You are not the Devil’s Advocate

by @edent | # # | Read ~390 times.

I’d recently given a talk at a conference and was gently basking in the glow of people telling me how fabulous I was, when some entitled prick came up to me and said…

Great talk, mate! Really interesting stuff. But…

“Oh great!” I thought. “Here it comes…”

To play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, have you…

“No. Stop.” I said. And, to my surprise, he did. “The Devil doesn’t need any more advocates. Rephrase your question to be more positive.”

That stopped him in his tracks. Like most blokes, he wasn’t accustomed to anyone questioning his question. He paused. Spluttered. Then asked me a fairly sensible question. Which I answered.

I’m not religious. I don’t literally believe in Satan, Old Nick, Lucifer, or any of the other physical incarnations of evil. But I do believe that asking questions in bad-faith is a nasty thing to do.

You’re saying “I think you’re an idiot – but I’m going to pretend that some imaginary interlocutor is criticising you instead.”

If you think I’m wrong, say so yourself. Don’t hide behind the Prince of Darkness.

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