It is every unscholarly man’s dream to be the guy constantly winning arguments at the dinner table in an eloquent and intelligent manner. Most of us sit back and listen to smart asses yapping away about politics, physics, history and religion, and many times we’re praying for them to talk about sports so we can at least prove we know something about something. But that never happens because those geniuses are purposefully talking about things nobody understands so they can’t be argued with. The following is a brief introduction on how to sound like a Jewish lawyer so that you can dominate arguments you once lacked the confidence to become a part of.
The “Art of Not Knowing Anything About a Subject But Sounding Like a Jewish Lawyer” is not much of an art at all. Believe it or not, it can be boiled down to a view broad principles and, ironically, that is step one.
I know the title mentions “not knowing anything”, but it certainly helps to have a few key buzz-words or at least some rudimentary understanding of an issue. An important corollary to this rule is to use cliches, which we will discuss soon. Not only is relating a subject to your listener an effective tactic – whether or not you know what you’re saying – it is even more helpful when you don’t understand their lingo. Simply put, make the conversation more about the listener than about the topic in anecdotal form. For example, when your opponent gives a thorough explanation of the Theory of Relativity, you can avoid further complex conversation and sound smart by responding, “Well, yea. In laymen’s terms, that’s what Isaac Newton meant.”
Use the simple phrases “The New York Times had a piece on this a few years back…” or “I read somewhere…”
The former statement employs the word “years” as in “I’ve been studying this for years.” And your opponent would be foolish to ask what year and edition of The New York Times the reference came from, but if he does ask for that specific magazine, just say, “HA! I can’t possibly remember, I’ve gone through thousands.”
And just to clarify, the second phrase of “I read somewhere” really means “I read nowhere.”
For this to work you need to know something quasi relevant about the opponent’s specific argument. For instance, if your opponent were to say, “Bill Clinton’s economic strategy was the reason this country was able to afford George W. Bush’s two wars.”
Such a confident statement is difficult to retort, and if you don’t actually know the details about the Clinton or Bush administrations, then I would go with, “Yea, but everyone knows Hilary Clinton was the backbone. Bill was just the puppet.”
Whether or not it’s true, it’s something your opponent hasn’t mentioned yet. In sum, if anyone brings up a supposed-genius male or significant political leader from the past, always downplay their achievements by suggesting it was the spouse who truly sparked their ingenuity.
This statement makes the opponent think his statement was false, and that it’s not even worth acknowledging. If your opponent follows up with, “What do you mean, don’t be ridiculous?,” then you simply reply to him, “Don’t play smart with me.”
If your opponent still pushes on, “No, tell me what you mean.” Then I want you stand up angrily, walk away and shout, “That’s it, I’m out of here!”
This little act will have your opponent in fear of arguing with you for at least three months.
That’s a risk Ron Burgundy took with Veronica Corningstone at his side. “When in Rome” and “A Whale’s Vagina.” It didn’t make sense, but you know what? It got the job done and it got him laid.
A few examples of cliches that will completely destroy your opponent’s mojo:
“You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
“That’s fool’s gold.”
“What goes around comes around.”
“Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
“Teach a man to fish.”
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
and of course, “Whoever smelt it, dealt it.”
My fiancee wrote this section because I was raised in a foreign household and I don’t know any American sayings other than “If you don’t burn the chicken to a crisp, how is it going to taste like a toasted bagel?”
That’s Jewish cooking for you.
Don’t be afraid to not know the answer to a question. Embrace it and spin it into another question directed at the opponent. That will teach others to NOT ask questions. Learn to love the so-called ‘Socratic method.’ Tell them that “answers are for math tests” but in the real world any truly interesting topic has more gray areas than extreme black and white. Two sides to a story? No no, say something like 27 sides. All or nothing? HA, nothing is all or nothing.
“I’m but a mere amateur/hobbyist in the teachings of _____.” Fill in the blank with those boring philosophers you had to read in college. Better yet, go to Urban Outfitters and take notes as to which peace-preaching, freedom-fighting icon or hypocrite is on their t-shirts, and try to ignore the fact that the movement is entirely fraudulent and the media has completely misinterpreted the facts.
They say that if you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything. I say that’s true about any demographic. When an audience likes you, you could feed them turd sandwiches out of a suitcase (excuse the cliche, I’m just trying to sound able-minded). If someone wants to believe you, they will.
Confidence doesn’t mean jackass. But stuttering and stumbling says “I don’t know shit.” The most notable instance of this in recent events was Governor Rick Perry’s disaster at a Republican primary debate where he said “As president, I would cut 3 departments… education, that other one and, and… and…. uh….” That’s where the train went off the tracks.
I suppose this is the mark of a professional bullshitter – someone who isn’t looking to deflect but who relishes the spotlight. Stick to these concepts and you’ll at least come off sounding like a Ph.D candidate, rather than a full fledged nobel laureate.