Public Domain (with edits)
It all started in his Intro to American Politics class. A future political science major, Fred Wilkins (C '20) was really in his element. And as much as he enjoyed the lectures, he looked forward to the recitations even more. Wilkins' TA would allow the class to have open discussion about the week’s lecture and reading material. Previously a shy kid in high school, Wilkins found himself thriving in the discussions, raising excellent points and taking advantage of weaknesses in other people’s arguments— just like every other freshman at Penn. He was able to speak for both sides regarding every issue, even when he actually had an opinion. Two weeks into the semester, he even caught the eye of a cute girl in the recitation, and they would have intelligent conversations about the material after class. Everything was going wonderfully, but like all good things, it couldn’t last.
One Thursday at 9:30 AM, Wilkins thought of a brilliant argument against one of his classmate’s points. When the other student finished his thoughts, Wilkins began, “I hate to be the devil’s avocado, but your argument is flawed.”
The class immediately erupted into laughter, forcing Wilkins to stop in the middle of his train of thought. “What, you guys have never heard that expression? It’s just, like, sharing an opposing view to an argument, even if you don't actually believe it,” he explained smartly. “People where I’m from use it all the time.”Read the Full Article