Many people derail more things than a Soviet railway.

andythanfiction:

"Many red-heads wear pants."  

This is a qualified statement about a group.  It describes an action, not a trait.  There are many appropriate and interesting ways to respond to such a statement.  There are some of the ways that are neither listed below: 

  • "I’m a blonde, and I wear pants." That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Only red-heads wear pants.”
  • "I’m a red-head and I wear skirts sometimes."  That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Red-heads wear only pants.” 
  • "I’m a red-head and I never wear pants." That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “All red-heads wear pants.”
  • "I know a blonde who wears pants/a red-head who wears skirts."  You are not only making the same mistake as one of the ones above, you’re giving it an extra layer of irrelevance and self-centeredness.
  • "Pants are pantsist."  That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence  ”Are pants good?”
  • "Red-heads should wear skirts." That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Many red-heads wear pants, which is better than them wearing skirts.” 
  • "Red-heads look hotter in skirts."  That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Do you find red-heads in pants sexually desirable?”
  • "Pants are more comfortable."  That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Why do many red-heads wear pants?”
  • "That’s pantsist against red-heads!"  That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Many red-heads wear pants, and that is indicative of something about pants, pants-wearing, or red-heads.”   
  • "I can wear what I want!" That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Many red-heads wear pants, as you now must.”
  • "I have statistics that show more red-heads wear skirts than pants!"  That’s not what was said.  You are derailing in response to the imaginary sentence “Most red-heads wear pants.”
  • "Pants means underwear in the UK." I know that.  Made this post more interesting, IMHO.
  • "I like ice cream."  Now you’re just trolling.

While many things can be implied by words and by other words that surround them and the context of words, the words themselves still do matter, and good rhetoric, debate, and argument does not need strawmen or derailment.  You can’t respond to “what they really meant” if you aren’t even responding to what they said.  

So the next time you read a post that says something like “Almost all straight guys have committed acts of sexual entitlement towards women at some point in their lives,” or “some Yourotp fans are disturbingly aggressive to the point of criminal behavior,” or “many teenagers display poor rhetorical skills,” please at least understand how the words work while you’re revving up your typing fingers of rage.  

Because every time a blogger misses a point, Hawkeye cries.  

Notes

  1. shecansay reblogged this from andythanfiction
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  10. nosuchthingasfiction reblogged this from obsessionisaperfume
  11. firstdrafted reblogged this from iam-drugs and added:
    First, a quick clarification: a ten-second overview of the first few pages of your blog doesn’t reveal anything one way...
  12. the-esh-files reblogged this from andythanfiction
  13. iam-drugs reblogged this from firstdrafted and added:
    According to OP this is considered a derailing reaction to “all redheads wear pants.” The problem lies in the fact that...
  14. misssaintan reblogged this from obsessionisaperfume
  15. louxisalhama reblogged this from obsessionisaperfume
  16. certain-of-my-uncertainty reblogged this from andythanfiction
  17. dizzyjmb reblogged this from obsessionisaperfume and added:
    Some feminists are very hateful and sexist. Please don’t derail this discussion.
  18. stainglassrose reblogged this from obsessionisaperfume and added:
    Lol, I love this. Logic bitches -BOOM-
  19. stark-winter-night reblogged this from andythanfiction
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