“Whataboutism is the last refuge of the ignorant,” said everyone arguing with anyone that hopes to stupefy others into silence with illogical diversion.
Trump gives aid and comfort to a murderous Russian tyrant despot bent on global dominance and an enemy of the United States that attacked our electoral system and undermined our democracy, digitally Pearl Harboring our country.
Treason? What about U.S. President Barack Obama smiling with Russian President Vladimir Putin?
And what about Hillary Clinton selling uranium to the Russians and coldly murdering brave Americans at Benghazi — not to mention Vince Foster and so many others — to further her unquenchable bloodthirsty quest for dictatorship of the world if not the known solar system?
And what about American espionage against Russia and countless other countries including but not limited to quite possibly the African nation of Chad?
And what about the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA, NASA, IRS, National Weather Service, DMV, the corrupt divorce court system that takes kids away from awful parents, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, the police with their speeding cameras, Facebook, and all the other government agencies spying on innocent and decent common Americans to take away our liberties?
What about all the people who are much worse than Trump? Huh? What about them?
The French call whataboutism tu quoque, meaning, “you also”. It’s an “informal fallacy that intends to discredit the opponent’s argument by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with its conclusion(s),” as Wikipedia describes.
I’m not mocking whataboutism. I’m celebrating. It’s brilliant. It’s a slam dunk in any important situation:
Her: We had great conversation and major eye contact, ate oysters, went to your place because (I forgot to tell you) mine has 23 cats, and we had the sex conversation which led to “intimacy” somewhat.
You slept with me almost one time, and in the morning we had delicious and culturally respectful locavore Keurig coffee and the stale single servings of Keebler oyster crackers in little cellophane bags you had from other seafood dinner dates and nothing else. We laughed about it and almost slept together for a second time.
Then you never called me again, or answered my exactly 137 calls, emails and texts, but I definitely saw you that morning squeezing through your bathroom window and trying to use the fire escape ladder except it got stuck on the third floor, which you probably realized was too far to jump into the alley and run away but jumped anyway, which put you in traction for six months. I offered to take care of you like Cathy Bates took care of James Caan but sadly I never heard back.
You: Um, yeah, I rock oyster crackers, and I’m sorry about ghosting, but what about when you called, texted and emailed me 137 times? Too cray! You around later?
Her: Honey, you promised to do the dishes and also not to sleep repeatedly with my sister, burn down my parents’ home for the insurance money, and connive with lawyers billed against my parents’ prodigious estate to steal their lifelong, hard-earned wealth to cover your drinking, gambling and prostitution debts and send the child you made with my aunt to Smith College full ride.
You: Yeah, well, what about when you promised to pick up my dry cleaning but supposedly couldn’t make it before they closed at 6:30 pm because you were “working”? What about that? My favorite shirts were not ready when I needed them! I had to fall back to wearing a blue oxford with rep tie that everyone else wears. You ruined my day. Mantra that with your yoga sensei or whatever he is, “honey”.
Boss: Jeff, thank you for taking the time to meet. I want to be completely supportive of your life and work experience, your talents, your needs, and your special situation, but I need to express that the records in our system show you haven’t done any work at all here since you were on-boarded five years ago. I spoke with HR — they’re on the phone here — and we need to share our assessment and guidance that we might not be the best, most productive fit for you, and we need to let you explore other opportunities. What do you think?
You: I get it. Thank you for being honest and helpfully constructive in your feedback. But I need to ask, what about that one time when I came in 20 minutes early? What about when I stayed until 6 pm, which was after dark in the winter when all my friends were already into third drinks at happy hour? What about when I saw you in the break room nudging the intern against the fridge, #MeToo style? I would be happy to talk about that.
End of life
God: Ok … let’s see … Jeffrey Denny … age 107. Born in Toledo, Ohio. Sorry about that. Lived in Washington, D.C. The swamp, right? Hmmm.
[Award Silence as God Waits for Heavenly Google Search to Respond.]
Ok. Got it. It seems from your anonymous 360 evaluation that when anyone questioned your beliefs or behavior, whether you or they might be right or wrong, you answered with a “whataboutism”. If you did something that hurt someone, instead of accepting and respecting how you made that person feel, you pointed the finger back at them.
That response is not helpful. With all due respect, it seems a little defensive and unwilling to accept that I, God, made humans like you flawed in My image.
Me: Good feedback, God. But what about all the stuff in the Bible that says you’re wrong, starting with how you supposedly created the universe, earth, the sun, the moon and the starts, the plants and animals, and the first two sexy people in just six days? What about that? Huh?
Score: Jeff 1, God 0.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer