Top 5 Comebacks to Nonsense Questions or Comments

As a married woman in her mid-thirties, I get a lot of questions and comments about when I plan on getting to the baby-makin’. 

Sometimes, I want to have this made into a shirt-

a photo of a coastline with the words "You know what's sweeter than the sound of a child's laughter? The sound of silence from not having any fucking kids."

Yes, it is incredibly rude, but honestly, so is inquiring about the timing and contents of my uterus. As many around here know, I freaking adore children: newborns, infants, toddlers, all the way on up to even, yes, teenagers. I will happily watch your kid so you can go to dinner. I will keep an unweaned baby overnight if you need a break because one night of lost sleep is not going to kill me. I was a live-in nanny forever, so I know lots of useful stuff about kids and my friends that are new parents often ask me for advice. However, I don’t want one of my own. If (big IF) we did decide to have one, we would adopt, because I have zero desire to be pregnant.

My go-to response when people ask me why I haven’t pushed a human out of my vagina yet is this: “I have had way too many friends and family members go up an entire shoe size after pregnancy, and if that happened to me, I would resent my child for its entire life. It has taken me years and a substantial amount money to build that shoe collection. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take.” If you are a fan of shoes and no babies, please feel free to steal it. It tends to shut the conversation down pretty quickly.

I think most of us have people in our lives with whom we don’t agree about major issues. Often times, those people are also woefully mis- or under-informed about the topic at hand. Since we tend to be a pretty progressive and liberal bunch around here, it’s probably safe to assume many of us aren’t frequenting Fox News unless we are trying to find people to add to our “Who I’d Like to Hate Fuck” list. Fox viewers usually have their memorized talking points to blurt out in a discussion because Fox News is masterful when it comes to talking points. Fortunately for those who disagree, they often don’t have far to go beyond those in a discussion. That’s where these comebacks come in handy. Let’s get started.

5. Gun Control

Drawing of a man sitting in a chair in a suit holding a glass. Purple Background. Black text reads "A car, a knife, & a hammer are as lethal as an AR-15? Then why do you need and AR-15 to "protect" yourself when you already have a car, a knife, & a hammer?" Someecards User Card

Gun control is a touchy subject. People get very ragey on both sides of the argument, usually very quickly. Personally, I don’t have a problem with guns for home protection or hunting. I choose not to hunt because I have no desire to kill things, but I am willing to acknowledge both the sport and occasional necessity of hunting for food. I have a shotgun and a crossbow. The shotgun was obtained when my sister and I were living alone in a bad neighborhood. I know how to load it, shoot it, clean it, and be a responsible gun owner. The crossbow is for the Zombie Apocalypse, duh. Awesome anniversary present from the husband. All that being said, I FULLY support drastic changes to our current gun culture and regulations. People should be required to register their guns. It should be much more difficult to obtain one. I have yet to hear a good argument about why someone would need a 30 round clip. I think the NRA should be banned from any association to politics because they are fucking assholes and idiots who have somehow managed to convince this country that guns are the only way to save ourselves from the evil socialist anti-christ, Barack Obama (I seriously, and very sadly, actually know people who truly belive this).

The above retort can be used in almost any discussion about gun control, because the comment almost always comes up that “such and such is just as dangerous” or “some doodad kills more people than guns.” Simply swap out their chosen item for the ones mentioned and watch them sputter.

4. Gun Control and Mental Health

A tweet from Andy Borowitz that says "Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I wish mental health care were as easy to get as say, a gun"

I got to use this one yesterday in a meeting. The oft-repeated “this isn’t a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue,” was spouted out by one of my bosses. I replied, “Which is why it would be nice if it were as easy to get mental health care as it is to get a gun in this country.” Whether the situation is a mental health issue or not is not the question. I don’t agree for a number of reasons, but mostly because it demonizes those with mental health issues and furthers the stigma surrounding mental health in general, which is bullshit. However, we are looking for one liners here, easy and to-the-point statements that can stop people in their tracks or hopefully make them think before they open their mouths again. The reason this one works so efficiently is because many of the people who are super-duper pro-gun are also vehemently opposed to Obamacare. This comeback forces them to look at their explanation– that this is a mental health issue– and then defend their supposed solution based on it. If it is a mental health issue, if that is the problem we are facing as a country, what are we going to do to fix it? If you’re against Obamacare, you don’t think the country should do a damn thing for people who can’t afford health care, mental or otherwise. If that is your position, you are basically saying we shouldn’t do a fucking thing; nothing about guns, and nothing about health care access. Fuck that.

