Answering a question with a question is generally considered poor etiquette – I call it “rogue questioning.” If it’s not an admission of guilt or error, it’s an admission of stupidity. Sometimes though, if it is done with tact and arrogance, rogue questioning can be an effective recourse to dominating an argument.
A perfect example of a situation where rogue questioning can be an appropriate means to a desired end is the conversation with military recruiters on campus. The Academic Senate is trying to legislate them out of UCSB (once the Supreme Court settles the issue for them) but I think we can side step this and just annoy them out of here.
The following is a user’s guide to the military recruiting counter attack.
U.S. Army: Hi there, do you have a minute?
Army of One (Me): Can you really have a minute? I mean isn’t it impossible to possess something as intangible as time?
U.S. Army: I was wondering if I could talk to you about your future?
Army of One: Is that all you military recruiters do? Talk about time? What time is it right now?
U.S. Army: I’ve got 13 hundred hours.
Army of One: OK, then I have 10 hundredths of an hour before my next class. Do you even go to classes here?
U.S. Army: Some of us do. I enjoy the learning process.
Army of One: What do you like better, learning or shooting?
U.S. Army: You get sick of shooting after a while, especially when you’re shooting at inanimate objects. I’d say learning. But let’s get back to you.
Army of One: I like shooting better.
U.S. Army: Do you know what you want to do after college?
Army of One: Does living count as an answer? (He shakes his head laterally) Does panhandling count as an answer? (He shakes his head laterally) But what else could an English major possibly do with his life?
U.S. Army: Well that’s what we’re all about – helping people like you figure out what they want to do with their lives.
Army of One: But why is it that most of the people in this country who I hear about being dead or panhandling were former members of the U.S. Army?
U.S. Army: Well, clearly you’ve been paying attention to the wrong media outlets.
Army of One: What’s wrong with NBC?
US Army: Did you know that the military provides job training for careers after the army?
Army of One: Will they train me to bury the competition? Get it?
U.S. Army: Well, that depends on what you mean by train… I mean bury. You said you were an English major… did you know that the military has its own journalists and PR teams?
Army of One: That’s impressive. What are your feelings on all the bloggers writing of the gruesome details from Iraq? I think as far as substance goes, they produce some of the best stuff out there, but stylistically, they need some work.
U.S. Army: Did you know Hunter S. Thompson wrote for the U.S. military?
Army of One: I always wondered where he learned the term “swine.” What kind of drugs are they passing around in the military today? It has to be good stuff.
U.S. Army: We have a strict “no soldier left sober” policy once they’re dismembered, but until then, we forbid drug use.
Army of One: Speaking of policies, what’s your favorite gay sailor joke?
U.S. Army: We don’t find jokes about such sensitive subjects amusing.
Army of One: What is the Army the most sensitive about?
U.S. Army: Do you find my presence here amusing?
Army of One: Let me ask you this – would I be welcome at the Army training base if I were trying to recruit people to UC Santa Barbara?
U.S. Army: Well let me ask you this – if liberals can’t get the U.S. Military out of Iraq, do you really think they’ll be able to get the U.S. Military out of UCSB?
Daily Nexus Opinion Editor Chris Trenchard is still reeling from the movie “Jarhead.”