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Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:18 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
Archgeek wrote:
"Nauseous"'s common meaning can cause confusion when it collides with the medical definition, which approaches "actively vomiting or dry-heaving".
But can it cause confusion that couldn't be cleared up by just saying "vomiting" instead?

This misalignment of terms can lead to inappropriate treatment, or at least waste time spent asking clarifying questions about the condition of someone whose need of assistance comes down to the order of seconds.
If doctors need to act that quickly, they damn well better be aware that their patients don't know most technical clinical terminology and act accordingly.

"Literally" is a particularly annoying one, considering the word had been used as a flag to indicate when hyperbole, metaphor, and co. were explicitly not being employed.
Do you have citations that it was ever used exclusively in this way?

The hyperbolic intensifier sense of "literally" is at least 310 years old. (In 1708 Alexander Pope wrote, "Euery day with me is literally another yesterday.") Furthermore, I've never seen a good explanation for why this sense of "literally" is any more intrinsically confusing than the intensifier sense of "really" when someone says, for example, "It's really freezing in here!" about a room that is not, in fact, at or below 0C.

If someone promulgated a sarcastic or ironically reversed usage of a term commonly used in health and safety, they'd be rightly pilloried for it, and possibly arrested for endangering others if it somehow caught on.
I am literally 100% certain that this would not, in fact, be the case.

Also quite unfortunately, we're not so great at gauging emotional responses in a textual medium, and so must rely on things like precision of language and emoticons.
Sure except that the people whining about hyperbolic uses of "literally" tend to overlap pretty heavily with the people who complain about Internet-inspired changes in textual expression.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:45 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
gmalivuk wrote:
If someone promulgated a sarcastic or ironically reversed usage of a term commonly used in health and safety, they'd be rightly pilloried for it, and possibly arrested for endangering others if it somehow caught on.
I am literally 100% certain that this would not, in fact, be the case.


I'd die of laughter if it was the case.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:44 am UTC
by ijuin
I have encountered enough people using “literally” as hyperbole that, when I want to ensure that people understand that I am NOT intending hyperbole, I use “actually” instead.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:08 am UTC
by madaco
I don't just beg the question when the topic at hand is how the phrase "beg the question" should be used, but all the time.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:32 am UTC
by ancientt
This phrase drives me a little bonkers. It isn't that someone is using it wrong that bothers me. What bothers me is that when I hear someone use it incorrectly, I instantly think them a little less intelligent. This wouldn't be a problem if it were less common. People I generally think of as smart, whose opinions inform my own, will use it incorrectly. In that moment, I think "wow, that person isn't as educated as I thought they were." Like clockwork I then have a moment where I have to reevaluate exactly how much I have trusted the opinions of that person.

Two podcasters have done this to me. The first dropped out of Yale, which should have at least meant they had sufficient education to qualify, but instead now makes me think a little less of Yale's standards. The second was a physics teacher. Granted, that's not the same as an English teacher, but when I heard it, I had hundreds of hours of listening time that suddenly I felt were a little less valuable in retrospect.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:36 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
I don't think there is (or necessarily needs to be) any single word that can, regardless of any circumstance, express that you are being serious and precise. It is the tone that makes speech sarcastic, ironic, hyperbolic, figurative, or whatever, not just the words used. I can sort of understand the frustration with the written word "literally" as an intensifier, but again, there is always a lot of surrounding context. Now, if somebody does use the word "literally" in a narrow case where there is not enough context to tell if they are being serious, and that ambiguity is a problem, then clearly the user made a mistake. But the mistake would almost always still be there regardless of the use of that one word.

Apart from that, "nauseous" in medical usage means "nauseated," not "nauseating." There is no reason for medical literature to ever describe someone that way, and if doctors are literally passing notes referring to their patients as "nauseating" as a head's up, I think that's more likely to cause confusion than anything else.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:15 am UTC
by chenille
Archgeek wrote:If someone promulgated a sarcastic or ironically reversed usage of a term commonly used in health and safety, they'd be rightly pilloried for it, and possibly arrested for endangering others if it somehow caught on.

I knew that club shouldn't have had a sick DJ perform.

ancientt wrote:What bothers me is that when I hear someone use it incorrectly, I instantly think them a little less intelligent.