3. Rape

photo of a young woman at a protest holding a sign that reads "Don't tell me how to dress, tell them not to rape"
Image via http://consentissexyhc.wordpress.com

Many of us around here spend quite a bit of time in the feminist spaces of the Internet. We have read a large number of articles and studies about rape and privilege and are well-versed when it comes to having these discussions. I have realized that this has led to me living in something of a rape “bubble.” I assume that people think about rape the way I think about rape, especially women.

Unfortunately, horribly, maddeningly, this is so not the case. I can’t tell you all how many times I have pulled out this, or some variation, in a discussion only to have the person stop cold. They had honestly never thought of it that way. Like many things, teaching young women to be safe and mindful and careful seems reasonable. It absolutely is. It’s a necessity.

But when that logic extends out into the victim blaming bullshit we hear way too much of, the, “Well, if she is going to dress like that, what does she expect?” or, “What did she think would happen if she put herself in that situation?” The classic, “Of course I believe that all rape is wrong, but…” followed by word vomit.

Many, many, way too many people have never thought about it the way the woman in this picture presents it. I really believe they haven’t, because they have never thought about it that hard. They don’t want to think about it that hard because thinking about rape fucking sucks. It is a crime that’s level of cruelty is rarely matched. People don’t want to think about it; I get it. But they have to if anything is ever going to change, and this simple statement, this framing, makes a huge difference. Instead of people walking around thinking of all the things women or men must do not to be raped, we need to start processing how we, as a country, as a world, are going to teach people not to rape.

4. Assholes

a drawing of three men and a woman sitting at a table looking at a graph with the words "I wish you were as productive as your rectum is."

Okay, the first three were pretty heavy, so I’d like to have the last two be a little less focused and a little more all-purpose. I am pretty much sick of sitting back and taking the bullshit that spews forth out of some mouths around me. I am sick of sitting by and watching people like posts on Facebook that are misleading at best and flat-out lies most of the time that can be debunked by typing three words into Google. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of “not sinking to their level.” It’s time to get down there, folks, because they are spreading hate and bigotry and breeding violence and anger and I am done with it. I’m angry and I’m not gonna take it anymore! I can think of so many people who this statement would be perfect for. I bet you all can think of a few more, no?

1. A Good Old-Fashioned Fuck You

A drawing of an older man on a tan background with the words "You make me wish I had more middle fingers"

I won’t lie; I said this to my mother last night. I love my mom. She is the best mom a girl could ever ask for. She has the patience of a saint, the beauty of a work of fine art, and has put up with my crap for 34 years. She is amazing and wonderful. That being said, last night she made me wish I had more middle fingers. It happens. I don’t even remember what exactly she said, but it had something to do with having babies, which prompted my retort. It is beautiful in its simplicity. You aren’t actually swearing or flipping anybody off, and yet the point is made perfectly clear what you think of whatever they have said or done. Clean and to the point. Keep it simple.

I leave you with this, the best gif ever.

animated gif of a drawing of a guy that keeps growing more arms to flip the bird

 

24 thoughts on “Top 5 Comebacks to Nonsense Questions or Comments”

  1. When people tell me that cars are as lethal as guns, I can’t help thinking…..
    Now, I admit I have no first hand experience at owning or operating a gun, but I do have a driver’s license. In order to get a driver’s license I had to take a driver’s education course (which thoroughly covered safety) BEFORE I could get a learner’s permit. Then I had to spend a decent amount of time with my learner’s permit driving with another licensed driver. Only then was I allowed to take a written test on laws and safety and take a practical driving test, both of which I passed in order to get my license. All before I could legally operate a vehicle on my own. Additionally, some sort of insurance has to be involved to legally operate a vehicle and a driver’s license has to be renewed periodically.

    If that much effort must be put into legally operating a car, why are there so few safety regulations on the legal operation of guns – something just as lethal as a car??

    1. Hi there! I have experience operating both cars and guns legally, so hopefully I can help answer your questions.

      There are federal regulations in place, and some things vary from state to state. For example, to buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer anywhere in the US you need to undergo a federal background check. Don’t pass, no gun sale. There’s nothing on the books restricting folks from driving due to criminal status.

