The Art Of Arguing For The Sake Of Arguing

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Saxon Campbell

Some people don’t like it. It’s not a redeeming quality. It actively acts against you every time.

But it’s so fun while it lasts. So rewarding before the inevitable fatigue of one or both assailants. It may start out about something tangible, and circle back by debate’s end, but, at one point, midway through, you won’t have any sort of grip on what you were talking about in the first place.

And none of it matters: that’s the best and worst part, whatever the topics or range of topics, the crossfire is totally inconsequential. No one even has skin in the game beyond the mere fact of the discussion’s existence. It isn’t about what thing is best, or sucks the most, or what the ramifications of whatever coup happened in whatever country are. The point is to outlast and circle back with a more confident stroke. The only agenda is to rack up an unquantifiable higher score – that being said, you’ll know who won, and if it’s not you, you still didn’t lose because there’s always some sort of pyrrhic moral high ground or other to nuzzle into.

The sport of arguing is, like being sober around the drunk, a nightmare to have to experience from the outside. Because, Jesus, idiots. But, but, but if you’re liquored up on meaningless verbal combat, much like being liquored up on liquor, the only idiot is the one sitting next to you, contradicting your contradictions.

There are several stages:

1. The Minor Disagreement.

No big deal.

A: “This is dumb.”
B: “You don’t have to watch it.”

Now, that shouldn’t turn into a whole thing, but that’s exactly what’s about to happen, not because of the person who merely stated their apparently unpopular opinion, but, instead, because the other failed to merely shrug it off.

2. The Rumblings.

Trouble has found a hold and trouble hates letting things go, which, funnily enough, is going around and has infected our heroes.

“I mean, I’m just saying, I don’t get why you like this.”

“Why do you care?”

“I don’t.”

“Then why don’t you leave?”

“Because I want to watch.”

“Then can you be quiet?”

3. The Headfirst Dive.

“Sure, I just don’t get why you like this.”

And the fuse is lit. Now the original object of the minor disagreement has become immaterial. You see, one half of arguing for the sake of arguing is not acknowledging that you’re being an asshole and the other is trying to force the asshole into confronting their assholeness, whether that entails being an asshole yourself or not- it always does. Now that you’re both committed to the bit, everyone else should take their chance to get out. Or take sides. Nobody ought to take sides.

4. The Flail For Support.

Obviously some of the best arguing takes place between two people with no one else around. It’s easier to come back from because usually you can just fall silent for a little while, turn back to the TV, or whatever, and be fine. Not so in a public space! And it’s more fun around other people anyways, because you get to show off what a stubborn, self-congratulatory fountain of flawed logic and champion grandstander you really are.

Who isn’t impressed by loud assertiveness and baseless, tenuously eloquent posturing?

Anyways, so now that you’ve made everyone a participant whether they like it or not- always “or not.” You can turn away from your opponent and make “Are You Joking Me?” expressions to the room at large. “Get a loada this guy,” your condescendingly scrunched face screams at anyone who’ll look your way. You even gesture towards your partner in uncomfortable-making while maintaining eye contact with absolutely anyone else. People will blink and shrug and bug their eyes and shake their heads. No one wants to help. No one will fight the good fight alongside you. But that’s fine because you’ve come to…

5. The Fork.

Every meaningless argument reaches a point of no return. The original issue has been lost in the swirling sonics and it’s either time to throw in the towel with a few “I don’t even cares,” or to push on ahead. And so of course you take the latter, you always take the latter. This is the only important thing. This is super, super literally all out war.

6. The Devolution.

Eventually, with no real legs to stand on, everything starts to collapse. You realize you’re kind of wrong. They hopefully do. You dig into the minutiae of wherever the rift has dropped you. You start repeating the same things over and over again until you’re too tired to continue with the same robust form of blather you mustered for the last five minutes, then you both sort of trail off after every less and less inspired interjection. Eventually you remember the world only salient question: who cares?

And then, as quickly as it opened, the wound heals.

7. The Aftermath.

You always live to argue another day. Dubious opinion was struck on dubious opinion, hurtful things may have been hinted at, or even been brought explicitly to ear. It may have gotten personal, you may have, at one point stormed off a little ways, only to return, seconds later, refreshed and sure that this new footing would hold, which it almost certainly didn’t.

Regardless of the names named or tangential personal failings brought up as evidence or circumstantial stretches meant to open new approaches, but ultimately only serving to close off the preceding entry points, you can walk away as acquaintances or friends or whatever because, again, who cares, it didn’t matter. It was all in the name of arguing and you should probably just stopped watching it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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