Well, you should work at that, because it's very unfair. Using colloquial meanings is like ending a sentence in a preposition or splitting an infinitive. When that happens you can suppose one of three things:

1. They are ignorant of the prescribed rule
2. They know about the rule but momentarily forgot it because they are thinking about much more important matters
3. They know about the rule but have rejected it as arbitrary, and instead favor a vernacular other people actually use

The only one that implies any real ignorance is #1, and when it's something like this, it's probably not more than ignorance of that particular rule. And even when it isn't, making the precise rules of formal English a measure of general competence is a terrible shibboleth. There is a whole world of people who are less than perfect at English, and they aren't stupid because of it.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:32 am UTC
by Mikeski
I would also like to know when Corporate Buzzwordish and Ebonics collided. Using "ask" as a synonym for "request": "My ask is that you reach out to the customer by Friday."

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:05 am UTC
by ucim
Mikeski wrote: Using "ask" as a synonym for "request"
Or worse, using "aks".

chenille wrote:1. They are ignorant of the prescribed rule
2. They know about the rule but momentarily forgot it because they are thinking about much more important matters
3. They know about the rule but have rejected it as arbitrary, and instead favor a vernacular other people actually use


Or 4: They know the correct version of the rule, and you got it wrong. See the uses of "affect" and "effect" for good examples of tricky usages where the trick is that it's the other one. See also the split infinitive, which isn't really an English rule, but a Latin one, that some have "chosen" to adopt. Arguably this is a case of (3), though it's really that the putative rule itself never was right to begin with.

Such an affect can effect some good arguments.

Jose

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:11 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Mikeski wrote:I would also like to know when Corporate Buzzwordish and Ebonics collided. Using "ask" as a synonym for "request": "My ask is that you reach out to the customer by Friday."

That's not Ebonics. I've never heard someone in the inner city use "ask" as a noun, and if they do in some places, that's just because the meaning has existed in English for centuries. I have heard "that's a big ask" in colloquial English, and it was definitely not Ebonics. Websters also has a decent article on "get" and "ask" as nouns. In business, it might also be influenced by the terms "bid" and "ask" in investing.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:15 am UTC
by cellocgw
ijuin wrote:I have encountered enough people using “literally” as hyperbole that, when I want to ensure that people understand that I am NOT intending hyperbole, I use “actually” instead.


You actually shouldn't

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:53 am UTC
by rmsgrey
ucim wrote:Such an affect can effect some good arguments.


I find I affect an affect of affection for that sentence.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:45 pm UTC
by The Bus
da Doctah wrote:
qvxb wrote:Try "That food made me sick."


I am literally puking my guts out now.


Literally confirmed via profile photo.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:34 pm UTC
by SuicideJunkie
gmalivuk wrote:
If someone promulgated a sarcastic or ironically reversed usage of a term commonly used in health and safety, they'd be rightly pilloried for it, and possibly arrested for endangering others if it somehow caught on.
I am literally 100% certain that this would not, in fact, be the case.

It can't be all that bad... we've long had both flammable and inflammable construction materials to choose from, and humans have only burned down a handful of entire cities so far.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:21 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
chenille wrote:There is a whole world of people who are less than perfect at English, and they aren't stupid because of it.

IME, furriners speek Inglish gudderer.

Of those that speak English at all, and thus likely know at least one language more than I do, you'd mostly find them using the universally prescribed English vocabulary - or, at 'worst', Americanisations - while it was fairly likely that a user of "could of" was a native Brit (or colonial of on or other hue). Though this isn't quite as true as it used to be, a decade or three ago, even today the ones that apologise for their bad English are never the native Anglophones, and often its the only reliable sign that they're not such. (Excluding the deliberate mis-spellers that use their awfulness as a filter to target the especially credulous/gullible rubes in either scamming or trolling efforts.

Either way, most of the wider world I encounter is far from stupid. Especially the ones with a different mother-tongue to me, if you allow the bias of the increased levels of self-selection.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:31 pm UTC
by da Doctah
The Bus wrote:
da Doctah wrote:
qvxb wrote:Try "That food made me sick."


I am literally puking my guts out now.


Literally confirmed via profile photo.


You do realize, I hope, that the photo is not of me. It was selected as an illustration of the phrase "out of the mouths of babes".

