How to Talk About the Debate Without Getting Punched
October 12, 2012 § 16 Comments
Debates are stressful. Oh, not being in a debate. That’s easy. You just get into your zone and make crazy eyes and say, “If I may,” and “Let’s back up for a moment,” and “Shut your piehole, monkeyass,” a lot. I mean stressful to watch. Here’s why:
- Debates are fighting. I don’t like fighting – doing it, watching it, hearing it. Conflict makes me want to knock over my wine glass or tell a stupid joke or vomit into my own lap just to distract everyone from their squabbling.
- As a speechwriter, I get nervous when speakers go off script, which of course they’re supposed to do in a debate. But I can’t stop stage-whispering at the TV, “Say it like you practiced. Say it like you practiced. SAY IT LIKE YOU PRACTICED.” No one around me finds that at all annoying, though; so it’s cool.
- Doesn’t the building tension during a debate make you expect some awesomely disastrous movie-like turn of events? I keep waiting for someone to slap someone else; a podium to burst into flames; a dinosaur foot to come down from the ceiling. But it never happens. Disappointing.
Anyway. I know it’s every citizen’s duty to be an informed voter. (America!) So I watch. But I keep one eye on Twitter at the same time for distraction. The problem is that people on Twitter can get just as amped up as the candidates themselves, so if you’re not careful whom you follow or comment on, you could end up getting dragged into a brawl or having an anxiety attack about all the fighting. Yes, even just talking about a debate can be stressful.
Last night, I discovered another person trying to keep it light. Novelist Lydia Netzer joined in the Twitter debate chatter while avoiding controversy entirely, posting under the hashtag #neutraldebatecommentary. If you want to make small talk during election season without getting hit in the face, just follow Lydia’s lead. Here’s our exchange:
Pretty easy. Stick to wardrobe, personal grooming, and decor. Meanwhile, just in case you get drawn into the fray, practice your debate skills: