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The American Caliban

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I have this thing where I need to whang on you with a tire iron. [Mar. 15th, 2008|09:14 pm]
The American Caliban
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There should be a word for this phenomenon, and perhaps there is.

I am making a complicated point, telling a joke, or relating a story that illustrates some new idea. It's hard to get across, and after I make my point or tell my story, the other person doesn't seem to get it. Finally, my conversational partner brightens up and fully comprehends the big idea. Then, he or she informs me happily of the complicated point or the reason for hilarity or the moral of the story, in a thoughtful but triumphant way. Clearly I hadn't thought this quite through, but my story does lead to an interesting spot, had I only seen it!

It makes me want to kill people, with a shovel.
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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2008-03-16 04:44 am (UTC)

Don't have a witty picture. Not feelin the subject line either


Men want to do the tire-iron thing. A woman would just think, "My brother's girlfriends are being cloned".
The corollary and analogue to this is the Blank-Eyed Colleague or Dinner Partner who assumes the look of a starlet delivering a witty payoff line when they repeat the same DAMNthang you just said.


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[User Picture]From: eyeteeth
2008-03-16 05:36 am (UTC)
I used to have this problem with my ex-boyfriend, whose sense of humor was not compatible with mine. It is tremendously frustrating. Because you are being assailed with your own idea by a person who doesn't get it, I propose that this phenomenon be called "hoist with your own retard."
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From: jpeace
2008-03-17 07:23 am (UTC)
Delicious. I'm using that, fanks.
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From: catamorphism
2008-03-16 05:41 am (UTC)
Can you give a concrete example?
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2008-03-16 06:14 am (UTC)
ME: Everyone under a certain age has a Myspace or equivalent now, and it makes it easy to find out about people in the news. It's a real privacy buster.

OTHER: Huh?

ME: Well, if you see someone's name in the news, you can search for it on a service like Myspace, and almost always they've put in a real name and you can find them quickly. I do this all the time.

OTHER: Oh. So you find out stuff about them?

ME: Yeah, pretty easily.

[pause of about 3 minutes.]

OTHER: You know, I was just thinking... for someone whose name was known publically that would really make it hard to be private!
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From: catamorphism
2008-03-16 06:16 am (UTC)
Haha, okay. I would call this the "so when is this free weekend" phenomenon:

"Jane: We're having a free get acquainted session at our resort this weekend.
Homer: How much is this free resort weekend?
Glen: It's free!
Homer: And when *is* this weekend?
Glen: It's this weekend.
Homer: Uh-huh, and how much does it cost?
Glen: Um, it's free.
Homer: I see, and when is it?
Glen: It's this weekend.
Homer: And what are you *charging* for this free weekend?
Bart: C'mon, dad, the team's arriving!
[They start running]
Homer: It's free, right!"
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[User Picture]From: hotelsamurai
2008-03-16 09:00 am (UTC)
My brother and I used to have a term for it, I think, but I forget what it was. "Claiming the point" about sums it up - as in, "that bastard is claiming cleverness points to which he is not entitled" - but there must be a more elegant expression of the concept. I'll bet you the French already have a word for it.

The only satisfaction I get in that situation is to act astoundingly obtuse in return, feigning incomprehension of simple concepts. The type of people who think they came up with "your" idea or punchline on their own are the very same type who won't catch on that you're pulling their leg. The reward is a smug, private sense of superiority.
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: hotelsamurai
2008-03-17 06:29 am (UTC)
Claim jumping?
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[User Picture]From: handstil
2008-03-16 03:41 pm (UTC)
hahahahaha!
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[User Picture]From: mcpino
2008-03-16 11:09 am (UTC)
bitch-slap-worthy.
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[User Picture]From: fattmike
2008-03-16 12:17 pm (UTC)
I called it "Working with Stephen", but since we last worked together over 15 years ago, it's not like I keep grudges or anything.

Me at 9AM == I think we should do this, this way.
Him at 9AM == Nope, can't work that way. We have to do it this way.
Me at 9:05AM == Fine, Stephen. (mutters to self that for once I'm not going to argue, let it be a waste of a day, after all, he IS The Boss)
Me == wastes a few hours, goes to lunch, returns from lunch, continues performing ridiculous task.
Him at 2PM == I was thinking, maybe the best way to do it is THIS way.
Me at 2PM == Stephen, good idea. I agree that would be best.
Me to self == Stephen, don't you recall that this was the way that wouldn't work because *I* suggested it at 9AM?????

Rinse and repeat.
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[User Picture]From: gths
2008-03-16 12:20 pm (UTC)
It's really odd in a work situation, when you mention an idea to a cow orker, they don't get it at first, so you explain it to them a little more slowly, they still don't get it.

Then a little while later the penny will drop and they'll suddenly figure it out and think they came up with the idea all by themselves, usually coming back to you and going "hey I've got this great idea! Wanna hear it?".

I guess it happens to most people, in both roles, at various times, though.
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[User Picture]From: jakeinhartsel
2008-03-16 07:58 pm (UTC)
I simply refer to it as, "Ignorance is its own reward."
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From: yoscott
2008-03-17 12:55 am (UTC)
What's even worse is when you're trying to tell someone something and they don't quite get what you're saying, but basically repeat what you said stressing another part of the story, and thinking they're clever for doing so.

It makes me angry when this happens, sometimes I think I might like to take a shovel and smack them upside the head with it.


;)
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