Speaking & Listening In The Age of Sound Bites

The growing number of outlandish conspiracy theories and factual inaccuracies (aka fake news) prompted me to list some responses that I present for consideration and further discussion.

I propose a multi-tier level of responses ranging from conciliatory to debatable to “oh hell no, that’s crazy talk”.

Conciliatory and empathetic:

  • “You sound like you have a lot of pent up anger. What brought you to this position?”
  • “Have you held this belief for a long time or did you come to believe it more recently?”
  • I can see how your life experiences have shaped these beliefs. Likewise, are you willing to consider how they might be inaccurate?

Within this category might be the admonishment of “walking a mile in the others shoes” and “considering both sides of the coin”

Debatable and pleasantly/respectfully argumentative:

  • What is your source?
  • Have you checked other sources?
  • Have you absolutely verified the facts. Likewise, have you verified the alleged lies?
  • Why do you think the vast majority of people and news sources are not on board with this conspiracy theory and your interpretation of news and reality?
  • If your conspiracy theory and interpretation of reality is true, what are you planning to do with it? What is your call to action? What do you want me to do?
  • How can you be sure that you are not being gamed and duped by proponents of this conspiracy theory?
  • This category includes the theme of “let’s agree to disagree but not be disagreeable”.

Hell No…..this is patently wrong. It goes beyond wrong and it’s morally offensive.

Examples of this would include the following:

  • Holocausts deniers
  • Mass shooting deniers

Responses might include the following:

  • Don’t ever bring this up again with me. If you insist on doing so , it may be necessary to part ways.
  • Let’s talk again when you come back to reality.
  • Were you abducted by aliens and was a probe inserted with these ideas?
  • Have you been taking your meds?
  • Do you have any idea how hurtful these ideas are to the family/friends of the victims of the atrocities that you are denying existed?
  • Your interpretation is not only factually inaccurate, it is morally wrong because of it’s hateful, hurtful nature. If we continue on this path, it is likely to lead to atrocity, bigotry, and dehumanization.

I can not in good conscience join you on this journey to hell and I will do everything in my power to dissuade others from accompanying you.

Published by dunnwriteswell

Boomer who is late bloomer to writing. Healthy addictions include Book TV and exercise. Track all things historic, political, cultural, economic and social. Mixture of tough-love. Minimalist who is fiscally conservative and socially progressive. Realist not afraid to see the glass as half empty. However, still willing to consider outside-the-box, long term solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Old enough to appreciate the greater arc of history while remaining young at heart.

One thought on “Speaking & Listening In The Age of Sound Bites

  1. Reblogged this on Dunn Writes Well and commented:

    This is a reblog of a post I issued back on 3/1/21. I was motivated to repost it because I recently participated in a wonderful series of mindfulness seminars available at my job. The issues and response strategies remain the same so I felt it appropriate to re-visit. Plus, Thanksgiving dinner is fast approaching so advice to counter animosity at the dinner table seemed timely


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