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:41 pm UTC
by Sableagle
Soupspoon wrote:Though this isn't quite as true as it used to be, a decade or three ago, even today the ones that apologise for their bad English are never the native Anglophones, and often its the only reliable sign that they're not such.
On other fora, I have found myself identifying non-native English-speakers by their flawless use of English about as often as I have been able to identify a native speaker of a Germanic of Slavic language by distinctive grammar slipping through into their English. They often apologise for their non-native English, making me wonder whether I should respond to the apology with thanks for their excellent English.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:27 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Sableagle wrote:They often apologise for their non-native English, making me wonder whether I should respond to the apology with thanks for their excellent English.

To do this I have sometimes been known!

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:55 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
Soupspoon wrote:
the universally prescribed English vocabulary

The what now?

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:57 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
gmalivuk wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
the universally prescribed English vocabulary

The what now?

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AliensSpeakingEnglish

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:00 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
It's the English everyone in the universe speaks, of course.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:38 pm UTC
by GlassHouses
Sableagle wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Also, just because a fight will probably be lost doesn't mean it's not worth fighting.

What could possibly be the value of this fight?

If losing or surrendering means they're going to rape you to death, eat your flesh and sew your skins into their clothes, and if you're lucky they'll do it in that order, then a fight you stand a 1% chance of winning beats heck out of surrendering.

If you're outnumbered 50-6 and they're going to massacre you all, taking a few of them with you (and forcing them to keep shooting and finish you off) is the only satisfaction (and the only mercy) you'll find.

Maybe others can draw comfort from knowing that someone at least tried to stand up for them, or find courage in knowing that you at least tried to stand up for yourself.

In the context of linguistic shift, if we can slow the disappearance of the English language as we were taught it we can bring another generation or two the joy of reading all those books written in our English which they would otherwise have found incomprehensible.

I'm not sure how the choices faced by people on the brink of losing a victory-or-literal-death kind of battle have any bearing on how to deal with linguistic drift. /sarcasm

Shakespeare's English, while only 400 years old, is already hard to understand. I have, on occasion, scratched my head at Dutch that is only 300 years old (and Dutch is my first language) and I can barely make sense of Middle High German (even though German is also my first language). And Latin managed to turn into Italian over the course of several centuries.

I'm not disagreeing with the idea that there would be certain benefits to languages never changing, but it seems like the benefits of languages changing are greater. Trying to stop that is like trying to stop plate tectonics.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:31 pm UTC
by somitomi
orthogon wrote:I think there is a genuine point about misunderstanding. It's true that most of the time, you know what the person means, but on the basis that the average utterance has more listeners than speakers, and all the more so for writers and readers, the onus ought to be on the speaker/writer to make the effort in communicating.

And as such, the writer should generally refrain from using obscure words like "onus", even if the reader of a website does not have to spend several minutes locating a thick (and usually seldom used) book and rifling through the pages to find a concise summary of the word. :P

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:18 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
somitomi wrote:
orthogon wrote:I think there is a genuine point about misunderstanding. It's true that most of the time, you know what the person means, but on the basis that the average utterance has more listeners than speakers, and all the more so for writers and readers, the onus ought to be on the speaker/writer to make the effort in communicating.

And as such, the writer should generally refrain from using obscure words like "onus", even if the reader of a website does not have to spend several minutes locating a thick (and usually seldom used) book and rifling through the pages to find a concise summary of the word. :P

And not common words like "obscure". All writers should write like Upgoer Five, not use hard words.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:28 pm UTC
by Old Bruce
somitomi wrote:
orthogon wrote:I think there is a genuine point about misunderstanding. It's true that most of the time, you know what the person means, but on the basis that the average utterance has more listeners than speakers, and all the more so for writers and readers, the onus ought to be on the speaker/writer to make the effort in communicating.

And as such, the writer should generally refrain from using obscure words like "onus", even if the reader of a website does not have to spend several minutes locating a thick (and usually seldom used) book and rifling through the pages to find a concise summary of the word. :P

Onus is a perfectly cromulant word. [mrs.-crandel emoticon] [emoticon-explaining-obscure-simpsons-reference emotion]

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:35 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
I almost didn't see what you did there.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:36 pm UTC
by orthogon
Old Bruce wrote:
somitomi wrote:
orthogon wrote:I think there is a genuine point about misunderstanding. It's true that most of the time, you know what the person means, but on the basis that the average utterance has more listeners than speakers, and all the more so for writers and readers, the onus ought to be on the speaker/writer to make the effort in communicating.

