When Takimoto first mentioned that he was looking for people to guest-write Tako Tuesdays, I wanted to jump at the chance. But what could I offer? What knowledge could I possibly bring to this community that would be worthy of such an honor? Suddenly two thoughts popped into my head.
Unfortunately, you will not hear about the first, which involved metaphorically linking each major Lord of the Rings character to a member of the football team (Chip Kelly as Aragorn? Yes please). Instead, you will hear about the second. With thanks to Takimoto, what follows is the only other subject on which I am qualified to write: internet arguing.
Let's dive right in, shall we?
Point one: Never surrender.
When Al Gore invented this wonderful series of tubes we call "the Internet," he somehow made it so that it will never run out of space. Therefore, it is your right, NAY! your duty, to take up as much room as possible with inane discussions about everything under the sun.
This means that when you, most likely after having one too many PBR’s and watching Tajuan Porter clank ANOTHER effing three pointer immediately following a timeout, make some off-the-cuff point such as "Not only should Ernie Kent be fired, but he should be forced to float pantsless through the Denali Wilderness and name the first Aleutian American he sees as his successor," you need to be prepared to defend that statement to the death. No logic or reason or law of physics should deter you from engaging any and all comers in an epic battle to win the supremacy of the thread. Because 736 run-on sentences later, when your enemies, beaten down by the passionate prose you deftly wield, fall prostrate in submission and surrender to your intellectual prowess, you will stand victorious on the lofty peak of Mount Interwebs, your flag waving gallantly in the electronic breeze. It is only then that you will truly be free.
Note: Everyone leaving a thread to go mock you in a different thread counts as them conceding the point.
Point two: Blockquoting
Make liberal use of blockquotes. Some would argue that simply replying to the comment you are refuting implies a point/counterpoint structure that doesn’t require any further emphasis. Those people are weenies. I say sack up and let your opponent know you mean business. Quote his worthless, no-good comment in your own, and then take it to task with all the fervor of LaMichael James devouring chunks of yardage against the porous defenses of USC and OSU.
Note: It is always best to break down quotes as far as possible. For example, if you are trying to argue against the following (obviously wrongheaded) statement: "Chip Kelly should kick a FG here," you could do this:
Chip Kelly should kick a FG here.
No he shouldn’t.
OR, you could do this:
How dare you mention our illustrious coach’s name without the proper respect? You will address him as "Sir" or "His Honor." I’m quite certain he’s earned it.
Oh, so you admit that there are other options! What are those other options, you might ask? Better ones, as I carefully laid out in the 2,500 word novella I posted several comments up.
Wait a minute, am I supposed to pronounce "FG" like "Eff Gee"? Because then you should have used "an." Also, it probably would have been better to just eschew the indefinite article altogether and use "the," since we’re only talking about one possible field goal try.
Bah. Ridiculous in its presumptuousness.
Point three: Vocabulary
Use as many big words and obscure phrases as possible, as I demonstrated above. The thesaurus is your friend. Some delightful possibilities: "obsfucate," "draconian," and, my personal favorite, "Occam’s Razor."
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I can hear the protests already. "But Gorby," you’ll say, "I don’t know what those words really mean!" Well, Axemen, remember that this is the internet. You don’t have to use these terms in the proper context. Chances are your opponent has no more idea of what those terms mean than you do.
Note: It would be wise to have a list of logical fallacies handy, as well. These are to be used only in case of emergency (i.e. when you’re getting your ass handed to you in an argument by someone who obviously has a much stronger point, such as when you are trying to argue why Boise State should be ranked number 2 in the country).
If your counterpart starts getting a little too frisky, just throw in a casual:
"Well, that’s just begging the question!" or
"Way to bust out the argumentum ad absurdum right there." or
"Nice ad hominem attack, numbskull. Try a real argument next time."
These logical fallacies are extremely helpful in internet arguing. Why? It’s simple - Latin words mean more than English words. The word "ad" is Latin for "this guy knows his shit." With any luck, you’ll either throw the other person off track, or you’ll have a good exit strategy to simply stop the argument right there on account of your opponent not playing by the rules.
Point four: Friendliness
You can skip this point if you’re arguing on ESPN message boards, or a similar site where you couldn’t care less if every other commenter thinks you’re a giant douchebag. But when you’re arguing with fellow Duck fans and you want to keep from being a pariah in the ATQ community, it’s important that you maintain civility.
Now, this is tricky, because on the one hand, it annoys the living piss out of you that anyone would dare question your superior wisdom in a matter such as Morgan Flint’s leg strength and placekicking accuracy. But on the other hand, you can’t lose your cool, because then you get little messages from Dom or Jared saying that they’ll ban you if you post one more link to Leonard Nimoy singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins."
So here’s the key - always precede your argument with one of the following helpful clauses:
"You have a good point there..."
"I see what you’re saying…"
"It is true that [repeat what they said]…"
or my personal favorite "Truly you have a dizzying intellect…"
Really, that’s it! If you begin with any of those things, you’ve established that you’re not out to get anybody. You’re playing nice! You just want to have a cordial exchange of opinions! Check out this example rebuttal:
"I see what you’re saying, but you’re still completely wrong. You have a good point there, but in all honesty, I can’t believe anyone smart enough walk to upright would think that chanting ‘Over-rated’ is silly. You couldn’t pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel."
Do you see how friendly that sounded? Now once the argument is over (and you’ve won, of course), you can go back to being buddies with your adversary. No harm done!
Note1: An alternate method is to follow each argument with a smiley emoticon or an "LOL!" This implies you were happy as you typed the venomous epithets hurled in your opponent’s direction, and since you were happy, you couldn’t possibly have meant anything derogatory.
Note2: Sarcasm is very easily detectable in written form, so use it as often as possible. There is virtually zero chance that someone will misinterpret what you said as being literal when clearly you were being facetious. Sarcasm is a trustworthy ally in any internet argument.
As I’m sure you’ve all realized by now, arguing on the internet is an extremely valuable use of your time, and it contributes much to online society as a whole. Master these basics, and you’re well on your way to a satisfying existence as a comment board rabble rouser. Don’t forget, once you can successfully employ these, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up more nuanced argument techniques, such as how the word "Really?" can be used as an insult, and how to correctly use Caps Lock and exclamation points. But employ those methods with caution, as the power you wield is not unlike the power that Gandalf declined when Frodo offered him the One Ring. It can destroy you and everyone you love. Seriously.
Here are a few fun lightning rods of debate that you can use to practice the methods you’ve just learned:
- Better thief: Jeremiah Masoli (Macbook, guitar)? Or Cliff Harris (Matt Daddy’s heart)?
- Ernie Kent should be handed a lifetime contract, yes or absolutely yes?
- See the poll below
I’m awarding a keg sticker to the guy who always seems to be on the other side of my arguments (probably just to play devil’s advocate, since he knows I’m right). Thanks for not banning me jtlight! I was going to award a keg sticker to Axemen23 for being such a good sport about all the teasing he gets, but then I remembered that he can't drink. Sorry man.