Argument Clinic: Just Joking

Saying something nasty and following it with “I’m just joking” is a form of verbal abuse that’s passive-aggressive. I.e: it’s semi-concealed aggression, intended to give the target pause as to whether or not they can successfully counter-attack.

Is this the right room for an argument?

Is this the right room for an argument?

It’s a technique that can be employed in a strategy of verbal abuse but succeeds if it’s fairly consistent, and only then against unsophisticated targets.

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Argument Clinic: A Theory of Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse and written abuse are important social tools. If you’re going to use them (or defend against them) you may as well do a good job and be properly equipped. In this series, I am going to offer some of my opinions about strategy regarding verbal abuse. To be clear: this is not a canonical treatment; I welcome your feedback – especially if it’s well-aimed and cruel.

Is this the right room for an argument?

Is this the right room for an argument?

I hope to expand this into a full series including a variety of techniques as subtle as eye-gouging and groin-kicking are in a street-fight. This section is groundwork and throat-clearing, so it’s going to be delivered more in the tone of a short lecture than as strategic or tactical maxims. As Anne Elk said, “This is a theory, which is mine. And this is it.”

We start with the 5 minute argument.

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