24 2 / 2012

So I made my video today for two reasons. One, because I wanted to showcase and comment upon the vast amount of cute that we have in our world, because it’s fun to think about things we don’t think about (even if I’m thinking about them in idiotic ways.)

But the other reason is that I wanted to point out a few ways to make a ludicrous argument seem semi-sane. This is how people get terrified over small problems. Or, more correctly, it’s how powerful people make the people who listen to them terrified, so that they control them. A heavy topic for a video about cute, I know, but that’s how I do.

So, in this video, some devices I used:

  1. Discuss a topic people know exists, but haven’t spent a lot of time analyzing, so they won’t have formed an opinion yet. This way, you get to them first, and people make up their minds. Once minds are made up, they can be very difficult to change
  2. The turn-around. “I was once a sinner too! But I have realized the error of my ways.” Not only does this make people feel OK for having done the bad thing themselves, so they don’t turn off to the message, but it empowers them to become a spokesperson.
  3. Compare to other frightening problems we face. I did this when I called tiny animals a “gateway” which draws the mind to drugs. Then later, when I call it a drug outright, it seems less ridiculous. 
  4. Story of downfall. Explaining how one simple thing can lead to more and more severe behavior. This allows the speaker to link innocuous acts to dangerous acts, making the innocuous acts (downloading a song) seem like the same thing as being an international, for-profit distributor of bootleg movies.
  5. True statements followed by opinions. “Never before has humanity been exposed to so much cute.” TRUE! “We have no idea what this is doing to our brains.” Not so much true…more like speculation. This makes the opinion sound like a fact because the fact before it was so interesting and obviously true.
  6. Invoke the children. ALWAYS INVOKE THE CHILDREN
  7. Incorrect use of the word “literal.” This seems to be a rule…I don’t know why.
  8. Invoking the opposition’s argument before they make it. “Many people will say that cuteness is natural.” It’s probably an idea that’s forming in the listener’s minds, and you want to stamp it out before it takes hold. I did this in a particularly ludicrous way (saying that cuteness only exists to keep us from eating our children) to point out that it doesn’t matter how you counter the argument, only that you do counter the argument.
  9. Confusion. Saying “I don’t know, do you know?” is a powerful force for liars. Just find a question the opposition can’t answer and keep throwing it in their face.
  10. "Some people are saying." It doesn’t matter if some people are actually saying it. I mean, some people will certainly be saying it after the powerful person says it, so you might as well say "Some people are saying" thus making it not your opinion, but the opinion of some unseen mass of people who, we automatically assume, are intelligent and have values like ours.
  11. Link your issue with another hot-button issue. “The cute tax will help balance our national budget.”
  12. Personal call to congress. Oh yeah.
  13. Propose a solution, no matter how outlandish. Say that it will be simple and convenient, no matter how difficult, expensive, and limiting it will be.
  14. Invoke a celebrity personality for your cause (I chose a fake celebrity here, for obvious reasons.)

So…yeah, those are some things to watch out for. Just because people are using those tools doesn’t mean their cause is unjust, only their tactics. And every single one of the sides in any national debate uses tactics like these. I find it extremely annoying when my side uses them, but they are very effective.

  1. driftcompatible reblogged this from edwardspoonhands
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  4. mindchildofmadness reblogged this from edwardspoonhands and added:
    YES! When I realized the argument you were making my initial reaction was “that’s ridiculous!” and then I started seeing...
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    In case any of you were still unclear on the concept, here is yet more proof that Hank Green is a genius mastermind.
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  14. cats-22 reblogged this from edwardspoonhands and added:
    An excellent analysis of fallacy. Watch the video, laugh, then read the article and rewatch the video seriously.
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  17. wearejuststoriesmakeitagoodone reblogged this from edwardspoonhands and added:
    I love how skillfully he does this. During an election year, no less. My adoration for the Vlogbrothers has no bounds.
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  22. carminapiranha reblogged this from edwardspoonhands and added:
    I watched this and immediately thought, “WHERE IS MY CAT?? I NEED TO HOLD MY CAT!!”
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