Complaining About Mansplaining

Is there anything worse than contrarians mansplaining conspiracy theories?[1]

What really gripes me is not so much the ridiculousness of their arguments but the smug all-knowing tone these crackpots employ as they confidently explain, for example, that the US government is injecting tracking devices into its citizens via the COVID vaccine or that Princess Di and JFK, Jr. are alive and well shacking up in Bolivia.

Whenever I fall victim to such an occasion, I immediately call bullshit, and if that doesn’t work – if my interlocutor insists on droning on – I end the conversation by stating that I’m seventy, the clock’s ticking, I’m incapable of being convinced, and I’d much rather spend this precious moment doom-scrolling or watching the shadows of the trees sway on the fence of this beer garden rather than learning about how Kennedy and Diana survived their crashes and ended up in La Paz.

I’ll admit this scenario rarely happens, maybe once a year[2]; more frequently, I fall victim to someone mansplaining something I’m all too familiar with, e.g., the plays of William Shakespeare or the principles of Mahayana Buddhism.

Once again, it’s the all-knowing tone I find more offputting than the presumption that I’m ignorant.

In this situation, I might interrupt and say something like, “Yeah, I dig. By the way, who’s your favorite minor comic character? Mine’s Thersites from Troilus and Cressida,” or “‘By the way, have you ever contemplated the affinities of quantum mechanics and Buddhism? You know, ‘form is emptiness, emptiness is form.'”

Sometimes these ploys don’t work because mansplainers are terrible listeners. It’s as if they’re reading internal teleprompters or something. They feel compelled to educate you, or perhaps to highlight their own learning.

Anyway, here’s a handy little chart courtesy of Kim Goodwin and the BBC.

[1] Okay, I mean besides pedophiles, serial killers, Amway representatives . . .

[2] A negative byproduct of hanging out in bars. I can’t recall ever being accosted by a conspiracy theorist at a dinner party.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s