Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Nick Coleman -- A rich man's Jim Styczinski

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:56 PM |  

What can I say? Nick certainly has that argumentum ad hominem down.

So I read his column about Powerline. Now in the interest of full disclosure, Nick has written that my reading comprehension is poor because I was unable to infer from his column on Maxfield Elementary that “books in the classroom” did not mean “textbooks” or that “Your schools are burning!” is a proper description for a school that is succeeding, so forgive me if I have trouble understanding a paragraph like this --
My ancestors came here as Irish sod busters in the 1850s, and they would be spinning beneath that sod if they saw powerful people trying to tear down what they built. But they'd enjoy how the Extreme works now: How it hammers all its opponents in the Mainstream as limousine liberals.
So would Nick’s ancestor’s approve or disapprove of Powerline? What does that paragraph mean? Okay, so he’s a bad writer. But what really irks me is that despite an exchange of emails, and dueling columns and multiple blog posts on the Maxfield issue, Nick can still write this --

But Extreme bloggers don't tell truths. They tell talking points. Powerline is the biggest link in a daisy chain of right-wing blogs that is assaulting the Mainstream Media while they toot their horns in the service of ... what? The downtrodden? No, that was yesterday's idea of the purpose of journalism.

First, he tars all bloggers with a single brush. For students of logic, it’s the fallacy of “converse accident” or for Nick, “hasty generalization.” However you define it, it’s a hack technique. Then, for over a month, Nick has been the one refusing to acknowledge that when it comes to educating the “downtrodden,” he’d rather see a kid stagnate in a government school that have the opportunity provided by a public education system based on choice -- that includes the choice to stay in the government school.

Who's sticking up for the downtrodden?

To be precise, I should say that’s what I believe he thinks because he has never addressed that question directly. Instead, he felt that like “Big Trunk” and "Hind Rocket” I should have a “fantasy name” and so he dubbed me “Captain Fishsticks.” I believe, as one reader noted to me, he purposely excluded me from his Christmas card list.

Second, he calls himself a journalist, but to carry out yet another personal vendetta, he misses the story -- the interrelationship between blogs and the mainstream media. That’s a discussion that takes a little more intellectual firepower than attempting refutation of a logical argument by reference to the illustration on a box of fishsticks, which why perhaps it’s a topic at journalism schools where people are more interested in learning stuff than flaunting stuff they think they know.

Enough about Nick. I agree with Peg at What If? "Never wrestle with a pig; you'll both get dirty and only the pig will enjoy it." The thrill is gone.