How to Shut Down Tough Questions: Student Addition

It’s only a week into the semester and already the books you’re reading, the professors you’re engaging with, and your fellow students who use words like “moreover” in everyday speech are demanding rigorous thought. You just got off of break, you’re not in the mood, you can’t handle anything more complex than a tweet right now, you know? You literally can’t even with some of these folks.

In this post-truth era, why should you have to give a shit about nuance or thought or discourse or facts? There’s no reason why you need to think critically about the information you’re given, the people you interact with, or the views you were raised with. That’s what post-truth means, after all: that you don’t have to care about real answers to challenging problems.

You can just bask in your murky but comforting lies, a bath of mud and slow-acting poison, without feeling guilty about it in the slightest. If our president can say it, you can too, right? Wrong, but you don’t want to admit it, so you won’t, and post-truth says that’s A-Okay.

In summary, you are not a fan of tough questions. You would even go so far as to say that you run screaming from tough questions like a little baby. In the past, you may have babbled about something completely off topic and then turned the blame on the asker. Perhaps you invested in one of those day planners that says “I am very busy” on the cover to discourage everyone around you from initiating meaningful dialogue. You may have feigned an allergic reaction, pulled a nickel from behind anyone’s ear you could reach, or went completely silent. The horror! The shame! The impotency!

Sound like you? Trying to find a way to shut down tough questions as quickly and painlessly as possible? It’s easy. Instead of pretending to answer the question with something completely irrelevant or (God forbid!) attempting to come up with a thoughtful and genuine response, just flat out refuse to answer it. Don’t try. Don’t even fake it. Like so:

Person: What does the intersection of gender and power in Hamlet reveal about Shakespeare’s interrogation of the problem of modern consciousness?

You: Who cares?!

Person: What does the Women’s March mean for intersectionality, and how does one reconcile a call for unity with the diverse interests and priorities of the different people the movement strives to represent?

You: Not my problem.

Person: What will your administration—ahem—student group do to address concerns that arts funding is in grave danger?

You: Ha! Next question, please.

Person: Climate change?

You: Nuh-uh.

If all else fails, just start pointing at people and shouting, “Fake news! You are fake news!” Next time, you’ll remember to banish these people from your vicinity and hand pick a few of your cronies to feed you questions like they would feed a baby: with mush in a spoon.

By: Cary Chapman