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Wednesday 22 June 2022

Nuts and Bolts: whataboutery.

 Whataboutery is a newish term, and exactly what it means is still in the process of being agreed.

The consensus at the moment seems to be that whataboutery is when, faced with an accusation, blame is deflected by bringing up some other grievance.

It's a technique as old as speech. Possibly older.

It's not something like:

You've eaten all the cake, haven't you?

Well, you keep insisting I have salad for dinner, and no one can survive on that.

because that's a valid(ish) argument based on the original question.

An example of whataboutery might go:

You've eaten all the cake, haven't you?

Do you know that I had to run out in my pyjamas this morning because you forgot to put the bins out again?

Whataboutery is not clever, but it does sometimes work, especially if the new point of issue is so sensitive that it can't be addressed without causing utter mayhem, such as racial history or transgender rights.

The thing to remember, though, is that it's only people who are afraid of the truth who are afraid of logic.

Word To Use Today: whataboutery. This term seems to have originated in Northern Ireland during The Troubles of the 1970s. It's a portmanteau of the words what and about (obviously).

In previous times whataboutery was called tu-quoque, which is Latin for you too.

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