Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rhetoric

Even though I'm quite fond of criticising things and correcting people, it's not very often that I actually do so. (Which is probably due to some urge for social acceptance, but that's another topic.) I was thinking about writing something criticising, the train of thought running through my head as I went to have a shower, and pretty soon, due to the incredible effect the shower has on my mind, I started thinking about my critique in general.

If there's something I want to criticise, often I tend to prelude it with a foundation of objective writing. Or rather, as I came to realise, a front of objectivity. Because, since the ultimate goal is an attack based on my own bias and opinions, it's not objective.

I say "attack", but it's very rarely that it comes out that way. Straight attack is often the worst way to put something, since it always puts the other side (in a debate, for example) on the defence. And when people start defending something, they will often do so blindly, even if in normal circumstances they would see the fault in it. Instead, I prefer to wrap the criticism up in "sweetener" if I can. Poison always goes down better in the form of candy.

2 comments:

Ainu said...

You meanie ;)

Jonas said...

That’s the way I do it too.
The reasoning behind it is very simple; your goal is to first of all make a person listen to your side of the argument. If you start off too aggressive the person will stop listening alltogether. Many extremists make this mistake. Because they use a language that rubs people the wrong way they are not heard. If they could argue their point better they’d probably gain a bigger following. And the extremists that ARE able to do this; it is them we need to look out for. But I digress…

First you write something so the person will go “yeah, that’s true”, then tweak it a bit so they’ll go “hmm…that DOES make sense” and at the very end you bring on the big guns. People don’t want to feel like they are told something. They want to feel like they themselves have come to such a conclusion. By structuring your argument in this way you can make them believe that they came to your conclusion by themselves.