Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world


The Old Catch-22

Filed under: Media,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 12:00 am

Wizbang points to this Townhall column by Kathleen Parker. In it, she condemns most bloggers as being immature kids:

These effete and often clever baby "bloggies" are rich in time and toys, but bereft of adult supervision. Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi.

…many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement. When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.

Schadenfreude – pleasure in others' misfortunes – has become the new barbarity on an island called Blog. When someone trips, whether Dan Rather or Eason Jordan or Judith Miller, bloggers are the bloodthirsty masses slavering for a public flogging. Incivility is their weapon and humanity their victim.

Yeah, she goes way over the top complaining about blog swarms. It's a little extreme to say 'humanity' was victimized because a couple of journos were brought down. If you read the rest, you can also see the tremendous elitism she displays.

No matter… I'm actually not concerned about the substance, so much as the form of the argument. This is a nice example of a catch-22 attack; there is no good response. There are three possible options for responding:

1) Agree with her. Most of the people she criticizes will not be inclined to do this.

2) Say nothing. The disadvantage of this is that it can be taken as implicitly agreeing with her. Refer back to (1).

3) Defend yourselves1 and criticize her analysis.

If you take option 3, of course, she's got you. She can then dance around and say that you are merely proving her point by jumping on her, being uncivil, etc.

I'm not necessarily against catch-22's, but I prefer them to be more coyly formed and a bit more Socratic. This was just a crude form and practically dared bloggers to come after her so she could turn it around on them. It's an unfortunate use.

  1. I'm not necessarily including myself in this. I have no idea if I fall into her ill-defined category of malcontents or not. [back]


  1. Arguments like Parker’s always confuse me. I can never understand what it is that truly bugs them – the fact that bloggers are going after bigwig columnists, or the “piling on” that inevitably occurs after a “gotcha” story is first broken.

    If it’s the former – expecting some immunity for “professional” journalists – then she should be careful about throwing around words like “effete.” :-) Those “years in the trenches” she cites are no excuse for sloppy journalism.

    If it’s the latter, I might be inclined to agree with her. Once a story like this breaks, the blogosphere becomes a giant echo chamber, with every right- or left-winger repeating the same inane talking points over and over and over…

    I have no problem with bloggers who break the story when a mainstream journalist screws up. What bothers me is the laziness of those who don’t add anything new to the discussion.

    Hey, thanks for leaving your comments on my blog. I appreciate your advice. I think I’ll be sticking around after all. I’ll be adding you to my blogroll as soon as I get a chance. I have to admit that I don’t do a very good job of seeking out conservative blogs, so I’m glad you found me through Robbie. You’ve got a great blog here.

    By the way, this is the James Bond book collection I bought second-hand on Amazon. It doesn’t look like anyone’s selling a copy at the moment, but you should keep an eye on it, or check to see if it’s available on eBay. I paid only $30 for the complete set of Ian Fleming novels. Sure beats $13 a piece!

    Comment by Mike — 1/1/2006 @ 12:16 pm

  2. Arltices like this make life so much simpler.

    Comment by Ishan — 10/17/2015 @ 12:14 am

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