When I think of people I know or meet in passing or see on TV, there’s a tell that tells it all. I call it That Smirk.
The smirk is an argumentative device devoid of substance, that aims to infantilize an opponent. Defined as “An affected, often offensively self-satisfied smile.” That Smirk is a facial gesture in which the smirker, while feigning attention to the ideas and arguments advanced by someone presenting contrary ideas, sends a message to the smirkee and those who might be watching, that the smirkee is hopelessly naive, utterly misguided and out of touch with reality — a babe in the woods.
Those we think of as leaning left — hopeful people who seek to find means by which to create a better world — tend toward tail-wagging enthusiasm and are not generally given to That Smirk. That Smirk is a gesture peculiar to those who know they have figured it all out and have given up all hope for anything better. They live in an eternal stasis of know-it-all fear and loathing.
As the electioneering shifts into high gear during the next few months, and especially during the upcoming presidential debates, be sure to watch for That Smirk.