Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
1. To accuse a second party, usually in a grandiose and theatrical way, of deeds or thoughts that are actually quite out of harmony with the truth or the speaker’s perception of it. The purpose is ostensibly to uncover one or several hidden agendas and lay them bare, but in reality the purpose is to gain a tactical advantage in front of third parties. 2. More broadly, any act of accusing someone, which is blessed by a substantially greater quantity of bluster than genuine confidence. 3. To accuse someone of something based on feeling rather than thinking.
A specialized ad hominem fallacy capable of jettisoning logic and reason from any debate, for the advantage of whatever party finds logic and reason to be injurious. An accusation designed to shift the focus of an argument, usually deployed when the speaker has been cornered by inconvenient facts. It is a rhetorical weapon designed put the offensive on the defensive and put the defensive on the offensive. Highly effective, although nearly certain to end any rational discussion.
The word is inspired by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bullcusing Rush Limbaugh of “calling our men and women in uniform who oppose the war in Iraq, and I quote, ‘phony soldiers’.” It is a bullcusation unless one is willing to suppose the Majority Leader actually thought, in his own beady-eyed little head, that Rush said something like this…which seems dubious at best. Senate Majority Leader Reid, therefore, accused Rush of saying something that Senate Majority Leader Reid, himself, knew Rush didn’t say. Senate Majority Leader Reid accused, for the purpose of deceiving others. Senate Majority Leader Reid bullcused.
It has been easier and easier to find examples of this, for the last several decades as information has flowed to more people more quickly. The still-exploding artform of performing in front of the cameras, has made the bullcusation a frequent occurrence.
Commenting on this over the weekend, I said…
…we have got to find a word for this someday. This thing liberals do. Where you come up with this accusation out of thin air, and you know the facts aren’t on your side so of course there will be a discussion about whether the accusasion is true or not — which it isn’t. Then, you see to it that instead of being pursued…the discussion is instead prolonged…since, if the discussion were pursued, it would be a very short discussion indeed.
The casual observer will assume the accusation has some merit to it, but that’s a secondary payoff. The primary reward is that there is something you don’t want discussed, and now you’ve generated a distraction from it.
The classic Vaudeville version of this is “When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?” For the uninitiated, the trick is that if you aren’t a wife-beater, there’s no correct way to answer the question. This is a close cousin to that. You come up with an argument which, plainly, has an inimicable relationship to truth and common sense — like — “we need twice as much money so let’s raise the tax rate twice as high.” I offer the counter-argument that plainly puts the kibosh on yours: “If you raise the tax rate significantly, people will change what they do to pursue their individual interests, and you won’t raise the revenue you expect to; this is basic economics and has proven to be an accurate prediction of human behavior, time and time again.” And you say, “you want the government to run out of money and you want poor people to suffer!”
It is an unfounded inference, one that enjoys no genuine confidence. You would not bet your life, your liberty, your treasured possessions on the axiom that I want the government to run out of money, or that I want poor people to suffer. But it’s an effective counterattack in the political realm, because now we’re going to have a long drawn-out discussion about whether I want the government to run out of money and the poor people to suffer. The genesis of the discourse has to do with whether supply-side economics works. It’s about the Laffer Curve. But with enough energized emotions at work…we’re not talking about that, are we? We’re talking about a sadistic streak I’m supposed to have, that nobody’s really going to bet anything worth keeping that I actually have.
That’s what we need to name, some day.
And that’s what a bullcusation is. A portmanteau between bullshit and accusation…and accusation that is full of bullshit. An accusation offered for the cosmetic purpose of uncovering truth, but in reality, for the purpose of covering up truth and making a red-herring about agendas, motives, character issues, and other junk that has no connection to what was discussed previously.
Do conservatives use this? Do they bullcuse someone when they “question his/my/their patriotism”? I guess that would depend on the situation at hand…it would depend on what inspired such an accusation. How comfortable would reality be with the juxtaposition between the accusation and whatever inspired it. Is it reasonable, for example, to doubt someone’s patriotic sentiments when he interlaces his fingers like a six-year-old brat that could use a good spanking, when it’s time to salute the flag…while he’s running for President? We’ll all just have to make up our own minds about that.
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