      You can drive a car pretty much anywhere. Try and do that with a gun and unless you have the proper permit, bad things happen.

      I happen to know Minnesota laws best, so these are my example. BUT! Concealed carry laws vary by state, to learn your local laws!
      In MN, to get a permit to carry a pistol concealed on your person, you have to go through a class which thoroughly covers both practical use of a pistol (semi-auto and revolvers) as well as the laws surrounding carry in MN–and there are lots of them! Case studies are covered as well. (I went to the class my fiance took, it lasted six hours before they went to the range.) At the range, you must demonstrate that you can use your firearm safely and actually hit your paper target so many times at such a distance.

      These classes are not cheap.
      After passing your class, you can apply for your permit with the local sheriff, which is another fee and a waiting period while they do the paperwork.

      Only then are you allowed to carry a pistol on your person in public in MN.

      However, if you have questions on the laws in your local area, go ahead and look them up! Laws exist all over the country, it just takes a little digging to get to them. Here is one helpful resource: http://www.gunlawsbystate.com/#!/home/terms-of-access-and-use/

      Phew! Thanks for reading!

      1. I disagree with a bit of this though. While it’s nice to pretend that the federal background checks are as strictly enforced as driving privileges are – they’re not. While you may be able to buy a car from some underground shop and have fake tags on it and no license or insurance, you’ll run into an issue if you get pulled over or are in an accident. There isn’t a similar system to verify if and when a gun was purchased from an individual or another means where people bypass that background check. I can drive two miles right now and buy a gun with no background check. I have no idea where I’d have to go to buy a car without it being registered and insured.

        If you drive a car ‘anywhere,’ someone will notice you are in a car. You’ll be on a road (hopefully) and it’s obvious that you are in a car driving. There’s no obvious way to tell that someone has a gun on them if it’s small enough (or hidden in a bag, etc.). So the chances of getting caught in a motor vehicle are a lot greater than of getting caught with a gun (or any weapon).

        Also, it sounds like those classes are just for concealed carry. You don’t have to have a concealed carry permit to own a gun any place that I know of, only to carry it in public.

        I am not anti-gun at all. But I think that there should be mandatory training for everyone, not just concealed carriers, and I like the idea of requiring some sort of insurance. I think the term ‘gun control’ paints a different picture to everyone who hears it; do you think a 3-year-old should be able to have a loaded gun? Because that would be ‘gun control.’ So if we made it ‘no minors’ – well, what about teens who are supervised and hunting? I used to shoot at a range when I was a teen, so that seems like too much. I think there is a way to have ‘gun control’ that respects the responsible owners while still ensuring that it is at least a system that requires some due diligence. But first, each ‘side’ of the issue needs to give up their extreme talking points to really flesh that out.

        1. Hi! Thanks for getting you point of view out here, I appreciate it a lot.

          I agree that safety training for new gun owners is a great idea. I too went through hunter’s safety as a teen, and the training has been invaluable. I would love to see a standardized training program for, say, 15 year olds (with written consent from parents of course) to teach them gun safety. The more you know about something, the less scared of it you are and the more likely you are to know what to do if something goes wrong.

          You have a point with gun control and kids. It’s just that when most people say “gun contol” these days, it means they are willing to pass legislation that restricts or even criminalizes the ownership of certain items which until then had been perfectly legal and had little impact in crime in the US.

          I think we agree on this issue pretty well, actually. So far everything you have suggested seems like a reasonable idea from a “pro-gun” point of view, and I appreciate your statement on how both sides need to calm down enough so we can talk! It’s a breath of fresh air! :)

  2. Law-abiding citizens are, well, citizens who follow the laws. Criminals do not follow the laws. Explain to me how putting more laws in place somehow does not affect those who already follow the laws and punishes those who do not follow the laws.

    And thanks for making me one of the ubiquitous “them”. I really love it when a website with funny, well-thought out articles which normally focus on including folks goes and ostracizes some women just because we don’t see how putting more restrictive gun laws into place is a good idea.

