Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Art of Controversy, Verizon style

Prof Greg Mankiw points to a recording that “takes a while, and it is not at all edifying.” Go ahead and laugh at the math skills held by a couple of Verizon call center employees, but notice the skill they present on other fronts. Namely, they are natural masters of controversy.

Unable (or unwilling) to see their mathematical error, they've wisely armed themselves with Stratagem XXII, Stratagem XV, and Stratagem XXXVI from Arthur Schopenhauer's Art of Controversy. That is, “Petitio principii,” “Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions,” and (the powerhouse) “Bewilder Your Opponent by Mere Bombast.” Their strategies are classic, and painful to listen to (their greatest strength perhaps). Real slick.

George, their opponent, was left with few options. He thus pulled out Stratagem XXVIII: “Persuade the Audience, Not The Opponent.” Brilliant counter attack. The public release of his phone conversation has surely left the blogosphere entirely persuaded (and amused).

A couple more days of hibernation and I'll be back (with less fluff).

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