And as such, the writer should generally refrain from using obscure words like "onus", even if the reader of a website does not have to spend several minutes locating a thick (and usually seldom used) book and rifling through the pages to find a concise summary of the word. :P

Onus is a perfectly cromulant word. [mrs.-crandel emoticon] [emoticon-explaining-obscure-simpsons-reference emotion]

I think you'll find the word you're looking for is cromulent.

Oh, shove it up your onus.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:46 pm UTC
by Old Bruce
orthogon wrote:
Old Bruce wrote:
somitomi wrote:
orthogon wrote:I think there is a genuine point about misunderstanding. It's true that most of the time, you know what the person means, but on the basis that the average utterance has more listeners than speakers, and all the more so for writers and readers, the onus ought to be on the speaker/writer to make the effort in communicating.

And as such, the writer should generally refrain from using obscure words like "onus", even if the reader of a website does not have to spend several minutes locating a thick (and usually seldom used) book and rifling through the pages to find a concise summary of the word. :P

Onus is a perfectly cromulant word. [mrs.-crandel emoticon] [emoticon-explaining-obscure-simpsons-reference emotion]

I think you'll find the word you're looking for is cromulent.

Oh, shove it up your onus.

Thank you for the correct spelling, as to your suggestion I think we would be in agreement that whether or not I follow it the onus is on me.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:37 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Pedants are bringing a storm of trifling up onus.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:21 pm UTC
by xtifr
ancientt wrote:This phrase drives me a little bonkers. It isn't that someone is using it wrong that bothers me. What bothers me is that when I hear someone use it incorrectly, I instantly think them a little less intelligent.


Interesting. In my case, it's a complaint about the supposed "misuse" that make me think someone is a little less intelligent than I might otherwise have thought them.

To each their own, I suppose. ;)

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:49 am UTC
by chridd
Archgeek wrote:"Nauseous"'s common meaning can cause confusion when it collides with the medical definition, which approaches "actively vomiting or dry-heaving".
…so what exactly is going on with the word "nauseous"/"nausea" here?  At one point a long time ago I thought it meant "sick to one's stomach", but then I saw it defined as something like "a feeling one is about to throw up", which seems less useful (if I'm about to throw up I'm not thinking about how I'm feeling), and now you're saying it's sometimes used to mean "actually throwing up"?  Is the meaning I originally thought (which includes milder cases where throwing up isn't likely) the common meaning and the definition I saw referring to the medical/prescriptivist meaning, or do people really only use "nausea"-derived words for cases where throwing up is likely?

(And is there a word with the meaning I want, or is feeling sick to one's stomach but not throwing up so unusual for people other than me that there isn't a common word for it?  I've heard "stomach ache", but it's not really an ache, at least for me.)

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:15 am UTC
by hjordis
chridd wrote:
Archgeek wrote:"Nauseous"'s common meaning can cause confusion when it collides with the medical definition, which approaches "actively vomiting or dry-heaving".
…so what exactly is going on with the word "nauseous"/"nausea" here?  At one point a long time ago I thought it meant "sick to one's stomach", but then I saw it defined as something like "a feeling one is about to throw up", which seems less useful

I'm not sure these are entirely different things? When I'm "sick to my stomach" I feel like I want to throw up. Whether or not I actually throw up is just a matter of how sick to my stomach I am. Well, personally I only throw up when I have a bad cough or that one time I had the stomach flu. I think it's been years. But I do *feel* like I might throw up often enough and describe it as nausea. I probably wouldn't always describe it as sick to my stomach, because I tend to reserve that for when I have something contagious and maybe food poisoning (I'm more often nauseous due to cramps or overexertion or slightly overeating), but I think that might be a quirk of mine that doesn't reflect general usage.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:47 pm UTC
by ucim
chridd wrote:(if I'm about to throw up I'm not thinking about how I'm feeling)
Whether you're thinking about it or not, you're definitely feeling it. :)

Jose

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:38 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
The Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition offers a decent definition of "nausea" (actually its second definition):
2. a nursing diagnosis accepted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as an unpleasant, wavelike sensation in the back of the throat or epigastrium, or throughout the abdomen, that may or may not lead to vomiting.

Nausea is strongly associated with vomiting and is caused by the same nerves, but either can happen without the other. The idea that you aren't "nauseous" unless you are actively vomiting is false. The original contention over the meaning of "nauseous" was whether it should be synonymous with "nauseating" (i.e. causing others to feel sick) or "nauseated" (i.e. feeling sick yourself). The former is the older usage and the latter the more popular usage today.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:01 pm UTC
by Vroomfundel
xtifr wrote:
ancientt wrote:This phrase drives me a little bonkers. It isn't that someone is using it wrong that bothers me. What bothers me is that when I hear someone use it incorrectly, I instantly think them a little less intelligent.


