Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Connexus of Assholish Rhetoric.

Oh noes! A critique of something you've posted or an argument that you have a partisan / ideological commitment to oppose! Don't panic. This handy blogging guide will provide you with a myriad of rhetorical devices to get around this cyber-threat to your ego.
  • Put your words in their mouth. Don't bother with elitist concepts like actual reductio analysis. That takes effort and consideration to accurately and honestly summarize the logical implications of a position or argument. Besides, the more absurd or outrageous the dishonest misrepresentation of your critic's position, the better. Phrases like "So what you're saying is..." and "In other words..." are quite handy, especially if you follow them with something completely different than what your critic has actually said. You can never go wrong by betting on your audience's ignorance or lazy unwillingness to verify your claim. Bonus points awarded for accusing others of "dishonesty" when they point out the strawman slaying that's occurring.

  • Look! Over there! Something that they haven't condemned! You'd be surprised how many bloggers (by virtue of their lack-of-post-or-response) support Genghis Khan. Absence of proof is proof of absence, and a vacuum begs the assignment of attributes of convenience. The sillier you can make the accusation, the more of a conundrum it will present to your critic: Will they deny it, and divert discussion away from the topic to whether or not the accusation you've made is accurate, or will they let it stand without refutation, presenting you with a "didn't deny it" prize to parade around in the future? Either way, you win!

  • Isn't there something that someone else belonging to some nebulous entity that you invent out of whole cloth (hey, they all look alike, don't they?) has posted in the past that you can misrepresent/cite out of context to hold your critic accountable for? No one will ever even notice that you're no longer addressing the the point they raised!

  • There's no better time to resurrect past blogging grievances than now. It doesn't matter if your critic was involved or not. Why not let your contempt for your audience's intellect show by tossing that bright, shiny object with the expectation that they'll chase it away from the topic or critique at hand?.

  • Phrases like "Oh my lord", "good lord", and "good fucking god" are your friends. Combined with ALL CAPS and ellipses... after... each... word, they are devastatingly effective argument winners and indicative of a superior intellect.

  • Misrepresent sarcasm, mockery, or snark for actual position. No one's ever going to bother to check the original context, especially in the face of repeated assertion. If your critic objects, simply duplicate the misrepresentation in response... You'll always be one up on them!

  • If asked for specific citations or actual data, don't ever, ever comply! Data, page numbers, and proper quotation attribution are your enemy. Instead, accuse the person making the request of being a liar or dishonest. Burden-of-proof-shift FTW! Primary school children may not even catch on to what you're doing!

  • Wrap your position with an authority that overwhelmingly disagrees with it, then attack those that object to your position as being at odds with that authority. This might seem at face value to be problematic, but remember, strong, intelligent individuals bend authorities like science, jurisprudence and political studies to their will rather than submit to their "alleged" expertise.

  • If all else fails, try to shift discussion away from what your critic is saying to whether or not they can say it.

Repeat combinations of the above as often as possible. Distractions repeated are distractions with traction!

EDIT: I really ought to have done this sooner, but big blogging thanks to Canadian Cynic for the attention and the traffic.


Mike said...

Yep.. that's about right...very well captured Audrey...

Patrick Ross said...

Heh. Mike, you worthless sack of cowardly garbage.

Still licking your wounds over that last ass-kicking I gave you? Or are you pouting because I won't tolerate you lying about me anymore?

Do yourself a favour and fuck off. Or you can be a defendant in a libel suit right now. Seriously. Try me, you worthless motherfucker.

What I find more amusing is the Audrey II guide to debate:

1. Be as intentionally dishonest as humanly possible. Put your words in their mouth.

2. Refuse to acknowledge the implications of your own arguments. For example, if you argue that someone who criticizes a judge's verdict in a sexual assault case hates western justice, refuse to acknowledge that your argument is itself a strawman argument, and refuse to admit that it demands that a judge's decision be treated as above reproach under any circumstances, even in circumstances in which the standard of evidence presented in a case is deemed to be supportive enough of the accused's guilt to merit mention of the accused's probable guilt in the written verdict.

