ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Friday, February 09, 2007

ad hominem attacks

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

yeah, so i called a moron a moron in a recent continuation of the ridiculously protracted debate on the merits of "ebonics" in the comments section of this blog. some noble defender of the intellectually challenged then accused me of arguing like an eleven-year old (the fact that i named my blog "ilona the pest" didn't clue you in?) and making "ad hominem" attacks.

sure, it was a personal insult. but it was completely justified. i DID respond to his arguments, many times, and i just got sick of repeating myself. he's not a moron because of his opposing view in the debate. i can think of a number of reasonable arguments one could make to rebut my points. rather, he's a moron because he apparently doesn't grasp the basic concept of how to conduct a debate: you listen to the other person's argument and then respond to that, rather than shrilly repeating yourself in an effort to win by default after exhausting everyone with your sheer tenacity.

(for instance: i don't think the person who accused me of arguing like a little kid is a moron. although it wounded my pride a little, i think it was an appropriate and clever move. it responded to something i actually said, and made me question what i had said, even though i ultimately still felt that my point was justified.)

i've heard a number of smart lawyers observe that it's much easier, more pleasant, and more satifsying to go up against another smart lawyer, rather than a stupid lawyer. this experience, for me, perfectly illustrates that point.

i know that one of my flaws is arrogance: i'm deeply prejudiced against the stupid. i should really work on that. they can't help themselves. but what they CAN do is stay quiet and not try to engage in public debates that waste everyone's time.


  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger ilona said…

    instead of boring you all by publishing the latest repetitive comment from our ebonics-hating friend, i will bore you slightly less by publishing, instead, an easy-to-read summary of our debate:

    him: Ebonics is so bad! Not being able to speak Standard English really hinders people from advancing in today's economy!

    me: sure, we should teach everyone standard english, but that has nothing to do with whether they also speak AAVE ("ebonics"). AAVE is a perfectly valid language, too.

    him: You liberals just don’t get it! Speaking Standard English is really, really important!

    me: right, but i don't think you can plausibly contend that speaking "ebonics" somehow prevents people from learning to speak standard english.

    him: Ilona, when are you going to realize that speaking standard English is important?

    me: like i said, i get that. you're not saying anything to address my criticism of your argument.

    him: Okay, here's a new thought: English is important.

    me: you’re not listening to me.

    him: Yes I am, Ilona, and what YOU need to understand is, it’s important to know standard English!

    me: can you please shut up now?

  • At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ilona. They aren't speaking standing english. They only speak ebonics. That's why they cannot get jobs. You're trying to make ebonics acceptable. YOU are responsible for keeping them in an underclass because you are enabling their use of improper english. If they would learn BOTH, then cool. Whatever. Speak with your family and friends in Ebonics, but then speak proper english at work. Unfortunately, that's not happening, BECAUSE YOU ENABLE IT.

  • At 7:10 PM, Blogger ilona said…

    him: Ilona, blah blah, Ilona, blah blah. Ilona. Ilona.

    me: right, anonyme, but i don't think you can plausibly contend that speaking "ebonics" somehow prevents people from learning to speak standard english.

    him: Blah blah blah blah blah blah...

  • At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey, ilona.

    Maybe the dood trollin' you.

    Ever think of that?


  • At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, esp. in a self-righteous or irritating manner."


  • At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    pedantic predilections perpetuate pernicious prejudices.

  • At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A debate can be reagrded as a negotiation process", if you will. Each part gives up a little of their original views until both converge to a common ground.

    But as you may find in diplomacy textbooks, it is impossible to negotiate with a "shrill" party.


  • At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ilona. Why don't you move to Bed-Stuy and live amonst the people you enable to be in such socio-economic conditions?

  • At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon, you got somethin' against Greasers, you friggin' Soc?!


Post a Comment

<< Home