I like Phil Plait a lot, but he’s recently been on a thing about “Not Being A Dick” and his recent video is supposed to be a clarification of that position.This reminds me of the scene in nearly every cop show where they take a fuzzy picture and apply enhancement software to it, and see a reflection of the killer’s face on a chrome-plated lugnut. There’s only so much you can clarify a position that is fuzzy to begin with.
The rest of that post is well worth your time.
Les at Stupid Evil Bastard ripped a great gaping hole in the central premise of Phil’s argument:
Phil says all that does is make people defensive and resort to knee-jerk rationalizations and that is often true, I’m certainly guilty of it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t stop to consider the accusation of idiocy later when they have cooled down and are no longer in the midst of the argument. Not everyone will, but people who are anything like I am probably will and prompting that self-reflection can be the beginning of change.
I have much long and bitter experience in determining the truth of that.
So, we’ve determined that a) quite often we’re hitting the target we intend, not the one he thinks we aimed at and b) when we turn double-barreled dickishness on someone with the intent of converting them, specifically, it can get the job done. And I’ve not yet seen anyone argue that we must be all dick all the time. There’s a time and a place for some hand-holding, sweet words o’ persuasion, and some gentle urging along. That doesn’t leave DBAD in great shape.
Look, the sentiment was nice, and it’d be great if we lived in a world where dickishness was unnecessary, but there’s a reason for the carrot-and-stick proverbs. Sometimes, all of us need a good sharp thump with a really big stick (or dick, ha ha) in order to snap out of our stupidity.