    I am not a right-wing tea party type of person. I am a religious minority by choice, I support full rights and equality for everyone regardless of race, religion, sexuality, political leanings, or anything else, and I am an informed and legal gun owner. Where do people get the idea that only fat white old guys are behind the rising trend of citizens to legally own firearms in America? How is every gun owner a member of the evil NRA, which exists and lobbies in the same way that the Sierra Club and NAACP do? Honestly, way to paint us all as evil assholes!

    by the way, it’s called a magazine, not a clip. Learn about the thing you want to ban before you start saying how much you want to ban it. And please, point out to me exactly which laws already on the books are wrong and why so we can have an informed discussion on the topic of gun law in America. That I can do.

    1. You know that if someone “makes you part of *them*” you don’t have to roll over and agree, right? You have previously posted about your gun ownership, that you’re not one of those people who think they need to guard themselves against the government or will empty a magazine in the mall because the store was out of chicken fries.

      Secondly: why would it be bad to ban automatized guns? If you’re an informed, educated, well-taught shooter, isn’t one bullet enough to save you/protect your house/kill the animal?

      I’m not an American so I can imagine I have stepped into the wrong point here, but I simply try to say that we know not every owner of fire arms is an evil asshole. The above mentioned comments are simply for the few that are.

      1. Definition time!

        If you pull the trigger and the gun fires one bullet, it is a semi-automatic gun.
        If you pull the trigger and the gun keeps firing until it is out of ammunition OR if it fires more than one bullet per trigger pull, it is a fully automatic gun.

        Fully automatic guns have been regulated and restricted since the 1930s. Nowadays they are expensive and hard to get legally. Semi-automatic guns are a very common design and run the gamut, from pistols to shotguns to rifles of all kinds.

        I agree that every group has its bad eggs, I was just dismayed at the article’s portrayal of all gun owners as all bad eggs.

    2. I really dislike the argument that “only law-abiding people follow the laws” against gun-regulations. That basically implies that we should never pass any laws since criminals will ignore them anyway. Obviously, there will be those out there who will disobey laws, but making it harder to kill a bunch of people very quickly (or making it harder for someone with a history of violence/mental illness to get a gun) will almost certainly reduce the # homicides by guns.

      The argument seems to deliberately misunderstand the goal of such laws. Gun regulations aim to increase the safety of most citizens. Other countries have banned guns, etc., and saw death rates drop, so such laws can potentially increase the safety of our citizens. If you are well-read on the topic of gun regulations, I’m sure you can debate whether certain clauses will be successful in this goal or not, but the simple argument that gun regulations (or even outright bans) do nothing but make it harder for law-abiding citizens is false.

      You saying that the writer of this article/others are painting all gun owners as evil is disingenuous. If you actually read what she wrote, Kym G shared that she even owned a gun. I understand you might feel a bit defensive about the subject, but those statements were unfair.

      1. Hi there!

        So how is passing more laws restricting the ownership of a certain item *not* going to affect those people who already legally own said item? Or folks who seek to own said item?

        The author did say she was a gun owner. She also stated that she thought banning more guns was a great idea; to anyone who knows about ballistics, we can see that keeping hunting rifles but banning something like an AR-15 makes little sense.

        Consider: a common hunting round is the 30-06, which is designed to take down animals weighing hundreds to thousands of pounds in one hit. The AR-15 is chambered most often in .223, a smaller rifle round which requires a well-placed shot to take down a deer or human-sized target.

        Now someone could mention that large magazines are really the issue. I am inclined to say that magazine size isn’t much of a factor in crime. First off, far more crimes are done with pistols than with rifles in the first place. Here is the FBI homocide data from 2007 to 2011: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

        secondly, defining what is ‘large’ for a magazine is pretty arbitrary. Is it five rounds? Ten? Fifteen? Thirty? Is it faster to swap in a fully loaded magazine anyway? This depends on what kind of firearm you’re talking about.

        I do agree that we should have a better system for screening on serious mental health problems in place. From what I can tell, most of the guys who decided to up and shoot folks had some sort of problem which required professional help and I do think most of those guys were on medication.

    3. As Kym says herself , “we are looking for one liners here, easy and to-the-point statements that can stop people in their tracks or hopefully make them think before they open their mouths again”. You’ll also notice she is a gun owner herself

      I don’t think this is the post for an in-depth discussion of gun law in the USA, and it’s certainly not the post for a discussion of why we bother making laws in the first place.

      1. No, you are right, this is not meant to discuss US gun law. I was just dismayed that she seemed to portray all other US gun owners as crazy and that the NRA is somehow evil; as far as I could tell they were an interest group that lobbied like many others do.

