Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Reminds me of Clinton and Wallace

This letter is one of many in response to my column last week. People sought me out! They found my Clayton State email address. Most letters were positive. But the following, I suspect, is from an English professor--and not to contradict the point that I made in my article--sadly, most English professors these days, schooled as they are in Marxism and deconstruction, are hardly qualified to point out errors in logic. Just as being a Rhodes scholar does not make one fit to be president of the United States.

Readers who can point out the errors of the following letter get extra credit.

Ms. Grabar: In your opinion column in today's AJC ("Celebs' opinions don't deserve added clout"), you relied on misinformation to charge popular entertainers with making distasteful political statements. Bill Maher did not say the 9/11 hijackers showed "courage" (your quotation marks). Maher said, "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly," which is far short of calling it "courageous." Your erroneous example implies that Maher expressed admiration for that horrible act; it's your claim that is "sophistic," not Maher's. This is only one example of sloppiness in your writing, by the way. Other examples include hyperbole in claiming that "every actor's and musician's" opinion on foreign policy is given a forum, and the illogical implication that Rosie O'Donnell, who is given a forum because of celebrity and not because of her opinion of foreign policy, should be censored because she doesn't have an advanced degree or job experience in theology, foreign policy, or philosophy (why, by the way, would that last one matter?). Interestingly, all of your examples are of speech critical to Bush, meaning that you have a problem with the politics of celebrities only when they disagree with you, which is a distasteful theme, indeed. You admit once earning a "well-deserved C-" on a political science theme for "not providing enough support." If you can learn to begin providing factual support, and put more effort into constructing logical arguments with precise language, perhaps you can push yourself up toward the B- level. Until then, there's no need to knock O'Donnell for not having an "advanced degree," as yours appears not to be serving you as well as one would expect. Bob Pritchard

Comments:
I'm amazed (or should I be?) that Mr. Pritchard seems befuddled as to how philosophy might help Ms. O'Donnell. Bob, philosophy is supposed to help us think whereas Ms. O'Donnell is better at emoting her opinions. She hasn't made her fame by thinking through her opinions let alone taking objections. Philosophy could help her reflections become more sober.
 
To be fair, Pritchard was critiquing the implied need for "an advanced degree in" philosophy, not philosophy in general.

I'd like Dr. Grabar to go ahead and point out the errors in Pritchard's letter. That is, I'd like her to support the claim that there are indeed errors by using actual examples and explanation. The "it's obvious" method doesn't really work for me (and I doubt Dr. Grabar would tolerate such an argumentative strategy from her own students in their writing).

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