Well, with that lady, I just told her bluntly that I was a fan of tall buildings, and that she wasn't going to change my mind, no matter what she said. That did the job and shut her up. And the rock she griped about? It makes feeding our current urban sprawl situation a lot harder, when city services have to be extended out ever further, which means LOTS of digging for sewer, water mains, gas lines, and so on. Even in our little city of 300,000 urban sprawl is really starting to hurt. We're really feeling the effects of traffic congestion on the roads into the city, the city is complaining about the difficulties of extending services out to all these outlying developments, but even still- mention putting a tall building up downtown and people lose their spit over it, like this city's supposed to be kept as some kind of hermetically sealed heritage snowglobe- a pretty thing for tourists to play with and look at.
I remember wanting to reach through a newspaper and slap a New York Times travel writer who visited my hometown, and groused about the high rise buildings we DO have, how they messed with the old stuff that the writer liked more. I wanted to say "Hello, you're in a working city, not a living history village! And you're in the financial district, what did you think we were going to have down there? You want quaint little towns, we've got a lot of them here, but this city isn't one of them!
(An aside- not all skyscrapers come across as hard and imposing to me- I remember encountering one in downtown Toronto that to me, came across as downright cute. Although I suppose anything might come across as cute and diminutive when it's sitting near the CN Tower
Unless its name is Burj Khalifa, that is
Yeah, not all people have to like all things, which is why I didn't get offended when she said she didn't like Star Wars. It was when she started going on about how it was made by people with sick minds that I did get offended. There's a LOT of very talented people who've worked to bring that universe to life- writers, actors, artists, costume designers, the list goes on. To write them all off in one fell swoop as "sick minds" is just so colossally ignorant that I don't even have words.
And I agree with Traska about how to deal with bigots- I remember reading a great story about a Native American woman at a Pow-Wow who did just that. She encountered a group of girls from a local college dressed in Pocahontas-style faux fringe-wear. She felt that pseudo-Native costumes like that were offensive and inappropriate, so she went up to that group of girls to talk to them. She didn't go all out on the attack, calling them names or suggesting that their ignorance made them worse than the outright bigots. (I've heard some people in the PC and anti Racism movements say that) She just went up, introduced herself and talked to them, explaining WHY their outfits were not appropriate, that a good many Native Americans find "faux indian" dress offensive, among other things. She then suggested they all talk to a Native elder who was present- he would be willing to enlighten them further. Really, those girls were not trying to be hurtful, the clothes were a misguided attempt to fit in. And by speaking to those girls with civility, she made an impression- they seemed to have learned something. Had she come out with guns blazing, screaming about what racist trolls they were, I suspect they would have gone on the defensive, and her words would have had far less of an impact.