We were discussing politics and science. My granddaughter and I can do that and still love each other dearly when we’re done. Now, just to prove to her that I do listen, I’m going to elaborate, examine, and dissect an idiom which she used to accent her argument. It’s very common today on the news shows and internet. It’s the old “slippery slope” or, be careful what you wish for — if you do “A”, dire consequences, B, C, and D will follow. If you “wish” for a rotating earth, we’re all doomed to flying into outer space. Which side were you on? Flat or round earth? As a culture, we still haven’t completely given up on the flat version —– the evidence being our descriptions of the sun “rising”and “setting” implying that Earth is stationary with only the Sun in motion. But I digress.
My mind works in a very literal way. If I hear “slippery slope”, I want to know exactly which slope you’re referring to. And what yukky substance is making it slippery? After I cognitively absorb its usage, I find that it’s nothing but a meaningless catch-all phrase currently being parroted by millions of people.
Just went to Wikipedia for more background on this and they have codified this term with the acronym SSA. Now we’re getting somewhere. Once you get your own acronym, people start paying attention. And, I just noticed SSA spelled backwards, appropriately, is ASS.
It serves, for the speaker, as a fact with no evidence. Somehow the speaker is able to foretell the future. In the moment that they are saying it, they feel really smart.
Here’s a solution. I’m going to call Zuckerburg and have him set up an internet program which grabs every usage of SSA and moves it to a log, the internet “slippery slope” log. This serves 2 purposes. First, we’ll be able to see just how ludicrous some examples are. Secondly, we’ll be able to follow-up on all “slippery slopes” and determine just what impact the baseless procrastination actually had.
As for how well my granddaughter is going to take this criticism, as I said at the beginning, no one conversation between us is ever going to diminish the love my wife and I have for her. But, just in case, the next time we get together, we’ll give the politics a rest.
Leave a Reply