HP review

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Fri Jul 4 16:44:48 EDT 2003


>  > Well, yes, except that the HP books already *are* being burned.
>>  That's why I felt this was unfair.  If Liddle felt that Adams was
>>  talking through his backside, fine, just ridicule him for his stupid
>>  or unjustified argument.  But it is different to say 'you're making
>>  what I feel are stupid criticisms about these books, therefore I'll
>>  group you with the extremists who are calling for the books to be
>>  banned/burned/censored'.   When those extremists are so frighteningly
>>  much in evidence in society.
>	I dunno, I agree with you that it's generally a cheap tactic in to
>lower the tone of an argument by accusing your opponent of being a
>bookburner or whatever, kind of like the old rule that the first person
>who mentions Nazi Germany in a debate has lost,

:-)  Hadn't come across that particular rule before, but will be 
careful to remember it!

>but the tone of this
>particular argument wasn't ever very high what with Adams' snide (and
>logically suspect and factually wrong) insults about what he perceived to
>be Rowling's political beliefs. So I don't think we can *in this case*
>accuse Liddle of dragging the argument into the gutter :-).  But also,
>more generally I think that ridicule is a very good weapon to use against

I do still think it's a way of disagreeing that's more nefarious than 
just 'lowering the tone of the argument'.  I was thinking about this 
this afternoon (largely when I was supposed to be thinking about 
other things!), and will now veer somewhat in another direction, in 
order to give praise to the list.  Over the years we've enjoyed a lot 
of discussions on many different topics, often with very widely 
differing opinions.  And I was thinking that one of the strengths of 
this community is the fact that in general we really listen to what 
people are actually saying.  Even when opinions vary widely, most of 
the time the argument will be contained to the substance of the 
people's statements.  So we don't get the kind of thing I see in the 
Liddle article (and I'll use myself as the example of the person 
talking rubbish, having doubtless done far more than my fair share of 
same!):  "Hallie doesn't like the HP books for reasons I think are 
stupid, therefore I will  ridicule her, not for her stupid comments, 
but as completely bigoted or intolerant, or a book-burner."

And it can be tempting, when someone's opinions really get up your 
nose, to group them with those of people who are behaving so 
outrageously badly that everyone 'right-minded' will dismiss them out 
of hand.  So I say we deserve a collective pat on the shoulder for 
our respectful discussions!


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