Saturday, May 28, 2011

The distortions of kairosfocus: Why they matter

They don't really: not in a direct way. Most of what he writes seems to sink without a ripple. A writer both prolix and pointless, kairosfocus produces an impact-per-word number that must be so small as to be homeopathic. It's hard to imagine people changing their minds based on the writings of kairosfocus; at best, he may reinforce already-held beliefs. Rhetorically, this makes his work (whatever its outward appearance) neither forensic nor deliberative, but epideictic. To quote Aristotle quoting Socrates in a discussion of epideictic, "it is not difficult to praise the Athenians to an Athenian audience." Yet Kairosfocus's distortions may matter indirectly, by propagating falsehoods that will be used by others.

Now, back to Alinsky. The argument that Alinsky was a kind of Marxist is, I think, wrong, but it's a possible argument. However, kairosfocus has done more than make that claim: he has distorted Alinsky's words to support it. To repeat, No one reading Alinsky in context would take his reference to Marxists on page 10 as a reference to his own position; however, kairosfocus distorts the passage to give precisely that (false) impression. Kairosfocus may (indeed, I do not doubt he will) say this is a red herring or strawman (oil of ad hominem, yadda yadda). Yet why should we take his word on anything if significant distortions are so easily found? This is not ad hominem; this is a question of his ethos as a writer.


Lou FCD said...

I'm doubtful that even the psycho faithful of UD read his vomitously long, incoherent nonsense. He is living disproof of the aphorism regarding the sticking of shit flung at the wall.

I liked this, though: "kairosfocus produces an impact-per-word number that must be so small as to be homeopathic."

Can one have a negative impact-per-word number?

Hermagoras said...

Thanks Lou. That phrase (my favorite) was worth the effort of the post, IMO.