Legend has it that those who kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland, are blessed with the gift of eloquence. (Hey, it’s St. Patrick’s Day; go with me here.)
You won’t see this Arkansas girl kissing it, though, because, for one thing, you’re supposed to lean backwards from the parapet walk to kiss it while upside down. My vertigo would have a field day with that. Plus, we’re still in a pandemic and other people have kissed it. Ew! (An aside: Kissing the stone was banned for a few months last year when the pandemic began, but reopened later in the year with new procedures.)
Besides that, while “blarney” once meant something along the lines of eloquent speaking, it’s now regarded more as, as Merriam-Webster’s defines it, “nonsense, humbug.” The dictionary writes: “One story claims the word blarney gained popularity as a word for flattery after Queen Elizabeth I of England used it to describe the flowery (but apparently less than honest) cajolery of McCarthy Mor, who was then the lord of Blarney Castle.”
Not that I couldn’t use some help in the eloquent-speaking category, as I’ve long had a stammer that comes out when I’m nervous, agitated and/or among strangers, which is why I prefer writing.
But all the Blarney Stone kissing in the world isn’t enough to make up for a lack of logic, and flattery will get you nowhere with cynical little ol’ me. And bullying (she says to the idiot who’s been trying that)? Ha! Do you really want to mess with the little sister whose in-born stubbornness has been honed by dealing with three older brothers who once used her teddy bear as a football and left him out in the rain? Yeah, I’m still a little ticked off about that.
Last week I talked about things that hadn’t happened despite the doomsayers. This week, it’s all about logical fallacies.
👺 Well, it’s obviously bias!
I often see the argument that there must be a bias in academia against conservatives because there are relatively few conservatives there. Assuming there’s a bias is false cause.
What about all the people who are discouraged from seeking higher education that would get them those jobs (sometimes because their parents are afraid their kids won’t be able to resist liberal indoctrination)? What about those who have no interest in pursuing a career in education? Is it possible that it’s a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
If your only interest as far as your career goes is advancing the cause of your personal politics, you might not last long … except in politics. Do what you do well and that makes you happy.
By the same token, expecting letters to the editor to follow the same ideological lines as the last presidential election doesn’t take into consideration that liberals and moderates are more likely to both write letters and to write letters that hew to the rules set out for everybody (meaning, for example, no name-calling specific private citizens, making sure opinion is clear and that statements of fact are actually factual and/or attributed to the source, and staying within the word limit). I’ve seen letters editors all over the country say the same things I have. If you want more conservative letters in the paper, write them, follow the rules, and don’t harass opinion editors if you couldn’t do those simple things.
Ditch the quota mentality. It’s whiny and annoying, and frankly, completely out of touch with reality. The “liberal” and “conservative” labels are misleading anyway, and assume that everything is a static either/or. Consider Occam’s Razor. Maybe liberals are more attracted to occupations like teaching, writing and science and conservatives tend toward more corporate endeavors. Perhaps more girls would head down the STEAM path and more boys would dream of being a teacher or a chef or a dancer if following their own dreams and abilities were more encouraged when they were in grade school, instead of adhering to old gendered beliefs. Trying to create an artificial balance of genders, ethnicities, political affiliations, etc., is just setting people up for a lifetime of disappointment, failure and mental distress. We don’t need equality of outcome, but equality of opportunity. What we do with it is up to us, but we have to have it first.
🦧 Comparing apples to orangutans, or cyborgs, or anything else that isn’t an apple.
Let’s say you’re comparing election returns in separate years. To do that, the points of comparison should be the same, not one result taken while the count was ongoing and the other a certified result. You would need to compare the same precincts as well, not city-only-precinct votes in one, and city-and-exurb-precinct votes in the other. Otherwise, the comparison is meaningless.
Or compare the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol with last summer’s protests if you want a real workout in false equivalence and weak analogies. The Black Lives Matter protests over the deaths of George Floyd and others were largely peaceful, though there was isolated violence. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 10,600 demonstrations that took place between May 26 and Aug. 22. “Over 10,100 of these—or nearly 95 percent—involve peaceful protesters. Fewer than 570—or approximately 5 percent—involve demonstrators engaging in violence,” the group wrote. “Well over 80 percent of all demonstrations are connected to the Black Lives Matter movement or the COVID-19 pandemic. “
ACLED noted of the estimated 7,750 BLM protests: “In more than 93 percent of all demonstrations connected to the movement, demonstrators have not engaged in violence or destructive activity. Peaceful protests are reported in over 2,400 distinct locations around the country. Violent demonstrations, meanwhile, have been limited to fewer than 220 locations … . In many urban areas like Portland, Oregon, for example, which has seen sustained unrest since Floyd’s killing, violent demonstrations are largely confined to specific blocks, rather than dispersed throughout the city. Yet, despite data indicating that demonstrations associated with the BLM movement are overwhelmingly peaceful, one recent poll suggested that 42 percent of respondents believe ‘most protesters [associated with the BLM movement] are trying to incite violence or destroy property’. …
“Research from the University of Washington indicates that this disparity stems from political orientation and biased media framing, such as disproportionate coverage of violent demonstrations. Groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have documented organized disinformation campaigns aimed at spreading a ‘deliberate mischaracterization of groups or movements [involved in the protests], such as portraying activists who support Black Lives Matter as violent extremists or claiming that Antifa is a terrorist organization coordinated or manipulated by nebulous external forces’.”
Media and political spin placed the emphasis on the violence at those protests, as it also did Jan. 6. However, those who breached and over-ran the Capitol were beating officers, vandalizing, looting, and erecting a gallows outside the building; violence seemed to be the point, just as it was for those armed invaders at the Michigan Capitol, and those who threatened the life of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others over the state’s lockdown order.
The intent is maybe the biggest difference. BLM planned peaceful protests based on calls for justice for a man killed on camera; the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection was based on the lie that a free and fair election was stolen, and violence was planned against our very seat of government. Despite the fact that much of the planning was done on public sites like Parler and TheDonald.win and the FBI issued alerts to the probability of violence as the electoral votes were counted, there seemed to be little preparation on the part of the D.C. and Capitol Police.
Whatever the reason, once violence and property damage enter the picture, it’s wrong, no matter what side you’re on, and those responsible should be held accountable.
👯♀️ They’re all the same!
Closely related to false equivalence is hasty generalization, which basically means making broad assumptions based on a small fragment of the whole. The parties aren’t their fringes, though the fringes have gotten bolder. I would venture to say that most Democrats and Republicans are moderates, as are independents like me, but the fringes are loud and get more attention.
Because, you know, competence and coherence are boring. Craziness and volume, though … woo hoo! Bring on the Q!
But, sure, keep making those claims that all Republicans or Democrats are evil/smelly/etc. It’s a really convincing argument.
I’ll end with one of my favorites (read: most annoying):
☄️ If you do A, B (usually something completely insane) will be right behind, and the world will end!!! (Did I use enough exclamation points??? 😉)
Ahhh, the slippery slope. By its logic, allowing same-sex civil unions, then same-sex marriage, would result in quick course in being able to marry your dog. It’s ludicrous to pose that possibility (the sheer number of things that would have to happen beforehand is astronomical, for one thing), and yet this argument was actually made.
Look, while I’m sure your dog is a great companion, a dog is not marriage material. Who wants a spouse who drinks out of the toilet?
If you do, please unfriend me. Or at least never invite me to your house. (Oh, and click on that last link. You’ll thank me.)