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Media Meltdowns

You Cannot Defeat Stephen A. Smith In Mind Combat

Stephen A. Smith debates Jay Williams
Screenshot: First Take

I have no interest in trying to parse what Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams were debating on First Take this morning—something having to do with Smith being too mean to Kyrie Irving? Whether one or the other of them was upset for some reason? But I am interested in the rhetorical mastery on display here.

This Jay Williams guy, first of all. What a twerp! There are precious few ways to make yelling about sports on TV a less dignified endeavor than it already and always is, and one of those is to sully the format with the sort of deranged methods of argumentation that are native to the internet. Williams does so in the clip above when he smugly accuses Smith of being "triggered." He sure seemed proud of himself in that moment, and must have really thought that he had "owned" poor Stephen A. through the use of his advanced debate tactics. What a moron. What a fool.

What Williams failed to understand is that Smith, a 55-year-old man who wears a suit to work every day and once proudly described himself as a "booty-leg-and-hip man," doesn't know what the fuck you're talking about when you say that he is "triggered." One can only be "triggered" in the way that Williams meant it if they are aware of the word's internet-age definition. Do you think Stephen A. Smith spends any of his time reading the bad-faith debates that happen in Twitter threads? Does it seem like this man is on Reddit to you, Jay? Of course not, which is why he quickly and expertly disarmed Williams with the perfect retort: "I'm always triggered."

That's an incredible pivot, and not only because it allowed Smith to reclaim the word for his own purposes. It also forced Williams into the contradictory position of having to argue that Stephen A. Smith is actually not triggered. "No you're not!" he said repeatedly.

Oh yes he is, Jay. He's triggered as hell. And you, sir, are the one who has been owned.

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