4

I've looked for some references on various sites, and the closest but still incorrect source I've gotten is tautology; the act of rewording something, but still intending the same meaning. But the fault with this is the fact that there is no rewording; an example is something like:

  • Person A: "You know that computers work on will & power?"

  • Person B: "Pardon me? You notice that ... " - Person B proceeds to annihilate Person A with sources & facts.

  • Person A: "Also English was a derivative of the Assembly language."

  • Person A: " --and processors are cheese!"

Kind of a bad example- but what I'm trying to figure out is what is it called when (a) person/people are conversing and then one remarks something stupid, and thus to the realization of this; they make more stupid statements to sort of demean or bring the fact that the prior statement was probably just a sarcastic joke or some sort of misunderstood humor.

  • 4
    I would say they're "Trumping" their previous statements. – Hot Licks Mar 25 '17 at 20:53
  • 1
    "Changing feet"? – Cascabel Mar 25 '17 at 21:37
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    @Cascabel I've heard opening one's mouth to change feet. – AmE speaker Mar 25 '17 at 21:58
  • @Clare Yeah...but some people never shut their mouth.;-) – Cascabel Mar 25 '17 at 22:11
  • @HotLicks Given the below comments on Mick´s answer, that might actually be a viable response, and not just social commentary. – Cascabel Mar 25 '17 at 22:20
8

One term for it is digging yourself into a hole, the meaning being that you are already in a hole and you are just making it deeper by carrying on digging.

dig yourself into a hole (informal) also dig a hole for yourself

to get yourself into a difficult situation:

The party has really dug itself into a hole with its economic policies.

Cambridge Dictionary

People who realise what you are doing will sometimes mimic a digging action to make fun of you.

  • This is the correct answer and I thank you, but is there a sort of specific word for it- rather than a phrase? If there isn't I'll just stick with this :) – Omniscient Phynial Sniper Mar 25 '17 at 21:13
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    "Digging yourself into a hole" is when you keep making things worse by trying to defend the indefensible with serious arguments. What the OP describes is more an attempt to deflect attention from a faux pas using humor. – Hot Licks Mar 25 '17 at 21:32
  • @OmniscientPhynialSniper This is a good answer, but if you want a single word, you need to use the SWR tag. Be warned that adding the tag also carries the necessity of adding a sample sentence showing how the word is to be used in context. – Cascabel Mar 25 '17 at 21:41
  • @HotLicks Yeah, I guess- but I didn't really add the right tags and it is a decent answer, and you are right on what I mean, but the thing that people that commit by participating in the original post- is basically digging a further hole because intellects can most likely detect what you're trying to do and just shoot you down. – Omniscient Phynial Sniper Mar 25 '17 at 21:59
  • Shoveling sand--the one thing you don't want to do when standing in a hole. – Xanne Mar 25 '17 at 23:49
2

While I agree with @Mick, at least up to a point, @HotLicks makes a good point. You seem to be asking about the phenomenon of attempting to deflect criticism for saying something stupid by deliberately saying something even more stupid.

In a general sense, such behavior is a form of defensiveness by which a person attempts to deflect criticism and/or minimize the embarrassment of having just said something ill-advised. After being excoriated by someone who seems to know what they're talking about, the defensive person tries to weasel out of having just said something stupid by deliberately saying something even more stupid--stupid to the point of being patently ridiculous.

In other words, such a ploy is an attempt to weasel out of having just said something ill advised.

Such behavior could be called any number of things, including

  • an attempt to save face

  • an ad hoc attempt to minimize embarrassment

  • an effort to rationalize having said something stupid

  • a desperate move to persuade a person you weren't serious about your former comment

  • twisted logic: an obviously stupid comment which has been proved to be stupid will somehow lose its taint when followed by an even more-stupid comment

A social psychologist would probably have a better handle on this phenomenon. The defensiveness I mentioned could be triggered by a commonly used term in social psychology: cognitive dissonance. Put differently, a person who has just been exposed as having said something stupid feels conflicted--dissonant, because on the one hand they perceive themselves as being quite bright, but on the other hand they've just been exposed as being not so bright.

It's as if the person's self-talk goes as follows:

"Well, which is it: bright or not so bright? I still think I'm bright, so to get rid of the dissonance I'm currently feeling I'll attempt to appear bright by saying something even more outrageous in hopes that my interlocutor will think I was just kidding when I made my first comment."

  • Parfait, thanks for the answer- it's exactly what I meant. I'm not sure though if I should change answers or not, seems a bit in-empathetic to just switch a good answer to an extended and better answer :u – Omniscient Phynial Sniper Mar 27 '17 at 15:57
  • @OmniscientPhynialSniper: You're welcome. Fret not. Feel free to leave things as they are. I'm not "in it for the points"! Don – rhetorician Mar 27 '17 at 16:18

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