Unkillable Lies, Ad Hominems and It’s All About Me

Unkillable Lies

“Hollywood lives and breathes on the narrative that young men drive the box office.  That is just not true. There were 4.2 million 18-24 year old female frequent filmgoers compared to 3.3 million male frequent filmgoers.  Now clearly young women are going to the male centric movies because those dominate the theatres, but keep in mind that three out of the top ten grossing films of 2010 (Alice in Wonderland, Twilight Eclipse and Tangled), had a female at the center of the story.  (http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood)

In The New Republic today, Todd Gitlin writes an entire anti-WikiLeaks column that is based on an absolute factual falsehood.  Anyone listening to most media accounts would believe that WikiLeaks has indiscriminately published all 250,000 of the diplomatic cables it possesses, and Gitlin — in the course of denouncing Julian Assange — bolsters this falsehood:  “Wikileaks’s huge data dump, including the names of agents and recent diplomatic cables, is indiscriminate” and Assange is “fighting for a world of total transparency.”

The reality is the exact opposite — literally — of what Gitlin told TNRreaders.  WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has.  Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYTEl PaisLe MondeDer Speigel, etc.).  Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm.  (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/07/wikileaks)

Left, right or center, we are knee deep in a season of unkillable lies.  Proving once again, the rhetorical power of repetition and the all vanquishing power of pride.  When the term “reality based community” popped up last decade, I thought it was ridiculous.  The full quote is attributed to a Pres. George W. Bush aide:

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

I no longer think the term is ridiculous. Our willingness as Americans to believe wacked out things  is nothing short of astounding.  But this utter refusal to believe things that have conclusively been proven to be untrue?  Now that is the pluck de la pluck, for sure.

Ad Hominems

Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attempting to undermine a speaker’s argument by attacking the speaker instead of addressing the argument. The mere presence of a personal attack does not indicate ad hominem: the attack must be used for the purpose of undermining the argument, or otherwise the logical fallacy isn’t there. It is not a logical fallacy to attack someone; the fallacy comes from assuming that a personal attack is also necessarily an attack on that person’s arguments.

Blame this on ADHD?  Tabloid culture?

I think it’s related to two easy fixes:

1.  Never attack a man’s motive.  Question his judgment but not his motive.

2.  Stay focused.

It’s All About Me

I was talking to another woman whom I rarely see. She mentioned that I had lost weight.  I cringed and waited for the inevitable …

“You make me feel bad.”

There is a strange narcissism afoot.

When I decide to work instead of stay at home, I’m making a choice not commenting on your lifestyle.

If I go to NASCAR and  you go to the opera, that doesn’t make you an effete snob.

The truth?  Most people are deeply and profoundly involved in their own dramas and don’t give a damn about you – not really. You might be a hot topic for a minute but they will quickly move on.



About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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