12.03.2005

Oh, Christopher

It’s sort of embarrassing to admit that I used to be a big fan of Christopher Hitchens. How could you not love someone who attacked Mother Theresa? But his odd way of arguing against those who think the war in Iraq is a mistake makes me wonder if I overlooked his dishonest method of argument when he was on “my” side.

So, if you want to argue like Hitchens, here’s what you do:

1) Simplify your opposition into an easy-target metaphor, like Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, (or as of late Jack Murtha). Therefore, if you oppose the war, you’re in Cindy Sheehan’s camp, and you now believe everything Cindy believes. You now are against the war in Afghanistan, even if you aren’t, because Cindy is. Remember, you are now Cindy Sheehan.

2) Casually dismiss this group you've created and have conveniently given a uniform worldview with idiotic terms like “sinister piffle” and “kerfuffle”, which make you sound like the arrogant, elitist asshole you are. You are required to use at least one of those terms, or a similarly retarded one, in everything argument you make.

3) You must make it sound like no one could possibly know the things you do, even though volumes have been written about it. Remember, you are providing insight no one else has ever thought of, even though every expert in the field has already thought of it. No one but you has ever been to Iraq, no one else has Kurdish friends, and no one else realizes that ethnic political split in Iraq is much more complicated than Kurd-Sunni-Shi’ite.

4) You must cast your lot with the scruffy “underdogs”. This makes you sound like some sort of hero; a hero who says "piffle" a lot. Mention a lot of people in this group that know one has ever heard of; it gives you street cred. You must also ignore or minimize the heinous past of those on your side (coughAhmedChalabicough), but not of those who don’t agree with you, they must be crucified with their misdeeds.

5) You must make false analogies between two things which aren’t alike (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan), and then disprove one, thereby disproving the other. In other words, you must argue like a twelve-year-old, but hide your arguments in scholarly, elitist jargon so they get lost in mumbo jumbo.

I used to buy into this crap. Thank God my bullshit detector has gotten better since then.
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