Fightin’ Words

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Want to distract someone from the topic? Call the other side names.

One way politicians and pundits try to avoid tricky subjects is to call the other guy or, their family names, or accuse them of doing something worse.

It’s a #DirtyDisinfoTrick – an attempt to get us say, “yeah!” and forget about the real issue.

What it looks like

  • “He’s a socialist” – “She’s a racist” – “Nasty woman” – “Superpredator.” As though calling someone a name qualifies as an argument.
  • “My ethics scandal – what about HIS ethics scandal! What he did is way worse and we should be talking about THAT!”
  • “What about that thing your son / wife / uncle did? Hmmmm?” Remember Bill Clinton’s troublesome brother?

Why are Fightin’ Words so effective?

Lou, our Lizard Brain, is going to get riled up by the insults and forget the key point. Lou is easily distracted – that’s why this trick works.

What to look for/how to spot it:

  • Notice when ‘Lou’ gets upset. Are your shoulders tightening? Are you scowling?
  • Name the trick. “That’s Fightin’ Words”
  • Ask whyIs the person throwing insults trying to avoid something? What is it?

Want to learn more?

We like nerds. Click the Nerdout Breakout on this topic, and sharpen your skills (dare we say… disin-fu?) even further.


See an error in our work? Please let us know and include the source of your info. We’ll update or correct as appropriate.


Get Reality in Your Inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.