The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 September 2002

Two letters, no waiting

Somebody — was it P. J. O'Rourke? — once opined that the single most useful word in defending US interests was the simple word so, framed as a question in as accusatory a manner as possible. Used in this way, it becomes possible to refute all sorts of criticisms leveled from the Other Side. Example:

The US has imperialist ambitions!

"So?"

And its usefulness extends beyond foreign policy:

Ten percent of the taxpayers got 80 percent of the tax cut!

"So?"

Alternate forms include "Your point being?" and "And this is a problem because...?"

This is actually less flippant than it seems; today, when sloganeering is the primary form of political discourse, giving someone else's shibboleth the rhetorical back of your hand is every bit as effective as trying to explain things to the nudnik, and it saves time and/or bandwidth. A no-lose proposition all around, if you ask me.

Posted at 7:34 AM to Political Science Fiction


Thanks. That could come in handy in all sorts of situations. Of course it's much more fun face to face where you can see the disgusted facial expressions and indignant sputtering.

Posted by: Lynn at 9:44 PM on 10 September 2002

I think anyone with a comments facility has seen indignant sputtering, albeit in ASCII. :)

Posted by: CGHill at 12:14 PM on 11 September 2002