1-24-14 Hodgepodge

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Beaten Into Submission by Syllables

I haven't personally been subjected to the particular term under discussion, but I am familiar with the all-too-common ruse:

"See? Ban-gla-desh! It's a long word I have mastered, so I must definitely know what I'm talking about!"
The author is generous to call this rhetoric. It's more like an attempt to intimidate others with a show of erudition. Often, the people who do this don't really know what they're talking about; so for them, it's also an attempt to hide ignorance by means of referring to something they hope their listeners also don't know anything about.

Weekend Reading

"It's perfectly fine to move on -- but to what?" -- Michael Hurd, in "Faulty Retirement Thinking" at The Delaware Wave

"When done properly, therapy is a rational, scientific process that does not require 'belief.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "So You Don't 'Believe' in Psychotherapy..." at The Delaware Coast Press

"If the machines that move modern medicine don't have energy, they are useless." -- Alex Epstein, in "The Baby Who Lived: How Energy Saved My Friend's Son" at Forbes

My Two Cents

In a day and age when so many people are astoundingly ignorant about the economic and industrial infrastructure on which their lives depend, Alex Epstein does a great job of reminding us of this part of our Western heritage. I am only half-joking when I say that the next time I have to engage an environmentalist in conversation, I will have to resist the urge to call him a baby killer. (I don't blame Epstein for this!)

The bonus lesson here? Another part of the battle to win minds remains another kind of perspective: Remembering to give others the benefit of the doubt as a starting position. In the cases of economics and industry, it's not like our educational system has taught much of either to anyone for at least a couple of generations.


McSweeney's Internet Tendency has been a rich vein of humor lately, as we see when Michael Mayberry "mansplains" "mansplaining":
That's why I think Mansplaining should be called by its actual name, which is didacticism.7 And news flash, wimmin:8 a supposedly inclusive feminist often times becomes the didact in her conversations with the plebeian9 masses when she straightsplains to her gay friends about lesbian rights, cisplains to her trans friends about the stigma associated with transgendered identification, when she whitesplains to her black friends about the oppressive administration, skinnysplains to her fat friends about healthy eating, omnivoresplains to her vegan friends about the evils of the factory farm industry, blogsplains to her print journalist friends about the merits of indie-electro writing, or humansplains to her cat that sometimes sex can be both pleasurable and painful.10 [footnotes in original, minor format edits]
Marxian polylogism, anyone?

-- CAV

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