Sometimes I actually think before opening my eager-to-set-the-record-straight yap.
Not often. But sometimes.
Like the time a friend called a biopic a documentary, the time my next-door neighbor trotted out the myth that doing crosswords and Sudoku staves off dementia, or the many times someone misconjugated lie or lay.
I could have invoked the infamous skeptic opener, “Well, actually …” But upon brief reflection, which was all I had time for, I felt that—in those specific instances—correction would have been needless and, therefore, annoying, possibly humiliating, and not at all helpful. So I let it go.
I am not the only skeptic whose Tact and Timing switch has rusted. It’s easy to forget that not everyone shares the skeptic’s zeal to dethrone misinformation—and that not all misinformation is created equal. If you think sugar makes kids hyper, you’re wrong, but not on an anti-vax or climate change-denial level of wrong.
Before you @ me, permit me to acknowledge that there’s something to be said for nipping in the bud all misinformation large or small. Granted, thinking that embraces benign misinformation may sooner or later embrace malignant misinformation. Still, I submit that there is room for judgment and restraint.
I know of no hard and fast rule for determining when correction is needful and when it’s only tiresome. I suspect that placing yourself in the Other’s shoes might help. And perhaps learning to recognize the difference between a desire to help and a need to appear smarter-than.
... where I share thoughts about writing. I don’t consider myself a writing authority, but that doesn’t keep me from presuming to blog like one. Oh, and I reserve the right to digress when I feel like it.