It all depends on your definition of …

Jeremy (in Zits-world) disputes with his mother over what it means to argue:

An echo of the “argument clinic” sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus (show #29):

… Man [a client of the clinic]  Well, an argument’s not the same as contradiction.

Mr Vibrating [apparently in charge of the clinic]  It can be.

Man No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition.

Mr Vibrating No it isn’t.

Man Yes it is. It isn’t just contradiction.

Mr Vibrating Look, if I argue with you I must take up a contrary position.

Man But it isn’t just saying ‘No it isn’t’.

Mr Vibrating Yes it is.

Man No it isn’t, argument is an intellectual process … contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

Mr Vibrating No it isn’t.

[and so on, maddeningly]

3 Responses to “It all depends on your definition of …”

  1. More negotiating on meaning in context « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] Arnold Zwicky's Blog A blog mostly about language « It all depends on your definition of … [...]

  2. Laura Payne Says:

    I was just with a new acquaintance this past weekend who told me that she and her husband frequently “aggressively agree”.

  3. The Saturday cartoon crop « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    [...] with Jeremy negotiating with his parents on meaning in context. In earlier cartoons, it was argue (here) and late (here) that were at issue; now it’s [...]

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