In my last post, In Defense of John Oliver and the Current Year, I attempted to explain, if only from a devil’s advocate perspective, the folly of mocking people for saying ‘come on, it’s [current year]’. The responses I received made it clear that I failed, so now the kid gloves are coming off and I’m gonna show you how those refusing to accept my position are objectively wrong – or as we say in gaming, prepare to be pwned.
One thing that has always rustled my jimmies, is when people demonstrate a remarkably willful ability to not comprehend the use of an idiom. Consider the following exchange:
-There’s a Twilight marathon on TV tonight.
-I could care less.
-Ha! You mean to say you couldn’t care less, by saying you could care less you have implicitly stated that you care some level above zero, therefore you love Twilight. Checkmate, faggot.
Whenever someone says “I could care less” there is always some wannabe grammar maven hiding in the shadows who chooses this precise moment to leap out and demonstrate their superior grasp of the English language. But here’s the thing, “I could care less” is an idiomatic expression and by interpreting it literally you are actually demonstrating your incompetency with the English language.
Now consider the following line of dialogue from the hit HBO show, Game of Thrones:
“I could care less what other people think of me.” – Jaime Lannister.
Now ask yourself which is more likely? That saying “I could care less” is an acceptable idiom which, when properly interpreted, means the exact same thing as “I couldn’t care less”, or alternatively, that you have a better grasp of the English language than best selling author George R.R. Martin, not to mention the thousands of other people who choose to make the expression part of their vernacular?
Now consider the following exchange:
-I believe the earth is flat.
-Well, you’re fucking stupid.
-Nice ad hominem bro, what’s wrong, can’t debate the facts? Why won’t you tell me why you think the earth is round?
-Because it’s 2016.
-Pft, you can’t be serious! That’s not an argument! The current date on the Gregorian calendar has no correlation with the alleged sphericality of the Earth. Checkmate, faggot.
Now ask yourself, why are you talking about the calendar? Are you literally mentally fucking retarded? Because when the person in this example says “It’s 2016”, what they are actually saying is “your question, or your position, is so egregiously and breathtakingly stupid and indefensible that by merely asking or stating it you have already demonstrated that you lack the mental capacity to grasp any reasoned response I could possibly give. I cannot fathom how one such as yourself could exist in the current day and age, but I will not suffer it to continue. Please, if you have any human decency at all, please kill yourself, for the greater good, I beseech you.”
That’s a real mouthful, which is why people will sometimes choose to simply use the current year idiom rather than say what they really mean, and the real meaning is why the idiom is so often used as a comedic device, because it is a proverbial burn. (hashtag btfo).
Now let’s stop pretending any one really gives a shit what John Oliver thinks, and talk about Canada’s golden boy Trudeau. Because this is really where people got fed up the idiom and started to actively ridicule it’s use, if my anecdotal observations are to be believed.
I’ve heard all kinds of arguments here, including but not limited to, something along the lines of ‘Trudeau is a typical SJW that has to simply state his position as being progress because he can’t argue it on any basis of merit.’
But is that really true? One thing to consider is that having gender parity in the cabinet was one of the things in the liberal platform that Trudeau campaigned on. Hence he could have just as easily responded that it was part of his campaign, and that he was elected with a majority government and therefore he has been mandated by the constituents whom he represents to appoint such a cabinet and that the reporter should therefore direct her question to the public at large. But that wouldn’t make for a pithy sound bite, now would it? You honestly have to hand it to the guy, not only is he saying everything outlined in the true meaning of the idiom above, but he is also effectively saying “I’m giving the people what they want” (hashtag thug life).
Now you’re perfectly welcome to not agree with any of this. That’s the benefit of living in a free and open democratic society. And you’re welcome to argue the finer points all you want. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting that saying “it’s [current year]” is some magic trump all that actually automatically grants ideological or intellectual superiority and therefore should never be mocked because it’s too late because you’ve already lost. That would just be stupid. I’m simply saying that this is, in fact, what the invoker, for better or worse is attempting to convey – and now here’s the salient point, so stay with me people:
If you want to convince me that they have, in fact, conveyed a falsehood, then you will have to try harder than simply mocking them for the usage of [current year]. While I’ve seen plenty people on youtube and reddit crack wise at the use of “it’s [current year] I never see those very same people, in the case of Trudeau, go onto argue the finer points of the debate. While some of these people might argue in favor a merit based system (which is an entirely valid point to raise, don’t get me wrong) they never actually point out any inadequacies of his cabinet choices. Because to do that would take actual work and effort, and let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time fo dat. However I do see, sometimes, those people bend over backwards trying to dismantle the argument by sincerely arguing that the person is somehow literally using the calendar date to defend their position.
This brings us back to the concept of idioms, and how you don’t understand them and how the more strenuously you try to dismantle the usage of [current year], rather than the merits, or lack thereof, of the position in question, the more fucking stupid you look. It’s an idiom. It’s jocular. You need to try harder.