I recently read this post by Fast Karate’s Dave where he takes a game journalist to task for some blanket statements the guy made in regards to ideas like political correctness and freedom of speech. Dave makes good points about how these terms are abused to try and create the image of some noodle-armed over-sensitive people who can’t handle the truth. However, I find he also does something which can spoil the effectiveness of his arguments tremendously, which is that his conclusion simply amounts to telling the journalist (and others) to essentially “grow up.”
That article is not the first time I’ve seen this approach, and nor will it probably be the last, but I have to say that there is something problematic about structuring well-reasoned arguments with a lot of good points to consider, particularly regarding topics such as the portrayal of sex and gender in media, and then just ending it with a simple demand to grow up, man up, get some common sense, or any other number of variations.
Certainly, as people mature they generally become wiser and may realize some of the arguments they made in the past were built on narrow perspectives or naive assumptions. However, the demand to grow up pushes the debate away from having points of discussion where people explain their sides and why they think it’s important that the other be convinced of their points, and into this vague space where certain intangibles are tacitly understood, as if to say that the point being made is so obvious if only you would catch up to the social norms which govern these interactions. Again, that’s not to say that the arguments preceding that jump couldn’t be perfectly cogent and even just outright correct, but if the idea at hand is so obvious that all it takes is for a person to “grow up” then the debate probably wouldn’t be happening in the first place.
I feel like if we can avoid narrowing the discussion to an argument against the other side’s immaturity then there wouldn’t be quite as much backlash.