3. Insist on a double-standard. If one of your ideological compatriots applies extremely dubious reasoning in order to slander a blogging rival, refuse, under any circumstances, to denounce it. Instead, cry a river when someone applies that standard to you -- even as you prove yourself too stupid to understand what's actually going on.

4. Assume a character of extreme arrogance, regardless of whether or not the merits of your argument warrant it or not.

5. Reduce the topic of argument as much as possible, and do everything you can to confine it to ideologically-defined boundaries -- are there are numerous ways to resolve conflicts between Parliamentary democracy and demands that governments be selected according to the results of an election? Damn. That simply won't do. Insist that there aren't -- no matter what.

6. Whenever possible, lie. (It's OK when we do it, right Mike?)

7. When you still lose, spend two weeks away from the blogosphere licking your wounds and crying about it.

Yep. That's all Audrey. No question.

Audrey II said...

Gotta love it when some can't help resist the impulse to continue to illustrate the above proposition, even in response to it. It's almost as though there are a handful of people out there that can't help themselves / don't know any better.

"Too stupid to understand what's going on", indeed.

Zorpheous said...

I think you struck a nerve Audrey

Patrick Ross said...

That's right, Audrey. Keep talking.

Keep moping about that outlandish losing streak you have going.

Because that really bothers me. Right.

CC said...

There's so much crunchy, wingnutty goodness that can be added to the list above, so let's get started.

* In order to maintain the fiction that you have actual readers and that they support you, invent a sock puppet. Give it a suitably racist name, like "mahmood," and have it fawningly agree with everything you say, no matter how mind-numbingly inane. Which leads us smoothly into ...

* In a display of hilarious irony, accuse your detractors of having sock puppets. Bonus points if you invent an appropriate name for said puppets like, oh, the Sycophantic Temple of Consolidated Groupthink. Use this fabricated name over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over until it has long since used up whatever minimal entertainment value it might have had. But have your sock puppet think it's hysterically funny each and every time.

* Leave comment after comment after comment after comment after comment, telling everyone how little you care about what they think and how it doesn't bother you at all. If they call you on this logical inconsistency, leave another comment.

* Be unfunny. Seriously, be as unfunny as it is humanly possible to be so that, while others are demonstrating their urbane and sophisticated wit, your comebacks rarely rise above the level of, "Oh, yeah, well you suck and your momma!" Mistake vulgar brevity for wit.

* Threaten people. When someone nails you with a wickedly funny zinger and gives you the bloggy towel-snap of the ages in front of the reading audience, don't try to respond in kind because that would take, you know, creativity and humour.

Instead, threaten them with, oh, legal action, completely ignoring that someone referring to you as a sophomoric, mullet-headed douchebag and loser is not legally actionable. But don't stop there. Make it clear that, if people don't stop picking on you, you're willing to trace them to their home and beat their children to death with a tire iron. That should shut them up.

If they don't have kids, threaten to kill their pets.

* Most of all (and I repeat myself), be unfunny. Totally, utterly, cripplingly, mind-numbingly, thigh-suckingly unfunny. Because funny takes work and you have better things to do.

Sparky said...

Act all big and macho--"Look at the ass-kicking I gave you" 'cause that's always worked on these here intertoobs

Audrey II said...

Y'all are just too stupid to realize that you've had your asses kicked or to understand the difference between the repeated references to ass-kicking/you losing and the kind of tuff-guy, chest-thumping bluster you might hear at elementary school playgrounds.

CC said...

Let me toss in one more:

* You are an authority. On everything. It doesn't matter if the topic is politics, philosophy, economics, biological evolution, metaphysical epistemology or the history and cultural relativism of rap music in 20th-century America, you are totally capable of crushing every intellectual opponent underfoot using the irresistible force of your undergraduate courses in sociology.

There is nothing you don't know. Nothing.

M@ said...

You guys forgot one -- declare some sort of "victory" every third comment or so. Do not attempt to define what you mean by "victory" -- and take every response to your assertion as further proof of its correctness.

Dr.Dawg said...

A couple more, not necessarily directed at any one wingnut:

* If their position hovers between two extremes, and they have beaten back accusations of supporting one of them, attack them for not supporting the other one. [I believe this is called "the fallacy of the false dilemma."] So, OK, you don't support censorship of everything and everyone, so therefore you support unfettered speech for Nazis and other hate-mongers. What, you don't? Goalpost-shifter! Hypocrite!

