my comments on SCALPED. ;-)

I’d like not to, but Joe Quesada just keeps talking, and people seem to give what he says a lot of weight.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 20, 2009 at 10:09 am

I strenuously disagree with Brian’s post, and will now proceed to malign his intelligence and person with various obscene colloquialisms.

Totally off-topic but good news:

Incorrigible Hulk by Peter Bagge finally being released after being shelved for years.

” I strenuously disagree with Brian’s post, and will now proceed to malign his intelligence and person with various obscene colloquialisms. ”

No, good sir, you are the one who should best apply saliva to a mule’s phallus.

I would like to disagree with everyone. I also posit that all who disagree with me are of the worst kind. The WORST KIND.

>>I strenuously disagree with Brian’s post, and will now proceed to malign his intelligence and person with various obscene colloquialisms.

His insistence on poopheadedness *is* somewhat troubling, I must admit.

The problem isn’t that you or I have to argue EVERY silly point out there. The problem is that every silly point is serious for a handful of people.

Personally, I don’t care whether Dick Grayson looked better with a mullet or a ponytail, but I know that for some unfortunate soul out there, his entire fandom pivots on that point and he will defend his opinions to the death.

So we can all agree that we shouldn’t rise to silly arguments, but we can’t agree what arguments are silly. Therefore, all silly arguments are important to somebody and will be defended.

I completely agree…along with admitting that that’s one of the things I have the most trouble with on blogs/message boards, as you may have noticed :P

The type of post I am most likely to skip over is the post that debates e v e r y point made by a previous posted. It’s even worse when the responder continuously quotes paragraph after paragraph, followed by a response. The longer a response is, the more likely it is to bore me. My attention span has gotten shorter the longer I have been online (approaching 10 years).

Mike Loughlin

July 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

But, but, but, how else can I show everyone that I am *RIGHT!!!*

So we can all agree that we shouldn’t rise to silly arguments, but we can’t agree what arguments are silly.

We don’t need to agree on which arguments are silly, I’m saying that each person, in their minds, can tell what arguments that they think are silly. If they think said argument is silly, then I’m saying they shouldn’t bother arguing it.

If you don’t think an argument is silly (and others do), then fine, go ahead and argue it – that’s cool.

My “problem” is when people encounter an argument they clearly feel is ridiculous, yet argue it anyways.

There’s some kind of meta thing going on here where I feel like if I don’t post a response to this, I’m sending invisible “I think your point is silly” vibes to Brian.

@Brian:

Okay, I guess I can see your point, but you’re going to have to show me some examples if you can. It’s been my experience that when I encounter a slapfight online about something that I find absurd, the two opposing parties are taking their arguments very seriously.

Sorry, Wes, giving examples would basically be going against the whole idea, which is “if you think a point is ridiculous, ignore it.”

But, while trying to be as general as possible, I guess I would describe it as “You’re a moron! Let me now reply to you explaining why you’re a moron!” If you think the person is a moron, why are you responding to her/him?

I was going to write up a response to this post, but then I thought better of it. Tee hee.

-”We don’t need to agree on which arguments are silly, I’m saying that each person, in their minds, can tell what arguments that they think are silly. If they think said argument is silly, then I’m saying they shouldn’t bother arguing it. ”

Now THIS I agree with. One thing that always annoys me is that somebody starts a thread -Say, about continuity- and invariably someone else will pop up to say “I think this topic is stupid”. Isn’t that the equivalent of butting in on somebody else’s conversation? Such a person should hold his views for another thread that is *about* the validity of the subject; why ruin other people’s fun?

@ Josh: Oops, I missed that. Too bad there’s no “edit” option here. Thanks anyway. :)

But that brings another “bone of contention” in forums: grammar. I have always felt web forums are the equivalent of casual conversation: people misuse and mispronounce words all the time. They don’t really care as long as they are understood. Sure, you can correct others if you think they have trouble with spelling, but some people react like they’re violating a law or something. It’s even dumber than arguing about comics. Relax and, unless a word is mispelt in a way that causes confusion or shock (say, “buck” ;) ) just ignore them.

Look, all I know is that someone deleted my Bondage Duck picture!

Eliot Johnson

July 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

By the same token, Geoff Johns really does not need to fix every silly continuity issue out there.

Sijo said:

“But that brings another “bone of contention” in forums: grammar. I have always felt web forums are the equivalent of casual conversation: people misuse and mispronounce words all the time. They don’t really care as long as they are understood.”

In my circle of friends, we correct each other often, including proper usage of obscure words. Are we really that anal? Yep, and it’s not in a gloating way, just to make sure the speaker gets better at speaking. One recent discussion involved adaption or adaptation. Adaptation is correct, yet two of us (me included) thought adaption should be a word. My brother and I…my brother and me…me and my brother…yep, we correct those, too.

Cuz thass jus the way we roll, yo.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I don’t even think this post is worthy of a response, but I will make one anyway!

My “problem” is when people encounter an argument they clearly feel is ridiculous, yet argue it anyways.

But Briiiian…. it’s fun!

I’m usually pretty happy and having a laugh when I post – I loves me comics so I’m having fun when I’m talking about them, even if, sometimes especially if, it’s making some fool look like a fool, and even better hopefully realise, they’re a fool!

[...] remembering: You don’t HAVE to argue every silly point out there (via CSBG) [...]

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