Tuesday, December 30, 2003

What can I possibly say???

Sometimes in the course of perusing Internet debates, I will encounter someone whose arguments are so outright bizarre that they just stop me cold. It's not that they have good arguments, but that they are starting from a set of assumptions that I can't even comprehend.

For example, check out this MeFi thread. The topic is public funding of arts programs. Whether you're pro or con -- I, personally, am very pro-arts funding -- isn't relevant to what I'm trying to illustrate here. There's a commenter partaking of that thread under the handle "Faze", who seems to think that we are in some kind of artistic golden age on the basis of how great current TV and rap music are. This person actually states that a single episode of King of Queens contains more laughs than the entire opus of Shakespeare, and he commits the "Popularity equals quality" fallacy numerous times. Another of his arguments goes roughly like this:

1. Most TV writers today are Harvard grads.
2. The finest minds in our society come from Harvard.
3. Ergo, some of our finest minds are spending the best years of their lives making us laugh.
4. Ergo, this is a golden age of art.

I try to comprehend the totality of questionable assumptions behind this view, and my mind shuts down due to the strain. Amazing.

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