This week, Psy, the South Korean YouTube sensation that brought "Gangnam Style" to the US, is catching some serious, career-damaging heat for past performances of music with strongly worded, threatening anti-American themes. I don't care to get into the politics of the situation, or whether or not he had a right to say what he did. This post isn't about Psy or his music. It's about what I hope our children will take away from it all.
We all know this person. Whether he or she is the relative you dread, the family friend who knows everything, or the mommy at the playground who thinks you’re an idiot and tries to get every other mom on her side, too, it’s the person who just has to have the last word.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve proven yourself to be correct; he or she will just sniff and say, “That’s a questionable source,” or “That’s disputable,” or even, “Well, I guess you know everything!” You take to tiptoeing around this person to avoid trouble, sticking to subjects like the weather—which is even tricky now that we have so many record temperatures—or your clothes or anything else that might not make this person start spewing their righteous blather.
The thing is, you really can’t avoid it because he or she is probably already planning on bringing up some new thing to dumbfound you—and everyone else with—for attention. It will be something they saw Jesse Ventura mention, for example (my uncle loves to talk about “Obama death camps”), or something Fox News had on that they’ve decided is pure gold. And it doesn’t matter what you say; not only will you not change their mind, you will also not satisfy them with your “Let’s agree to disagree” or your rationalized arguments with evidence. They will not be happy until you say these words exactly: “You’re right and I’m wrong.”
For years, my biggest pet peeve was when people would retort, “True.” That’s just so obnoxious to me, like they’re validating what you say because obviously it might not have been true! Thank you for acknowledging that my statement wasn’t false. I know it’s a silly thing to get miffed over but it was mine.
Now it’s when people say, “I’m confused.” The thing is, they don’t say it when they are really confused; they say it when you say something against whatever they consider the “truth”—there’s that “true” element again!—and they disagree with it. “I’m confused,” a mom will tell me when I tell her of a special running at a venue she previously thought was closed or something. “I’m confused,” a relative will say when I tell them no, we didn’t go to X because we went to Y instead, even though we said we might go to Y the day before. (That’s irritating, too—when people act offended that you change your plans even when they aren’t involved in them.)