The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0544 Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Date: December 2, 2013 at 5:41:58 PM EST
Subject: SHAKSPER: Creating Reality -- Continued
It was the ever-sage and super-kind Michael Warren who first pointed out to me how debaters and critics in that mano-a-mano tradition step aside from things they can’t counter rationally by instead ignoring evidence and using rhetorical filler that stands in for real argument (which should, by definition, be supported by evidence).
Michael Egan thought something about an Anne Barton obituary didn’t make sense. I responded with an explanation of what sense I could make out of that statement. It was a pretty good explanation, and the point is quite important to anyone in the fiction business. Michael Egan scoffingly dismissed my explanation, demanding (sort of) examples to illustrate my point. Well, I gave him more than a few. And they were (again in my opinion) spot on.
So Michael Egan, not saying how or why he found my examples inadequate, unconvincing, or not to the purpose, decided instead to reply by attacking me for being condescending to him. That, my dears, is a debating tactic. It ain’t real argument, and it “certainly” ain’t scholarship. When you don’t have evidence, attack the opponent’s person, or motive, or friends. Use terms like “virtually meaningless” or indeed “baloney” to characterize your opponent’s case, and huff and puff. And maybe, or rather likely the smoke will lead people to forget about the original point and evidence.
Hey, Jack! How about working with argument and evidence and leave your bullying nastiness to the He-who-shall-not-be-named-ians you usually run with? We’re trying to grow more like our guy—wise, careful, brilliant, and kind—and it seems like you’re trying to imitate that well-known sweety-pie Earl of He-who-shall-not-be-named. There ARE other schoolyards to play in. Just don’t be so frumpishly alarmed or smug when we show you that we play differently here. Or, more likely, you ain’t gonna change no-how. Lots of current brain-research shows just how stuck that mud can be. Check out: BEING WRONG: ADVENTURES IN THE MARGIN OF ERROR.
I’m having a ball, working on my work, playing my plays. God be wi’ ye, lad. I hope you can learn some joy, maybe some respect for others.
[Editor’s Note: Well, folks, I don’t see this exchange going any further than it has gone, so we’ll call it quits and move on to things Shakespearean and related. –Hardy]