When is it o.k. to call someone an idiot in public?

Inspired by this thread.
Is it ever appropriate to stop someone in mid-sentence and say “You are an absolute idiot for having that opinion, and I want everyone within the sound of our voices to know this.”?

Depends on the type of people you hang out with. In some crowds, that would be a perfectly acceptable response to something like, “The Cubs are going to win the World Series next year” or “Weekend at Bernie’s is the best movie ever made.”

Yes, it’s very helpful to those nearby, as it will let them know that you are a rude blowhard, and they should avoid talking to you as much as possible.

So all opinions are to be respected-even those not exposed to logic or thought?

My post was only one sentence long. How you could have misinterpreted it so badly is beyond me. But yes, if all you can do in response to someone’s opinion is to loudly insult them, you are being a rude blowhard, and everyone in the room will be more sympathetic to the person you just bellowed at, even if they think he or she is a total loon.

When is it o.k. to call someone an idiot in public?

When is it okay? Not nearly often enough.

Anytime is acceptable, if you’re an asshole.
No time is acceptable, if you’re not.

Perfect answer!

Do you call that person an asshole in public, or do you respect the opinion given and walk away without saying anything?

I would normally just roll my eyes and walk away but in the case of a severe asshole I would likley say something but not where anyone else could hear it.


I might say “That’s very interesting, I’ve never heard of that before.” I’ve had to say that a few times lately.

Asshole, idiot, fucking jerk, whatever is appropriate for the occasion should be used whenever the mood strikes you. Walking away is of course an option before or after.

But, the other person then has several options available to themselves as well.

You know damn well I’m going to spend a few minutes seeing if you’ve responded to any of my posts this way, don’t you? :stuck_out_tongue:

You’re assuming that baldly announcing that someone is an idiot is the best way to convince bystanders that they are one. However, that’s usually not the case.

I refrain from calling idiots idiots not because it’s rude (although it is) but because it’s ineffective. You’ve got to play to the crowd.

For example, please?

Exactly. If say ‘You are an absolute idiot for having that opinion, and I want everyone within the sound of our voices to know this,’ at FNM tonight it would be fine, and everyone in earshot would probably laugh (including the person I said it to). If I said the same thing at, for example, a company get together it would be inappropriate and out of line.

Go for it! But I’m pretty sure I never have. I do have one friend that I said that to a few times lately. She has some very “interesting” ideas about some things, causing me to give her my :dubious: face.

I’ve seen it happen, and it’s never worked very welll, most times because everyone else lacks context and perspective, coupled to the fact that they’re largely indifferent to the exchange.

The word “idiot” is used rather loosely, and when people start using it to label someone, loud enough for a group to hear, no less, it usually draws attention to the person doing the labeling. If the offended person responds in kind, the situation quickly devolves, and you now have two people being obnoxious, while exhibiting poor impulse control. Ever heard of wrestling with a pig?

For people who posses tact, though, there are methods for disagreeing, without being blatantly offensive, with the intent to embarrass (which in most cases I’ve seen, is the intention when “alerting” the group).

Short answer: I agree with Rachellelogram.

An idiot is just a common person. So it usually applies.