Monday, November 24, 2008

The Devil's Advocate is a Turkey of a Phrase

Yeah! Thanksgiving Week!

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I know, I know. When it comes to holidays Christmas is probably the big boy on most peoples' lists.

Or, July 4 may take the top slot. You can't beat flags, cookouts, hot weather, cold drinks, and not having to wear a lot of clothes.

But, especially if you are a male, give your consideration to Thanksgiving. All the food you can eat, football, and you don't have to buy presents.

Now, some of you are doing the cynics stroll. I can hear you right now; "Not everyone is male, and females often end up with the brunt of the Thanksgiving work." "But Mike, not everyone has all the food they can eat." "Not everyone likes football." "Some people like buying and receiving presents."

All that stuff comes from that Devil's Advocate state of thinking; the part of us that wants to come up witha Gotcha! kind of comment.

If you want to have more Perfect Workdays, forget The Devil's Advocate. In fact, if anyone ever uses the phrase, stop them, and tell them that you don't believe in The Devil's Advocate. Nothing good ever comes after "The Devil's Advocate."

I'm not saying you shouldn't think ahead and anticipate challenges. But, The Devil's Advocate squashes ideas and makes it less likely that people will open up and tell you what they are really thinking.

So, I'm telling you what I'm really thinking. And I'm thinking that Thanksgiving is great! Look ahead to have a wonderful week.

1 comment:



  1. Allegorically, one who takes an opposite position for testing a contention, or just to be perverse.

    The term 'Devil's advocate' was brought into English in the eighteenth century from the medieval Latin expression 'advocatus diaboli'. To describe someone as a Devil's advocate now is to suggest that they are mischievous and opposing, being opposite for it. In medieval Europe, Devil's advocate wasn't seen so contrarily; it was, similar to "chamberlain" or 'cordwainer', a vocation title.

    There are various mentions in Vatican records dating from the mid 1500s of a casual part called 'Diaboli Advocatus'. In 1587, the administration of Pope Sixtus V (disappointingly, there hasn't yet been a Sixtus the Sixth) established the formal post of Promoter of the Confidence, referred to informally as the 'Advocatus Diaboli', which surely must have been the same part as 'Diaboli Advocatus'. The set of working responsibilities wasn't especially onerous, until the point when someone was assigned for either beatification and canonization, and soon thereafter the 'Devil's Advocate' was required to draw up a list of arguments against the chosen one getting to be plainly blessed or consecrated.

    The first occasion when that the present type of the expression was used in print appears to be in the 1760 humorous content Impostors Identified:

    By rising up and having the genuine impact of the Devil's advocate.

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