Playing With: Appeal To Worse Problems
: A fallacy
wherein one argues that being concerned over one issue means you don't care about some relatively larger issue.
- Straight: When Sharon complains about not being able to find the perfect prom dress, her mother Shannon asks why she isn't more interested in helping to clothe the homeless and destitute instead.
- Sharon eats some of her vegetables, but stops before clearing her plate, prompting an immediate "There are children starving in Africa!"
- Sharon lives in a crummy apartment with cracked walls, no heating and electricity that goes out a few times each week, that she must pay the rather high rent for with her minimum-wage job. When Sharon complains about her living conditions, she is told that her apartment and job are actually luxurious because children in Africa have it worse.
- Downplayed: ???
- Sharon really is whining over some extremely minor issue.
- Shannon is rather self-righteous and quick to criticize using this trope.
- Sharon concerns herself only with the plight of others, ignoring her own problems, leading Alice to try and convince her to focus on sorting her own issues out, no matter how small they seem in comparison.
- Sharon is worried about the starving children in Ruritania, and Bob responds "How can you talk about that when we're running low on nachos!"
- Sharon tells Shannon that she is graduating from college only for Shannon to tell her that she shouldn't be happy about that because other people have it better than her.
- When Shannon asks why Sharon isn't more interested in clothing the homeless rather than thinking of herself, Sharon indignantly retorts that she donated a whole load of her clothes to the local homeless shelter that morning, and that just because there are serious problems in the world doesn't mean she's not entitled to consider her minor problems as well.
- It turns out that Shannon does not have the money, because she donated it to Africa.
- Double Subverted:
- Upon hearing that Sharon donated her clothes to a local homeless shelter, Shannon begins to criticise her for not considering people suffering in Africa instead.
- Alternatively, Shannon leaves satisfied, and it is revealed that Sharon did no such thing - she only said that to stop Shannon's criticism.
- Parodied: While Shannon is working, she leaves her children in the care of a robot who responds to everything with a pre-programmed phrase among these lines.
- Zig Zagged: Shannon appeals to worse problems in all arguments. Sharon challenges her to explain why it's relevant, and Shannon surprisingly gives some very good reasons in at least one case. Then later she complains that Shannon is getting distracted by the big issues and should concentrate on her own personal issues, again for no reason other than the writers wanted her to say such a thing. Then Shannon starts indulging in the fallacy all over again.
- Averted: Sharon complains about the inability to find a perfect prom dress. Shannon focuses on that issue without bringing anything up.
- Enforced: The writers said: "We can have Sharon get over her own self-centeredness by having someone else point out the plight of others."
- Lampshaded: Sharon said: "isn't it weird how Shannon keeps going on about those starving kids in some country I've never heard of, about a problem I have no idea how to tackle, and accuses me of not doing enough when I haven't seen her so much as send a quarter to charity? Meh."
- Invoked: Shannon is losing the argument, then thinks: "Aha! This will stump her!"
- Exploited: ???
- Defied: Sharon said: "Yes, Shannon, I know what you're going to say, but it's got nothing to do with this, so don't say it."
- Discussed: Sharon said: "You know, just because I have problems and I mention them, it doesn't mean I'm not aware of others' problems."
- Conversed: Sharon watches someone on TV appeal to worse problems and muttered: "Worse? How could it be worse?"
- Constantly hearing that her own problems are insignificant compared to others' takes its emotional toll on Sharon, leading her to believe that nothing wrong with her is significant. She later develops several medical problems and starves to death, but doesn't see it coming because she doesn't view it as important enough to deal with.
- Altenatively, Sharon then confronts Shannon about how to address the bigger problem, only for Shannon to admit that she actually has no idea how to start.
- Sharon channels that energy into a lifetime of community service, eventually telling Shannon off later in life with a "yeah, there are worse problems...and I'm doing something about it, unlike you".
- Shannon realizes that, not everyone has the same emotional/mental tolerance, and acknowledges that every now and then, Sharon has a right to complain, and learns to respect and address that. Sharon, on the other hand, grows in her perseverance and her selflessness, and actively channels herself in doing charity work. Both happily appreciates each other as good mentors, inspiring the family's grandchildren.
- Plotted A Good Waste: Shannon's over-reliance on these fallacies is meant to illustrate the disconnect between her and her daughter.
- Played For Laughs: Shannon replies with these so often that Sharon is able to finish the thought alongside her, word for word, rolling her eyes at the tired old cliche.
- Played For Drama: Shannon's insistent self-righteousness and over-reliance on this trope ends up giving Sharon a complex, in that she is led to believe that even her serious problems are insignificant.
You want a link back to Appeal To Worse Problems
? Why are you concerned about that when there are poor, disease-ridden children starving in Africa?