Dissent from Footinootism

2 Conversations

I retreat

You recoil from the impact

(Roger McGough)

Footinootism is a lovely idea. No, it is! It's been conceived by some very nice people and is thoroughly well intentioned.

BUT: Consider this exchange:

A: 'There are fairies at the bottom of my garden.'

B: No there aren't. It's a daft notion without a shred of evidence to support it.

A: How dare you show disrespect for my deeply held belief! I consider that a personal attack.

EVERYONE: That A's not a very nice person, is he? Look! He's made B cry. Let's put on our smug little footinooti badges and hound him!

Quis custodiet ipsos footinooties?

But like I say...it is a good idea in principle. Only... what might we do about postings such as:

'I hear what you're saying - but you've got your facts wrong.'

'Your'e basing your argument on selective evidence.'

'I'm afraid you've got your facts wrong.'

'That is completely unsuupportable.'

'Frankly, I think you're being naive.'

'You've misunderstood the situation.'

'I completely diagree with that, and here's why...'

'That's not right.'

These all sound to me like they could be legitimate statements. They may or may not be intended to wound. They may or may not be taken personally by the recipient. Oftentimes it comes down to personality and experience of debate. Myself - I'm rather fond of a good old barney. Some of my best friends are those who will disagree with me - the more vehement the better.

And what about:

'You've made a racist assumption.'


'You're a disgraceful homophobe.'

Definitely ad hominem, I'd say. But as any diversity awareness training will teach, to not speak out is to give tacit support.

So...no...I'll not be joining in this one. Thanks, all the same, for trying to make the world a better place.

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