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The Awkward Conversation Fallacy

I love the organization One Million Moms.  Not because I agree with their views; I don't.  These are people going ballistic that Kevin Keller (he's gay, if you're wondering) exists in the Archie comics, and that he gets into the military, and then he gets married later on in Archie continuity.  These are the people who went after Ellen so vociferously even Bill O'Reilly found them ridiculous.

 

No, I love them because whenever I have to explain to a parent how self-righteous they've being, all I have to do is bring up a member ranting on YouTube and say "You are acting exactly like this lady."  It's great.  They've got no response!

 

The basic problem with One Million Moms, beyond the whole "is so anti-gay the Southern Poverty Law Center classified them as a hate group" thing, is that we're supposed to listen to them because, uh, they're moms.  That's it.  That's the entire foundation of their moral crusade.  Which raises the question of why somebody having a big fat orgasm in your vagina and having a baby come out of it somehow gives you any moral authority, because the last time I checked, it doesn't.

 

I've talked about bad parental behavior in the past, but one idea that really sticks in my craw is what I call the "Awkward Conversation Fallacy": that the parent gets to decide what's acceptable for other people to do and talk about, no matter where they are.

 

This isn't entirely unreasonable, and 90% of parents honestly don't push it: as long as you're acting in a socially acceptable manner, everyone is generally OK.  The problem comes in two flavors:

 

1) You are in a public place, having a civil discussion about a controversial topic with a friend, and some troll with a stroller blows a fuse at you.

 

2) When parents insist on bringing their children to places kids really shouldn't be, and then get offended when it's not a kid friendly atmosphere.

 

The first thing has happened to me too often to count: I'll be talking with friends about gay marriage, abortion, or some other topic at a bus stop and somebody basically butts in to complain that their kid doesn't need to hear that because they don't want to explain it to them.  My stock response is "Well, teach them not to eavesdrop, then.  It's rude."

 

My personal favorite demonstration of the second was when I was at trivia night recently, in a bar, around 8pm.  Everybody in the bar was 21 or older, so our team name referred to an STD.  Apparently, a dad was in said bar with two eight year olds, and had the nerve to complain to the trivia guy about our team name.

 

Listen, I'm not going to go around deliberately putting parents in an awkward place, unless we're talking somebody who is just an enormous self-righteous butthead, in which case, you've got it coming.  Nor are the child-free immune from this: there are some people who think their delicate virgin ears should suffer no taint from normal people talking about adult topics.  It's just a lot rarer than some parent trying to lecture you about what's appropriate.

 

But there comes a point where you can't expect the world to revolve around you.  That point is usually when you demand people you don't know meet your personal approval in behavior and conversation topics.

 

Also, push me about it, and I will teach your kid every dirty word I know.  And I know a lot of dirty words.