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Verbal Defense

Comebacks when you need them
 
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Some sort of biological device that stores all the insults ever used and their own crushing comebacks. So when someone insults you, this little guy tells you exactly what to say to make your enemies feel like complete morons.
salmon, Jan 18 2001

Comeback Generator http://www.halfbake...omeback_20Generator
[Insert snappy tagline here] [centauri, Jan 18 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       Ever play "Secret of Monkey Island"?   

       It has this whole combat system based on insults and comebacks. It seems they're the key to effective swordplay. If you insult someone and they can't think of a snappy reply, it distracts them and their swordsmanship suffers.
baf, Jan 19 2001
  

       This skill falls under the heading of "sophistry", and was frequently seen in action back in the day when the command of one's language was expected and the use of the most available means of persuasion were readily practiced. Some are naturals, others need practice. I fall into the latter lot and find often myself in need of something like this, but usually resort the tried and true comeback: "F*ck you."
iuvare, Jan 23 2001
  

       You may mean "rhetoric", but that's not really all that true either. A "biological device" which does this could be a Cyrano de Bergerac-type friend. Or just his brain, mouth and ears in a carrying case.   

       It would be interesting to witness an argument between two users of these things. Would one or both explode?
Monkfish, Jan 23 2001
  

       We probably have different definitions of "sophistry" and "rhetoric" but I deliberately meant the former and not the latter.   

       I understand sophistry to mean a concern with comebacks, "winning" arguments and the semblance of truth rather than a concern for what is so. Rhetoric, however, as classically defined ("the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion") is primarily concerned with convincing one of the truth, not simply appearances and comebacks. Now comebacks may entail the use of persuasion, but this is accidental, not essential. Consequently, I don't see Verbal Defense as falling under the heading of rhetoric. Rather I see Verbal Defense as being concerned with being witty, sarcastic and performing a verbal "finishing hold"...all the characteristics of the "sophistry" Plato opposed.
iuvare, Jan 23 2001
  

       I don't really see it falling under either heading; but your description was of "rhetoric", and of the two this is the (marginally) better choice. This is why I met pedantry with pedantry and suggested that it was the word you intended to use.   

       (Rhetoric -- in the classical sense -- is, as you suggest, essentially the art of persuasive oratory. As surviving specimens attest, it encompassed invective of all kinds and came into contact with the truth only accidentally. "Sophistry" is a (modern) pejorative term for specious, tricksy arguing; it has developed, as you point out, out of the fun made of certain sophists of the first period by writers like Plato. It refers to the structure of an argument, and perhaps occasionally also to a needlessly high-falutin' style of exposition designed to impress the simple. Hence, "rhetoric" is a very bad fit, but a better one than "sophistry". The best choice is to use neither.)   

       Then again, there's a very strong possibility that none of this is very important for a discussion about automatic insult generators.
Monkfish, Jan 23 2001
  

       Actually, I wasn't trying to define "sophistry" so much as place my understanding of the term within a certain time period. And while I still disagree with your take on the issue, I do agree that "none of this is very important for a discussion about automatic insult generators."   

       So thanks for taking the time to comment.
iuvare, Jan 23 2001
  

       My enemies are already complete morons...
Alanubis, Aug 07 2003
  
      
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