I’ve recently heard a lot of people spouting, “How dare you?”
Trump (and others) said it regarding the FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh.
Many used this phrase to express outrage at Nike’s hugely successful and highly popular use of Colin Kaepernick in their recently ad campaign.
A CNN anchor said it to a Republican operative who called Democratic protesters “a mob.”
It’s so annoying. So condescending and stupid. Such a ridiculous combination of three words.
Just for the record, there is a correct response to the stupidity of “How dare you?”
“How dare you?” is a rhetorical question. Whenever someone uses a rhetorical question during verbal combat, the correct response is almost always to answer that question with as much specificity and as many syllables as possible.
For example, when someone says, “Guess what?” (a bit of verbal detritus that I despise above all others), just start guessing. The more ridiculous the better. Fire off humor and nonsense at their indignation and outrage. Break up their momentum and rhythm by offering answers to the stupidity of their rhetorical question with your own random, amusing stupidity.
“Guess what? I don’t know. You’re not wearing underwear? You’re constipated? You having sex with dead people on the weekend? You secretly enjoy the Twilight series?”
Similarly, when someone says, “You know what your problem is?” just start listing your problems.
“I can’t cook!”
”I have an unreasonable fear of needles!”
”I become angry and petulant when told what to wear!”
”Bees kill me dead!”
”I eat ice cream too quickly!”
Again, the more words and the more ridiculous, the better. Make them suffer for being stupid enough to use a rhetorical question during an argument by being just as stupid.
And when someone like Orin Hatch, who described Dr. Ford as an “attractive, good witness” and “pleasing,” shouts “How dare you?” in your general direction, the correct response is to illustrate that your words required no daring at all.
“How dare I? Actually, Senator, the truth requires no daring at all. How dare I? Sir, if you think it’s daring to stand up for what you believe in, you don’t have a daring bone in your body. How dare I? I’m not daring. I’m morally outraged. I’m astounded by your stupidity. I’m appalled by your hypocrisy. I’m disgusted by your misogyny. But daring? No, sir. My words required no daring at all, because you are little more than the mealy-mouthed puppet an amoral administration.”
That’s how you answer the likes of Orin Hatch when he shouts, “How dare you!” in your direction.
I’ve only been able to respond to “How dare you?” three times in my life that I can remember.
Once to an angry, possibly racist restaurant customer.
Once to an enraged colleague.
Once in a statewide debate championship that I would ultimately win.
All three times were so damn fun (the debate was the most fun).
But when I’m arguing and someone is foolish enough to ask any rhetorical question, I answer their question every time. I fill the space after their stupid question with words and silliness and humor.
It makes people crazy. They become infuriated. Crazy, infuriated people are easily defeated in verbal combat.