Arguing Through the Years



In America we are bored. The long isles of the supermarket, the stuffed shelves of libraries, the multitude of mall stores, and the absolutely endless feed of social medias are just simply not enough. We have too much time to twiddle our thumbs. We sew and play video games and sports and exercise and paint and scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll on Instagram and Twitter and TikTok. But we are so bored.  

When I was a child and I complained to my mom that I was bored, she would always hit me with the “I have something you can do.” Chores. Always chores. That simple word would inspire me to run immediately outside and create fantastical worlds. And for my brothers it would force them to play another round of COD or Madden. (Kids nowadays, am I right?) It is torturous, truly; being bored is probably the worst thing that could happen to someone. Because even the things we turn to when we are bored become boring eventually.  

So, what do we do then? We bother one another. You are bored at home, so you push your brother’s buttons. Literally and figuratively. We all know the classic go up and turn the XBOX off while they’re playing. You’re bored in class so you’ll start an argument with that one person you know will give you a reaction. We argue to entertain ourselves. And now with technology the way it is, we can argue with everyone!  

One simple comment, tweet, or 30-second video can cause a nationwide argument that nobody will be able to escape. Today, I’d like to break down a few of the biggest.  

Pointless argument number one: The Dress 

You can simply Google “The Dress” and exactly what I am about to describe to you will come up. That’s how impactful it was. The argument originated when a picture of a dress was posted to Facebook in 2015. One week was all it took for over ten million people to get involved. Viewers disagreed on whether the dress coloring was black and blue or white and gold. The phenomenon was beneficial to some degree, considering it introduced to the plebeians an ongoing scientific investigation regarding human color perception. The dress was actually black and blue, so all you white and gold supporters keep on being quirky, I guess. But the reason you saw it the way you did was because your brain registered the photo in natural light, meaning it automatically eliminated blueish short-wavelength light. If you saw it as it is, black and blue, it is because you saw the photo as over-exposed, meaning it has too much light.  

Overall, this argument is not one of the worst, because at least it revealed some interesting scientific studies. We learned more about ourselves as humans and the complex developments and processing systems of our brains. So maybe this one wasn’t so pointless. 

The even more pointless argument number two: Is water wet? 

This argument was popularized around 2017. We got off the dress train and were bored, again, so, we made up another pointless question to spur on even more pointless conversations. The longer version of this question is: Is water wet, or does it just make other things wet? If you’re in favor of the former and you take time to do a little research, you’d likely argue that the definition of “wet” as a noun is that it is something is made of liquid or moisture. If this is true, then water is definitely wet because water is a liquid. But if you did the same research, you would read that the definition of “wet” as an adjective is “covered or saturated with another liquid.” Now I’m really conflicted. Not really, but if I cared to argue I would be.  

The truth is, who cares? Well, I just backed myself into a corner because the answer is obvious. We care. We are bored human beings with nothing better to do. At least the dress led to some interesting scientific conversation, but this? This is annoying. Because you cannot help the way your brain processes a photo, but you can help the way you choose to argue and the facts you choose to validate.

A little less pointless argument number three: Laurel or Yanny? 

Now this one is a little more my speed. It follows a similar pattern as our first argument, except this one deals with sound not sight. This conundrum started in 2018 when a short audio recording was being heard two different ways. On Twitter it was put to a vote and over 500,000 responded. But the argument wasn’t limited to one platform. The short audio was being passed around on all social media. This situation is a little different than the dress. The dress was black and blue no matter how your brain perceived it. Here it was reported through analysis of the frequency sounds that both words were present in the mixed recording. In fact, some listeners say they can hear both and switch between each word. If you heard Laurel, it’s because your brain was focusing on the lower pitched sounds, and vice versa, with Yanny you were hearing the higher pitched sounds.  

Again, this argument is interesting because, while it caused some disagreement, it was all in good fun and led to interesting scientific conversation. This phenomenon sprouted, leading to more spliced audios that kept us entertained and satisfied a little longer than the two previous feuds.  

The most pointless argument of all: Wheels or Doors? 

This debate has recently consumed the social media platform TikTok, but it started like all good things do, on Twitter. Ryan Nixon, a New Zealander (already a red flag) tweeted stating that he and his friends were debating whether there were more wheels or doors in the world. It exploded. You see, there are more wheels in the world because of rolling chairs, conveyor belts, tires, and most importantly Hot Wheels. No, actually, there’s more doors in the world because of cabinets, offices, hotels, bedrooms, and closets, AKA anything that acts as an entrance to something else. But wheels fans clap back claiming one office chair will outweigh one office door. But then came the predicament of what is a wheel and a door. What makes a wheel a wheel? Is it anything that rolls? Anything that causes movement? If so, are doorknobs wheels? Similarly, what makes a door a door? Is it anything that lets out into a space? Anything that moves on a hinge? The debate is still growing. And the only way to escape it would be to throw out your phone and build a cabin on Mars. But by building this cabin, how would you affect our neighbor planet’s door-to-wheel ratio?  

 There seems to be a pattern: interesting arguments come after stupid ones. Hopefully we are due for something more profound next. Ultimately, we love to create drama, so I am sure we will find something to entertain us. We do not even need to be bored anymore to create arguments. We make time for them. We plan what we will say and the points we will make. We conduct research and dedicate our time to our team. Perhaps these arguments have a twisted way of creating unity through the chaos. There, that can be our next topic: What’s the value in arguing? Have fun.