The Art of Disagreeing

So you know what’s gotten a little out of hand lately? The need to have the last word. I blame the internet. (It’s easiest). No but really though, the internet seems to have brought out this weird thing in us where we must a) have all our arguments, disputes and disagreements in the public sphere and b) never let anything go. Ever. Growing up, the general message when it came to confrontation was to be somewhat gracious, especially in defeat, the internet has birthed a culture of ‘don’t back down, even if you’re wrong and making a complete ass of yourself, don’t back down.’ I got to wondering the other day, can’t we just go back to the time where we can just let some stuff slide?

There have been numerous very public examples of this lately. Take singer Fiona Apple for example. She was recently arrested in Texas when the po-lice found marajuana on her tour bus. She was released on bond and went to her next performance where she spoke about how she felt she’d been mistreated. Heck, most people would relate such tales. Well, not to be outdone, the sheriff of the town she was arrested in wrote her an open letter, essentially to take her down a peg, let her know that he’s the law, call her sweetie and compare her to other vicious felons, such as Snoop Dogg. Why would he do that? I’ll tell you why – because he can. While ordinarily this would be a classic example of a time you should just let some sh*t slide, this sheriff is out on a mission to quite literally prove, you don’t mess with Texas. But at least he got his 15 minutes.

Then there’s the ongoing bizarre YSL saga. It seems anyone who speaks even remotely out of turn in any form of media about YSL gets instantly added to their eternal damnation list. But this is not done quietly. There have been a series of open letters and missives and blog posts and articles going back and forth between journalists and Hedi Slimane, creative director at YSL, all in the public realm. It seems none of these people have ever learned how to walk away from an argument.

My point is, all this open letter nonsense is the internet equivalent of storming off and coming back two days later saying ‘And another thing!’ then listing off all the witty responses you thought up in the meantime about the petty argument you had. Enough already. It is not necessary for you to always have the last word. It is also not necessary for everyone to know about your arguments and personal beefs. What happened to people keeping it classy? Can’t people have spats behind closed doors anymore? Is it now bad manners to agree to disagree? Or must we labour each and every point of an argument until everything loses its meaning and the entire world is pissed off?

People, people, people – let’s all save ourselves a few sleepless nights thinking of witty responses and glaring at our laptop screens in the dark. It is OK to leave some things unsaid. It’s alright to allow things to just blow over. Better yet, you are allowed to bow out gracefully. Not everything needs a response.

You’ve just gotta let some stuff slide.

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