The famous Expert comedy sketch illustrates the scapegoat mechanism in play

If you have not already seen the famous 'Expert' comedy sketch, you're in for a treat. It's had 26 million views so far, so maybe you already know it.

The sketch illustrates in a very funny way how badly an expert can be treated by a team of non-experts who all depend on his expert knowledge, but argue with him and tell him he must be wrong time after time. Basically, he's the expert... and yet nobody listens to him.

It gets funnier as it continues because the viewer can obviously see that everything he says is perfectly reasonable, yet nothing he says or does is acceptible to the others, and layer after layer of complication happens because nobody can hear what he's saying. While watching this I was struck by how well it illustrates another idea: the scapegoat mechanism.

The expert in this bit is playing the role of the scapegoat. Everything he says is completely ignored. This is what happens when you're the scapegoat. Even when you say things that are perfectly reasonable, no one can hear you.

The saddest part of this role is that everything he's saying is being held against him, as if he were a liar, when the truth is everyone else is various degrees of lying or simply confused. Not only is he being ignored, but each word he says is being used as evidence against him.

This sketch so perfectly illustrates the dilemma faced by the scapegoat, I'll be pointing people to it for years to come, as the more people understand this dynamic, the less it can happen.


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