Monday, March 01, 2004

Echoes in the broader world

Haiku recipe for political rickets (not sure the link is still good):
bring discourse to boil
strain substance and set aside
garnish with discord
Slacktivist on schoolhouse logic:
...Mikey, one of your students, comes running into your office, visibly upset. You ask him what's the matter.

Mikey tells you that one of the other students, George, beat up his little sister as part of a racket in which he's been stealing lunch money from the first graders.

"I hate that guy," Mikey says, looking like he means it. "He oughtta be expelled."

So you send Mikey back to class and you call George into your office to confront him point blank about the accusations.

"Who told you that?" George asks, "Mikey? You can't trust what he says about me. He hates me. He thinks I oughtta be expelled."
If you're a good principal, you'll realize that you can't sort this out sitting at your desk pondering abstractions and getting "balanced" quotes from both sides to ensure fairness. The issue is not who said what, but the substance of the charges.
From Nate over at Dan Gillmor's -
It's a common dishonest argumentative technique, used by all sides in all contexts when you don't have an answer for the key issues, to pick on small errors on the edges while ignoring the elephant in the middle.

That's what the anti-[X] crowd is doing. Unable to face up to the [elephant], they are reduced to waving their hands and saying, "Oooh, look at this error over here."
I've seen this technique used over and over again. The most effective rebuttal is either to ...keep on pounding away with facts ... or confront...with variations of, "Yes, but you ignored the main point of the article. Please respond to that."
From Busy Busy Busy, the Shorter Charles Krauthammer on The Democrats' Smear Race:
Democrats ruthlessly critique Mr. Bush's policies and actions, making him look bad, yet they say Republicans are mean!
Name that religion -
Andrew Sullivan shares the spiritual teachings of Mel Gibson
(and, speaking of spiritual teachings...)

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