Appreciating the Zen of “Dude”

Last week, longtime Obama aide and former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor got blasted for using the word “dude” when responding to a harassing series of questions from Fox News’ Bret Baier about Vietor’s role in the infamous Benghazi talking points.

You can witness the dude-claration for yourself:

As you can clearly see, Tommy isn’t casually throwing the “D” word around with a “cavalier attitude,” as the Washington Free Beacon described it.

He’s using it as a tool, and essentially a last resort, to help bring some basic level of rational understanding and common sense to an argument and line of questioning that was — and let’s use our common sense when letting this word hit our trained-to-be-overreactive brains — a little unfair.

In fact, a University of Pittsburgh researcher Scott Kiesling says that the word “dude” denotes what he calls “an effortless kinship that’s not too intimate.”

In literal other words, Tommy Vietor is pleading Baier to recognize their kinship as journalists (or even reasonable human beings). There’s no harm meant, and any disrespect is directed towards Baier’s palpable undudeness about the whole situation.

And speaking of, any word that conjures up the image of this man…
isn’t meant with any serious level of animosity.

Besides,”dude” is an intrinsically flexible word that can’t be blamed for whatever form its malleable shape gets molded to by outside sources. How can we dare claim to know the specific intended use in a given situation?

It has long been considered by many various learned people as the number one most versatile word in the English language, who all cite unequivocally reliable sources like Jezebel articles, Rob Schneider stand-up acts, Budweiser commercials, and classic Baseketball scenes in their defense…

But really, deep down, underneath all of those different inflections and connotations, there actually is one concrete foundation to the chameleonic “dude.”

It’s an underlying notion that “dude” is a sign of respect towards the zen-like concept that whatever we are talking about — even something as ridiculous as the Benghazi tapes — is utterly but a grain of sand in the desert of relative eternity on this pale blue dot and that because of this, we should at least respect our communal precious time here and temper our actions appropriately towards the given situation.

The hate-mongering troll that is Michelle Malkin tried to paint Tommy Vietor as a slack-jawed Spicoli because of this supposed gaffe, but it was Jeff Spicoli himself that once pondered: “If I’m here and you’re here, doesn’t it make it our time?”

Let that one sink in, dude.

Unfortunately though, what’s really sad about this situation is that Tommy isn’t just a victim here, but someone just as guilty as those who slandered him when this video went viral.

After The “Dude” Heard Round Fox News slips, Tommy begins raising his voice bringing up a series of rational points: “We’re talking about the most mundane process of editing. We’re talking about the process of editing talking points! That’s what bureaucrats do all day long! Your producers edit scripts!

But while he’s doing that, Bret Baier threw his own “dude” plea into the ring…

“Dude, this is the thing everyone is talking about!” he cried.

…and he’s right.

Tommy forgot that thanks to outlets like Fox News, it is what people are talking about.

Just because it makes no sense to him as to why these people can’t let what he believes to be a very nitpicky point go doesn’t mean that people aren’t still railing Democrats (aka Hilary 2016) on this issue.

In an ideal, Good Burger-based scenario, Tommy and Bret would have both taken a second and remembered, “I’m a dude, you’re a dude, she’s a dude, cause we’re all dudes,” Bret would have admitted the question was pointed and a bit unreasonable, and Tommy would have had to at least admit that, even if it’s because it’s getting jammed in news cycles left and right, Benghazi isn’t going away.

But this isn’t Good Burger (home of the Good Burger), so we’re just left to wonder dude, where’s my country?

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Originally posted on The Daily Banter on May 7, 2014