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Ken Livingstone was interviewed last night by BBC News about the resignation of Ian Blair. It was put to him that Blair had not been popular in the Met. His immediate response was, “Oh, of course there are some old guard officers who don’t like the fact that so many black and Asian officers and women officers got promoted”. Now, while I’m not going to suggest that there are no racist police officers, it’s quite sweet that Ken’s delightful habit of attack-as-defence, of accusing anyone who dislikes or disagrees with him of being a crazed racist or misogynist, clearly also extends to people he supports, and he’s showing no sign of abandoning it.

Handily, Livejournal’s own amuchmoreexotic has coined a term to describe the form of argument that Ken favours:
“That debating technique where you deliberately misconstrue what someone is saying in a way that lets you take it as racist/classist/sexist, then pretend to be offended by the ‘position’ you’ve just invented, and demand an apology,”
he wrote, in a locked journal entry that I would otherwise link to.
“What’s that called? Will it ever stop working? It’s not straw man, because that’s when you misconstrue their position then refute your version of it. I hereby name what I’m talking about the Straw Golliwog Fallacy.”
Sadly his valiant attempts to persuade Wikipedia of the prior existence of this term failed, despite his citing a highly credible, if fictitious, source. However, both Freebase and Democratic Underground (where it actually appears before “Straw Man”) lifted their definitions of “Straw Golliwog” from its Wikipedia page before it was deleted, so there’s still hope for it becoming common currency.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
Man, there are 6 results on Google! Maybe it's time to resubmit, citing those.

What is the term for adding some concept you've just made up to Wikipedia, then citing people who copy the Wikipedia entry as proof that your invention should be kept in Wikipedia? Imagine if we can get that term accepted in Wikipedia.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Is it a Hazlehurst?
Oct. 3rd, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
I seem to remember amuchmoreexotic using the Straw Golliwog Fallacy in an argument with my girlfriend once. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, that's what I'd say, there.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I did. "You're saying those lazy blacks should just swim out??" was the phrase I used, I think.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
It was when you accused her of inciting both the Toxteth and Brixton riots that I got really annoyed. It was only Toxteth, and there were extenuating circumstances.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
I can't believe you're making light of the suffering of the Black community etc etc.
Oct. 3rd, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Julie Burchill's made a whole career from said fallacy.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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