Duke Southard

Author, Educator, Lecturer

Yeah, but what about . . .?

I’ m wondering about this as it becomes more prevalent. I call it the “but what about?” syndrome.

The syndrome kicks in when someone is accused of anything, from a serious crime to hurling a simple verbal insult. No sooner is the perpetrator called for the infraction, whatever it is, that he or she responds with a “but what about” and names some other person who allegedly committed the same or similar infractions in the past to excuse their behavior.

This is not a political post, although politics contains much of the “but what about” syndrome. It is a simple statement that I’m hearing this more and more. Is anyone else noticing this phenomenon? It reminds me of my days in Catholic elementary school. When I was caught doing something wrong, something that I knew other kids had done and somehow escaped discovery and punishment, my reaction to the nun would be to revert to the “but what about” excuse. “But what about Johnny, Sister? He did the same thing last week.” It is not hard to guess what the answer was. “We’re talking about the here and now and you, Buster. Not Johnny.”

Think about it the next time you hear the phrase “but what about . . . ”

Have a good day!

Duke

2 Responses to Yeah, but what about . . .?

  • Ethel says:

    It is so high school and earlier. The response I heard whenever I pulled that one out of my bag of adolescent excuses was ” two wrongs don’t make a right.” My “yeah but what about” response got an immediate sense of justification, and let off a little or a lot of pent up emotion, rarely identified as guilt.
    However, it only deflects the issue if “But what about” stops the situation. There’s no behavior change or introspection and a brick in the wall of denial is set. I’m grateful today that I was called on my excuses. My “crimes”never graduated beyond verbal assassination as I’ve heard it termed. I am able to actually feel remorse AND accept I am not a bad person.
    I feel sorry for folks who have not been allowed to be wrong in their behavior, but ok in their humanness. They have to constantly be on guard and grow up having little belief in their ability to make decisions about controlling their impulses- verbal or physical

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I'm Duke Southard, author, educator, and lecturer.

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