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July 16, 2010 - 2:42 am

I always try to work on a few personal goals during the summer months when I have a bit more time. This month, I took a driving lesson to improve my already superb skills and ordered the book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471157058?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0471157058″How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Getting Your Point Across with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0471157058″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / to help me with my conversational skills. br /br /I tend to get pretty angry and heated during political discussions and thought this book might help to channel that anger into something more constructive. I realize I am not going to change people’s minds in a one-on-one discussion, but thought I would look into what else I could do besides just get mad, like become a better debater. The book I mentioned is written by Suzette Haden Elgin, PhD who is a linguist and the author of a series of books a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%3Furl%3Dsearch-alias%253Dus-stripbooks-tree%26field-keywords%3Dthe%2Bgentle%2Bart%2Bof%2Bself%2Bdefense%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26ih%3D7_13%5F6%5F2%5F1%5F1%5F0%5F0%5F0%5F1.42%5F71%26fsc%3D-1tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=ur2camp=1789creative=9325″ on the gentle art of self defense./aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=ur2o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;”/br /br /Instead of straight talk about how to make my points more accurately in speaking, I found the book confusing. Elgin initially speaks in the book about hostile language and if and how it can lead to violence. She seems to think that it does and should be abolished. Later in the book, she seems to say that verbal violence should be a last resort, not a first one. I found the book confusing. br /br /As an aside, I must add that I disagree that hostile language should be abolished. Once you start putting limits on what people can say, you limit their freedom in ways that can actually lead to more violence, it just dwells underground–or like in Communist countries, leads to restrictions on citizens. And it leads to a society where span style=”font-style:italic;”everyone/span is scared to speak, which to me, is worse than random violence once in a while. br /br /She gives tips and examples of how to look at different verbal disagreements and to use techniques, which again seem confusing to diffuse various situations. Initially, she says that men and women span style=”font-style:italic;”are not/span different when it comes to language, but later says that the majority of American males operate on the metaphor “LIFE IS A FOOTBALL” while the majority of American women use the metaphor “LIFE IS A TRADITIONAL SCHOOLROOM.” Apparently, men say stuff that might seem like a lie but is fine if used on the football field, like pretending you have the ball when you don’t etc. And women see telling lies or other exaggerations as a lie that warrants punishment.br /br /I’m now more confused than ever about how to handle hostile verbal interactions after reading this book. br /br /Any suggestions for a good book on how to handle political or hot topic arguments?

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