For example, here is a list of authors whose work I have never read who occasionally pop up in everyday conversation: Margaret Atwood, Cormac McCarthy, Salman Rushdie, Amy Tan (unless one chapter of The Bonesetter’s Daughter counts), and John Updike. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to dodge these authors in conversation like speeding bullets. Here’s an example of a rather clumsy diversionary tactic:
A: “So what do you think of John Updike?”
B: “What do you mean, what do I think of him? What, are we dating and now we have to hold hands and talk about our feelings and thoughts and Updike? Jeez, get a life, man!”
Guilt by Association
A: “Didn’t you love A Handmaid’s Tale?”B: “No, but do you know who did? Osama bin Laden.”
Appeal to Flattery
Ad Hominem Attack
A: “I finally finished Midnight’s Children last week. Have you read it?”B: “No, I’m not a philistine, unlike some people I know. I try to read good books. Have you ever actually read a good book?”
Shifting the Onus of Proof
A: … and that’s why I think Amy Tan is the best African-American writer today.
B: Amy Tan isn’t African American.
A: Oh, yeah? Prove it!