Reality Adjustments

Man Stuck Playing Devil’s Advocate

Jul 18, 2018

Chicago, Illinois

Something broke somewhere. A record player got stuck skipping into the same old groove. 

Thirty-year-old contrarian James Smith of German, English and Czech descent—who also mentions that his “great-grandmother was probably full-blooded Cherokee”—found an opportune moment to play devil’s advocate at a party for post-doctoral students.

It was a few drinks into the night.  A group of women just so happened to laugh a bit too loudly and opened their backs slightly to the man, giving him an entrance.

As a lid bursts from the steam pot, James began to spew a series of non sequitur conjectures.  He leaned into the ladies at a highly acute angle.  A light spittle misted from his lips.  His forehead wrinkled in concentration.  He was poised.  Possessed.  Determined.  He closed his eyes, tightened his ears, and let the words take over:

“Well actually, ladies, I overheard your conversation and in the interest of covering all sides, I must interject!

Is it being racist if countries want to protect their borders?

And maybe her red dress was a bit slutty and she did look older for her age?

Some women are crazy and take things the wrong way.

They were both drunk, weren’t they?

That’s discriminating on white men.  I don’t like how it feels.

Perhaps separate can be equal?

Why should equity be favored over equality?

Maybe society does owe poor people less and rich people more?

Is it discrimination if it’s religious discrimination?

Poor people are more prone to crime, factually speaking, and blacks and Latinos are statistically more poor, so don’t cops have a right to do their jobs?

Is there anything wrong with wanting to protect a culture’s language and traditions?

AR-15s are a much better defense against rapists and robbers than compassion.

When I was young we all had guns and there were no school shootings.

Sometimes pain is an effective deterrent.

Sometimes that kind of talk between men is just locker room talk, not meant for public, just insignificant jokes out of context.

Do you really trust all women to choose? is as biased and deceptive as they come!

Is it not possible that progressives are behind most of the violence at KKK rallies?

If a black man kneels at work, don’t his employers have a right to fire him?

It’s a free country I support everyone’s right to free speech, and that includes Nazis, who if you stop labeling them and open your ears sometimes can make a lot of good points.

How do you know the Earth is round?  Did you measure it yourself or just see it online?

Well this is coming not from me but is the video of a black female I found online.

Modern PC culture is anti-diversity of opinion.

Maybe gender-confused bathrooms are in some way ripping apart relationships and traditional marriage?

Health food and non-GMO labels and organic labels are just leftist marketing lies to get you to spend a ton of money for no practical gains.

But I’m all above love!  How come you don’t feel I’m coming from love, idiot?

But but but…

But maybe maybe…

Hey knock it off!  It’s not me!  I’m just playing the devil’s advocate!”

Then James Smith blinked and relaxed his face.  The room had largely cleared.  A collective groan settled over those remaining.

Oh gawd, Becky.  Such a bore.  Must we have another Devil’s Advocate?  Really?

Hey you.  Yes you.  

It’s not the devil talking.

It’s you.

But but but… it’s ok.  Relax.  You just got stuck in your quest to “always paint all sides of the truth.”  And my what a side you keeping choosing to paint in that 1000-sided jewel.  Oh what’s that?  You’re not a “Democrat or Republican or any side really.”  You’re just “helping us think,” as if the crowd never once considered the style in which you are helping them think.

Might there be another way?  Diplomacy is a muscle than atrophies when not used.

What happens when you stop speaking in reactions?  What happens when you lay down those language games, Derrida?  Lay down the need to “always show the full picture” (as if) and play the Devil’s Advocate” (he needs help?).

Ever try being an advocate?  Your old brain will immediately wiggle right through that and say “I’m an advocate for devil’s advocacy.”

Lay it aside.  Lay it aside.

Take the side that hears context yet still finds a way to advocate for the heart.  Cupid’s Advocate?  Cupid is is really good also at doing taxes and balancing budgets.

Once more now, with feeling.

The Tilted Glass