Tuesday, February 24, 2004

To fisk or not to fisk: I guess what I mean (how's that for a clear statement?) is that fisking is just going tit-for-tat. You say "X", I say "Y". Now, if it's a matter of clearing up the record over factual inaccuracies, okay. But I find the method of fisking, when we're getting down to opinion or argument, to be dry and ineffective and over-used. Take this ridiculous example: I say "In my administration, all dogs go to heaven because it's the right thing to do." You say "No they won't. I had a dog that didn't go to heaven." All you've done is offered a single happening to contradict my proffered fact/position. Now what?

I never said that Kusnet was merely fisking - actually my fisk comment had nothing to do with his analysis. What I was trying to convey was that I was tempted to pick apart his speech and offer counters to each point, but that I felt it would be pointless as Bush is arguing a policy position, not positing facts. Kusnet was actually doing what I advocate: reasoned analysis offering a differing or alternative point of view. Fisking is a lazy alternative to drafting one's own reasoned opinion. It's not that it can't be effective (i.e. if I rebutted my opponent's case in trial by showing how each fact he proferred was contradicted by the evidence), but you have to take the next step and draw conclusions from it. Sorry about that; I used an inopportune way of bringing up my very important comment.

My comments do nothing to advance the ball on gay marriage. I'm just using a literary device to show the holes in Bush's argument. That advances the ball on whether he is a dim bulb.


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