        Have to say, though, her one-liner did not stop me in my tracks. Oh well.

    4. “Law-abiding citizens are, well, citizens who follow the laws. Criminals do not follow the laws. ”

      By that logic(?), there is no point to any law because murderers, burglars, etc, are breaking laws, and they’re doing it whether or not those things are illegal.

      1. What I’m getting at is that I think it is silly to punish the majority of law-abiding citizens with sweeping bans and restrictions rather than focusing on the small number of people who actually do these horrible things, regardless of how they do the horrible things.

        Bad things still happen–I happen to think we need to focus on taking better care of folks with mental health issues that could become a danger to others. From what I can tell, the Sandy Hook shooter and many others who did things like this were on some form of psychiatric drug, which meant they were diagnosed with something from a mental health professional. Should guns be banned for everyone who has certain mental health issues? That’s hard to say–I *really* hate treading on anyone’s rights, so my view is to keep it legal unless it’s obviously in need of federal oversight. What do you think?

        1. Ihinelle, clearly I struck a cord I didn’t intend to with you. By confirming that I own a gun, I had hoped people would see that I wasn’t making any sort of sweeping generalization about all gun owners. I grew up with a police officer for a father and many hunters in the family, so I am surrounded by gun owners and would never paint them all with such a broad brush. While I do mention that nobody I myself have spoken to has made an reasonable argument for the need for a 30 round magazine – thank you for the correction, honestly; I readily admit to not to being an expert- I in no way, anywhere, make any argument for any blanket ban on anything except for the NRA being so heavily influential on politicians. They are most definitely not merely a lobbying group along the lines of the Sierra Club and the NAACP, due in part to the large amount of funding and backing they have to ensure they get their way. It is unfair to be insulting and upset by words that I did not write.

          As I mention in the article, this is definitely a topic that brings heated discussion from both sides. I point out that the need for better mental health care is a huge necessity in our society. I state that these one liners are for people who rely on ”talking points” and have little else behind their arguments. Of course a fellow Persephoneer, like yourself, would not fall into that category. It seems as though we agree on more than we disagree about, once the idea that I said anything about banning any kind of gun is taking out of the equation.

          1. Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate the fact that you came back to state your point of view more clearly–thank you.

            As for the magazine thing, I see it more as a “why should we ban them?” question rather than a “why do we need them?” Why does someone need a car with 400 or more horses under the hood? I know cars and guns aren’t the best comparison though.
            If you look at FBI crime statistics, some trends are pretty evident. For example, pistols are used a lot more frequently than rifles in homicides: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8
            This tells us that banning large magazines for rifles probably wouldn’t be very effective. But what about large pistol mags? In pistols, a magazine that holds more than about 15 rounds (depending on what caliber the gun is, very important!) is a lot more likely to cause a jam, which means you’re better off swapping in a fresh mag anyway… which in skilled hands, takes all of a second or two. I think you can see why banning large magazines makes little sense to me.

            Secondly, there is another aspect of firearms ownership: self and home defense.
            Unlike crime data, defensive uses of firearms in the US are underreported in a big way–most of the time you’ll see a line or two in the local paper, and that’s not even counting the times when you just show a would-be criminal that you’re armed and they leave in search of an easier target. To explain this side of things far better than I can, here is a post to a blog written by a well-known and respected firearms expert and self-defense trainer: http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2012/12/29/why-good-people-need-semiautomatic-firearms-and-high-capacity-magazines-part-i/

            So anyway, we can agree to disagree on some things and I think we all agree that anyone who doesn’t think things through needs a good verbal wake-up call. :)

  3. I have actually used the third one with a person whose relationship to me will be unknown, and he still firmly believes that the woman, in most cases, was ultimately at fault when it comes to rape. So even some awesome comebacks will not affect the most entrenched assholes.

    Now I wish I would have used the middle fingers one on him.

  4. I heard that last one for the first time today and it’s pretty genius. Usually I’m too impatient/rude to come up with a smart reply though, and just stick with: “Because.” Luckily I don’t have this many imbeciles in my life that don’t need a proper comeback.

    1. Oh I do that one all the time. I have a sexist/homophobic coworker who regularly voices his opinions and I always respond, “Is there anyone you don’t hate?” He always claims he doesn’t hate anyone. I think one day it’ll sink in…unless he’s just playing dumb.

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