When it Devolves to Citations

Citations are just one step on the road to legalese hell.

When in the course of an argument or conversation it becomes necessary to produce “receipts”, cite sources, or refer to documents and prior statements, things have gone in a bad direction.

This is sometimes necessary, but it is far from ideal. And it’s what eventually ends in legal documents no one can read drawn up by overpaid lowers. It means plain speaking has broken down because motives, memories, and emotions have gone awry.

Whenever possible, I try not to invoke “receipts” or cite sources in an initial exchange of ideas. I want to simply represent the arguments as I see them as logically as possible, and represent the other person’s view fairly as well.

I do not always succeed, and when it moves into “show me the receipts” territory, it goes from productive and enjoyable to tiring. At least for me. Some people are most at home in this territory, and I do not decry them. Good that someone is.

It is even, Heaven forbid, good that some people can go all the way to legalspeak when needed. But boy does it suck.