Summary of Deborah Tannen's the Argument Culture Essay
898 WordsJul 1, 20134 Pages
Have we become a world that has forgotten how to listen and debate? Why are people so quick to argue? Everyone wants to prove their point these days. In “The Argument Culture,” Deborah Tannen discusses how today’s society no longer honors the noble American tradition of debate. She explains how we no longer want to take the time to listen to both sides and definitely not all sides of an issue. We have become a society that would rather fight and argue, often to the point of violence. “The war on drugs, the war on cancer, the battle of the sexes, politicians’ turf battles- in the argument culture war metaphors pervade our talk and shape our thinking,” affirms Tannen. We approach the world in an argumentative frame of mind.”…show more content…
Sadly, the more violent the argument is the more people want to watch it. Tannen believes that much of this breakdown is caused by the lack of people interacting face to face. She feels that our high tech world infused with social networking, email, cell phones, texting and more has given people a way to communicate without actually connecting with each other. “The proliferation and increasing portability of technology isolates people in a bubble-” warns Tannen. “The Argument Culture shapes who we are and has a defining impact on our lives and on our culture.” She believes it causes us to distort facts.
As an example she cites the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding story. “After the original attack on Kerrigan’s knee, news stories focused on the rivalry between the two skaters instead of portraying Kerrigan as the victim of the attack.” Tannen also says it causes us to waste valuable time, as she cites the case of scientist Robert Gallo, who co-discovered the Aids virus. He was the object of a groundless four year investigation into allegations he had stolen the virus from another scientist. He was exonerated, but the toll was enormous. In his words, “These were the most painful and horrible years of my life.” So, ultimately Gallo spent four years fighting accusations when he could have been fighting AIDS. Tannen also states that it limits our thinking and encourages us to lie. “Military metaphors train us to think about and see everything in terms