Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Don't be so negative!

As a fellow skeptic, (are you?), have you ever been irritated by some supercilious twit telling you

Don't be so negative!

Usually in my experience they are saying this because
  • they have failed to understand the situation properly
  • they are trying to be motivational to other people (or sheeple) who are listening,
  • they think it makes them sound positive
  • and they think that is always a good thing.
In almost every case they do not have the wit to realise that there is a difference between skepticism and cynicism, and won't listen when you try to explain.  The negative/positive terminology fulfills the fallacy of the missing middle too.  That missing middle might include the word "realistic" in some cases.  (In a few other cases they might be right and I actually might be being negative!)

Each and every time I hear 'Don't be so negative' I wonder whether the speaker has realised the irony of their outburst.

After all - just tell me how can you tell someone not to be negative without being negative yourself?

Small note:  Speaking as a (sometimes negative) skeptical pedant (the last two of which I admit and celebrate) I feel uncomfortable with the lack of a question mark in that first paragraph.  Even so - I can't decide where to put it.  So here it is . . . ?  I feel a need for the Spanish technique of using an upside down question mark symbol to start a question, rather like quotation marks.

1 comment:


I tend to be sceptical about British English holding its own against the version across the Pond ;)

No, not negative: language evolves and that is a reality (!) and we crusty old wordsmiths need to live with it. We don't have to *like* it, however.

But for a country that prides itself on maintaining its own currency, independence, yadda yadda, every time I go there it seems (and sounds) LESS British.

Will not rant will not rant. Well, not much.