Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Unfair argumentation methods VI: German example (flawed, cf. comments)

with 6 comments

I have promised three examples of the discussed problems, which I had in mind when I started this article series. Due to the growth in scope, I have not gotten around to them until now; however, here I present the first:

I commented on a German blog named after a leading GDR womane, requesting actual arguments to support an almost nonsensical and definitely absurd thesis. The resulting counter-comments included e.g.:

Was willst Du hier dauernd mit »Argumenten«, »Erklärungen«, »Nachweisen« und »Begründungen«? Am Ende vielleicht noch Tatsachen? Die Partei hat immer recht und basta! Oder bist Du vielleicht Kulak oder trotzkistischer Troll, daß Du das in Frage stellst? Es sind schon Leute für weniger Nachfragen nach Workuta gekommen, oder wenigstens nach Bautzen.

(What do you want with “arguments”, “explanations”, and “proof”? In the end possibly even facts? The party is always right and basta! Or are you possibly a Kulak or a Trotzkistic troll, since you put this in question? People have been sent to Workuta [Gulag labour camp], or at least Bautzen [similar character], for less.)

and

Und wenn man schaut, was mit solchen zersetzenden ElementInnen, die sich in der Vergangenheit tatsächlich über unsere gemeinsamen Ziele lustig gemacht haben, gerechterweise widerfahren ist, würde ich ein solches Tun auch nicht unbedingt empfehlen. Nur so viel an michaeleriksson: Sei Du jetzt mal ganz vorsichtig!!!

(And when one considers what has rightfully happened to such disturbing elements, who have made fun [a characterization of my comments that I do not agree with] of our common goals in the past, I would not recommend it. Only this to michaeleriksson: Be very careful!!!)

Notable are the lack of actual arguments, the thinly veiled threats, the unpleasant tone, and the absence of self-insight/-critique. Even by the standards of political blogs, this is a horrifying example.

For some time, I actually thought that this page was a parody; however, the continued reactions of the other commenters soon made me rule this possibility out—the likelihood that someone would go to such extreme efforts to keep pretenses up is smaller than that of extremest stupidity. (The razors of Hanlon and Occam both apply in this case—Sacha Baron Cohen notwithstanding.) Notably, there are many other similar pages on the blog, and Google yields other pages yet that seem to take the blog seriously.

(If you wish to comment, please make sure that you have read Unfair argumentation methods I: Preliminaries first.)

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Written by michaeleriksson

June 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I hope you do not really consider “bluthilde” a seroius website? :)

    It`s definitely the German version of the U.S. satire blog “The People`s Cube”…

    Will Tanner

    July 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    • If I am wrong, I am actually a bit relieved. However, as I write, my preliminary researches (due to just some doubts) gave no indication that it would be fake—unlike e.g. The Onion. (I have never heard of “The People`s Cube”.)

      As for the contents—yes, they are absurd, but considering some actual leftist propaganda I saw in Sweden as a teenager and e.g. the Sokal hoax, they did not seem impossible.

      But, again, I do hope that you are right.

      michaeleriksson

      July 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm

  2. This is the People`s Cube: http://www.thepeoplescube.com.

    Meanwhile the Bluthilde authors itself added a note on its “About” site that its contents were satire. Still there are people, mostly leftists, who still think it were a “real” communist page. :)

    Will Tanner

    July 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    • Thank you for your notes, Will. The sooner misunderstandings as these are discovered, the better.

      After your first note, I also did a little more digging and found e.g.

      http://heplev.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/pech-gehabt-rote-brut/

      (which tells a very similar story in German).

      Apparently, this is a case of a satire being too close to the original (or the original being to absurd to be effectively attacked by satire).

      As an aside (after all, the topic is unfair argumentation methods), it can be disputed whether such sites are ethical, considering that they potential engage in strawman attacks and/or can fool a too casual reader about the opponents actual opinions and methods.

      michaeleriksson

      July 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm

  3. You mean for example strawman attacks like this?

    http://bluthilde.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/erschreckender-mangel-an-klassenstandpunkt/ *rofl*

    Will Tanner

    July 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

    • No, that page actually does come across as satire to me (but it is, obviously, possible that I am affected by the knowledge that it is satire).

      I was thinking along more subtle lines, where e.g. opinions on actions to take are exaggerated or opinions on ideology are exaggerated. Example: Thinks that Mrs. Ochmonek is a major pain -> Thinks that Mrs Ochmonek should be locked up. Many ALF viewers would agree with the former, but be opposed to the latter—-and a corresponding distortion of opinion for one of the other characters could affect how they are regarded by the viewers.

      michaeleriksson

      July 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm


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