Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A New Way to Lie

As horrible as will likely get, I am enjoying the new style of lying in America: posing the lie as a question. Here's a story about a pastor whose church sign reads "Osama, Obama? Hmmm. Are they brothers?" As much as I hate that churches have taken it upon themselves to lobby for political parties, since we can't tax them, I can't help but find the pastor's response really funny:

"When asked if he believes that Barack Obama is Muslim, Byrd said, "I don't
know. See it asks a question: Are they brothers? In other words, is he Muslim ?
I don't know. He says he's not. I hope he's not. But I don't know. And it's just
something to try to stir people's minds. It was never intended to hurt feelings
or to offend anybody."

Absolutely 100% awesome. I'm not lying, I'm just asking a question that happens to be complete bullshit. I'm totally going to start doing this to people.

"I'm not saying for sure that you owe me fifty dollars. But, hmmmm... Doesn't it seem like you owe me fifty dollars?"

"I'm not saying that I wasn't speeding, officer. But, I don't know. Isn't it likely that I was not speeding? Why won't you answer the question?"

Andrew Sullivan calls it "McTruthyism". His point is that Obama is getting a lot of these questions lately from people who are really just lying. It's a variation on one of my favorite stupid arguments- the "silence is deafening" argument. To wit: "My next door neighbor has never said that he opposes molesting puppies, and why not?... The silence is deafening."

What it does is to place the burden on the other person for your own information level. My favorite video on the internet shows an "expert" on radical Islam being confronted by a group of moderate Muslims. It goes something like this:
Woman: Why don't Muslims ever protest against terrorism? The silence is deafening!
Muslim boy: But we just did last weekend. Our mosque had a protest against terrorism and over 300 people showed up.
Woman: Well, why didn't I know about that?

See? Now the other person is responsible for making you not stupid. This is where we're at now: not only do people not know shit; now they're blaming the people that know shit for the fact that they don't know the shit that those people know. Again I say: 100% awesome.


Holly said...

This isn't so new, the "Have you stopped beating your wife?" gag has been around for ages. The pisser is, arguing with inanity is like arguing with the bible; you cannot win, there is NO rational discourse. And the side championing the inanity always declares victory. Always.

Rufus said...

That's probably true. I love the implication that, "this isn't a stupid question: after all, I'm asking it."

Holly said...

Yeah. That thing about how there are no stupid questions, that is bullshit.