Interesting. In my case, it's a complaint about the supposed "misuse" that make me think someone is a little less intelligent than I might otherwise have thought them.

To each their own, I suppose. ;)


Stubborn, unreasonable, misguided, maybe even contemptible - but less intelligent? That's an odd criterion to use to appraise people's intelligence.

I'm with ancientt on this. I feel really disappointed when a supposed luminary misuses this. Yeah, I get the other side's arguments about changing usage and that we should let people speak the way they feel like and we shouldn't complain if we managed to eventually figure out what they mean but come on, that's important virtue signaling to establish one's authority in the in-group; when communicating you should be concerned not only with the audience's ability to decipher what you mean but also how you come across and how trustworthy you appear. I mean, come one, how could you expect me to take someone seriously when they haven't read the list of logical fallacies?

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:04 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
Actually, the obsession with named logical fallacies is way more troubling than any particular linguistic pet peeve. I see some arguments online consist solely of trying to name the fallacies used by the opponent and suggesting they "look it up."

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:07 pm UTC
by ucim
Eebster the Great wrote:I see some arguments online consist solely of trying to name the fallacies used by the opponent and suggesting they "look it up."
Nah, that's just the fallacy of nomen nomina. Check it out - it's a thing. Don't feel bad; lots of people fall for it.

Jose

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:00 am UTC
by GlassHouses
Eebster the Great wrote:Actually, the obsession with named logical fallacies is way more troubling than any particular linguistic pet peeve. I see some arguments online consist solely of trying to name the fallacies used by the opponent and suggesting they "look it up."

Oh god yes. In particular, I cringe every time I hear someone point out "whataboutism" and then act like they've won the argument, while in actual fact they've apparently just given up.

Person A: "Politician X of Party P did some bad thing!"
Person B: "What about Politician Y of Party Q, he did a similarly bad thing."
Person A: "That's whataboutism. I win!"

while what really happens is

Person A: "Politician X of Party P did some bad thing! Of course politicians of Party Q are above such things, so you should definitely vote for the Party Q candidate."
Person B: "What about Politician Y of Party Q, he did a similarly bad thing. Clearly your proof of the moral superiority of Party Q is false, and your consequent recommendation to always vote for Party Q is without any merit that you've demonstrated."
Person A: "Um."

Ad hominem is not necessarily a logical flaw. It can be very to the point.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:23 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
In the context of a class on informal logic, where it makes sense to draw these sorts of distinctions, an argumentum ad hominem is a fallacy that consists of attacking the character of the person making an argument as a justification for rejecting the argument itself. In an election, you aren't voting for an argument, but directly for a person, so it doesn't really apply.

Re: 2039: "Begging the Question"

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:12 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
GlassHouses wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:Actually, the obsession with named logical fallacies is way more troubling than any particular linguistic pet peeve. I see some arguments online consist solely of trying to name the fallacies used by the opponent and suggesting they "look it up."

Oh god yes. In particular, I cringe every time I hear someone point out "whataboutism" and then act like they've won the argument, while in actual fact they've apparently just given up.

Person A: "Politician X of Party P did some bad thing!"
Person B: "What about Politician Y of Party Q, he did a similarly bad thing."
Person A: "That's whataboutism. I win!"

while what really happens is

Person A: "Politician X of Party P did some bad thing! Of course politicians of Party Q are above such things, so you should definitely vote for the Party Q candidate."
Person B: "What about Politician Y of Party Q, he did a similarly bad thing. Clearly your proof of the moral superiority of Party Q is false, and your consequent recommendation to always vote for Party Q is without any merit that you've demonstrated."
Person A: "Um."

In my experience, that's sometimes what really happens when person B is a leftist criticizing a Democrat for overlooking bad things Dem leadership has done.

However, when person B is a centrist, you often get something more like:
Person A: "Politician X of Party P did some bad thing!"
Person B: "What about Politician Y of Party Q, he did a similarly bad thing. Therefore you can't criticize Politician X unless you were every bit as critical of Politician Y (and unless I know about it even though I wasn't paying attention either at that time)."
Person A: "That's whataboutism, and this discussion is about Politician X, not Politician Y."