* Refuse to engage when the other person raises a valid question or point too difficult to deal with. A good example of this could be found at Teh Burning Pussy's place the other day. Seems Frank Klees wants to abolish Sn.13 of the Human Rights Act, but he seems to have gotten the Ontario and federal acts confused. Big City Lib pointed this out, couldn't get traction, tried again. Pussy: "Still fishing? Give it up."

* Any dissident voice in our splendid echo-chamber is to be called a "troll," without exception. FO and leave us to our circle-jerk, leftards.

* Don't use direct ad hominem: the audience is getting smarter. Use indirect ad hominem instead. "I see you have CC on your blogroll, and he said something anti-Semitic." This places the interloper in an impossible position: either he'll veer off course to defend his comrade-in-arms against a slur, or ignore this gambit, which you must immediately follow up with, "So you don't oppose anti-Semitism?"

* Always quote your opponents out of context. Within the confines of a combox, they will never be able to restore it.

* If you have been drubbed, call them names. "Poopy-head" and variants thereof will be admired by your fellows, and they will regard this ploy with applause.

* If all else fails, and the trolls continue to make valid points and raise challenging questions, delete their comments. Or just ban them outright.

Sorry I couldn't make this funnier, but we aren't really talking about something amusing, are we?

CC said...

You won't find a better evisceration than this

Gene Rayburn said...

Has anyone told Patrick Ross that you can't file a libel suit in Canada unless you have first sent a libel notice and the request for retraction has been refused? Let me give you an example:

Patrick Ross had sex with a dog on my front lawn last night.

Im not taking that back until I get a libel notice.

So there Twatsy!

Dr.Dawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr.Dawg said...

Aw, the poor dog!

CC: Yup. Usenet and wingnut comboxes condensed into a black hole from which no light can escape.

deBeauxOs said...

Brilliant, Audrey II

Zorpheous said...

are guys still snapping towels at Paddy-boys nads? Jebus! This is painful to watch,... But I'm still watching.

Southern Quebec said...

Zorpheous: it's not a big target -- takes a while.

Don't forget patriotism! If you don't agree with them YOU.HATE.CANADA.

Audrey II said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments, additions, and links! Keep the good stuff coming!

I'd especially like to thank the Iraqi Information Minister for his multiple replies to this post. It's good to know that years after the invasion, he's still declaring his victories by fiat, trumpeting the all the times he's "laid down the party" on others, issuing hollow and empty threats, and engaging in other blissfully self-unaware nonsense. Oh, al-Sahhaf... what would we do without the humour you provide?

the rev. paperboy said...

tried post earlier by it got eated by the intertoobz...
I really really have to stop reading this stuff at work, because seeing a grown man in his 40 and grey in his beard having an uncontrollable fit of the giggles is really undermining my professional gravitas. Please, please tell me that post number two is actually a clever sock-puppet job by PSA or someone, because if that is Patsy, he really has lost it. The projection is stupefying.

Dr.Dawg said...

More breath-stopping irony, this time from far-right "Binky" (be sure to follow the links):

KEvron said...

* get your sister to fight your battles for you.


Mike said...

Jesus, Patrick must be lonely...he just can't stop over at my place even though I simply stopped responding to him a few days ago.

He's like a little boy who took a shit in the pool and then declares he's the fastest swimmer because no one else is in the water with him...

CC said...

POSTSCRIPT: The fact that Twatsy hasn't been back here since June 6 proves conclusively that I KICKED HIS SORRY ASS AND HE'S TOO SCARED TO TAKE ME ON!!!!!

That's the way it works, right, Twats? I'm pretty sure somebody told me that's the way it works.

Twatsy said...


Anonymous said...

One more (courtesy of Andy Schlafly):
Scour your opponent's writing for the slightest bit of bad grammar, or a misspelled word. Highlight this error gleefully, claiming something like, 'Because you can't spell "inconsequential" you have lost all credibility and thus your arguement is null and void. Godspeed."

(For extra irony, make sure to include a spelling error in your own reply)

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