My husband is the youngest of seven brothers (no sisters). He grew up watching - and eventually contributing to - regular polite arguments. There is no hitting, swearing, or even yelling. They just sit around the dining room table and all talk at once, each trying to impress the others with his repartee, perspicacity, and rhetoric. (In other words, hot air.)
Frequently several of them may be arguing a position which they don't actually believe, just to have a different take on it than their brothers, and contribute to the general chaos.
I hate it. All of the sisters-in-law do. We go do something else.
My husband used to pull it on me. He doesn't anymore. I just won't contribute to it. Other marriages in the family have been broken up over it.
I have absolutely no use for argument just for the sake of being clever. Deliberately misreading someone's intent for the sheer joy of pulling apart the words. Let's call such a motive 'rhetoric'. That isn't quite the connotation of the word, but it's close enough.
I talk with people only to understand their viewpoints and to air my own. In my world, an ideal conversation is one in which each party learns something.
I have no use for rhetoric; I have other things to do with my life. It does not lead to new understandings. It is divisive rather than cohesive.
Someone (anonymous) wrote the following comment:
Mother writes: "if you're arguing with people who do not choose to see"
Wow, some people are just plain stupid, aren't they?
Praise the Lord we have people like you to explain things to us.
Why on earth didn't I see this before?
This is not clever. This sheds no light on anything. It is being picayune for the sake of argument. Taking a truism and refusing to give it the traditional meaning, taking it out of context, just to appear witty. Talking to hear oneself talk. In other words (in the above definition), rhetoric.
In the School of Logic it would be called a Fallacy - an argument which appears to address the point, but in fact avoids it.
Rhetoric or Fallacy, I have no more interest in engaging in it online than I have with my husband's family.