One of the basic tenets of American citizenship is that no matter what race, class or belief system you come from, you don’t need to have the slightest inkling of what is occurring in the world around you. That’s why Abraham Lincoln fought so hard to expel the British.
But in this increasingly international business climate, where things routinely get mailed from Tokyo and people are always asking you about things you haven’t seen and people you’ve never met, you should probably have enough current events knowledge to at least gracefully exit a conversation.
To avoid offending anyone along the way, here are some key phrases you can count on when a divisive subject arises:
“It’s crazy over there.'
The best approach to discussing a foreign calamity without weighing in on which side, if any, you support. For example: “I heard there are two Sudans now. How crazy is that?'
“I’m an independent.'
The greatest aspect of telling people you’re in independent is that people will immediately stop listening to you and look for someone else to argue with. Otherwise, they might become embroiled in a two-hour substantive discussion of your complex opinions on various banal topics. Nobody wants to do that.
“I just want there to be some accountability.'
Who can argue against accountability? It’s an open-ended, nebulous term that can be applied to pretty much any political topic, and everybody always agrees with it. At least until they figure out what KIND of accountability it is.
“They’ve always kinda been my second team.'
If the boss roots for your favorite team’s sworn rivals or is a die-hard Clippers fan, this might be a difficult sell. It’s even tougher if you don’t give a rat’s ass (SIDE NOTE: This expression makes no sense) about sports in general. Just say you admire the history of the franchise and think their uniforms possess “classic elegance.'
“I liked their first album.'
There’s a very good chance your boss listens to really awful music,and you’ll have to pretend you’re not annoyed by it. It’s not his or her fault; developing musical taste requires a significant amount of free time. That’s why your unemployed friends are always telling you about the coolest new bands,and your CEO is still asking if you’ve heard of the Vengaboys.