Myths, tropes, universals and binary thinking – inside the mind of a typical Torygraph commenter

From time to time this blog attracts the odd right winger. They’re usually referred here from this blog by our dear friend and arch-Randist, Daniel Hannan. Danny Boy describes this blog (and others) as “unintentionally hilarious”. This is rather rich coming from someone who once posted a blog that claimed that “Euro-sceptics make dazzling linguists” (sic) . Unintentionally hilarious? Yes, he is. The idea that Europhobes or Eurosceptics are more likely to be polyglots than those people who are pro-European is, to put it bluntly, risible. It’s a piece of mythologising claptrap. And the basis for this dazzling insight? A conversation with his children’s babysitter, whom he tells us is “a clever and charming teenager, whose father is a respected Labour MP”. That’s meant to be the killer line by the way –  “a respected Labour MP”. For the record, I speak German and French and I’m open to learning more languages. I consider myself to be a linguist.

He ends his blog with

My friend David Batt , a Brussels functionary and a moderate Euro-phile , draws my attention to an entry in the fifth volume of James Lees-Milne’s diaries, dated 12 July 1972: “Denys Sutton [an art historian and editor of Apollo] is an extremely clever man, and impresses us immensely.  He says that the Common Market is supported chiefly by people who have not travelled, whereas its opponents are people that know the Continent.”

This is a myth that has been  presented as a universal.

Today, I found this comment on my About page

Following a tip from a friend of mine who described you as a caricature of a Marxist Leftie I spent a couple of hours going through your blogs and found out that you are supporter of all things Labour and display a visceral hatred of all things Conservative. You also are a purveyor of deluded Marxist ideology, extremely keen on big-state intervention, illogical at times, a fanatical EU integrationist, an enthusiastic supporter of Ken Livingstone and of the Palestinian cause (I suspect that you consider Yasser Arafat a more enlightened leader than Margaret Thatcher). You also have an obsession with, and a hatred of, Andrew Gilligan that is worthy of a psychiatrist assessment, surely to be followed by diagnostic and a treatment with strong anti-psychotic medication.

I can only conclude that my friend’s description of you was very kindly worded.

It is interesting how he opens with “Following a tip from a friend of mine”. This is reminds me of the man who visits his doctor because he is suffering from the clap, but is too embarrassed to admit that he is the one who has gonorrhoea and not his imagined friend.  “Doctor, a friend of mine has gonorrhoea, what should he do”?

Geordie Mark (who is probably neither a Geordie nor called Mark) thinks in binaries, “you are supporter of all things Labour and display a visceral hatred of all things Conservative”. So if I criticize the Tories, then I’m a Labour supporter? This is too easy. This also  implies that only the Left has a monopoly on hatred and, as I pointed out in an earlier blog, this is clearly a smear tactic. But this commenter is confused: he refers to me as a “Marxist” and then says I’m a “supporter of all things Labour”. Show me a Marxist in today’s Labour Party and I’ll show you a Caring Conservative.  Is it a deal?

As for Gilligan, I don’t hate him. I’ve never met the man but I find his blogs disturbingly hypocritical. I  think he also whips up hatred of the Other and does nothing to discourage the racists and Islamophobes who comment on his blog. It is rather interesting that “Geordie Mark” should mention Gilligan at all.  I wonder why? Could it be? No. Surely not.  Now that would be paranoid.

What I find amusing about this spittle-flecked comment is his suggestion that Thatcher was “enlightened”.

I understand you don’t like “enlightened”, but of the two mentioned leaders, Arafat and Thatcher, did you like or dislike one more than the other?

Ah, yes, the either/or question. These are typical tricks from someone who clearly can’t form a coherent argument and has to rely solely on fallacies to make a ‘point’. But this is what many who comment on Telegraph blogs do: they use ad hominems because they are incapable of proper discussion. To them, anyone who does not share their ideology is beneath them. And yes, they hate too. Tories clearly hate the idea that anyone could possibly oppose their poorly thought out policies. They clearly hate anyone who is poor, unemployed or a social tenant. Their policies are clearly designed to destroy anything that does not fit in with the Tory narrative of a ‘new’ Britain. What’s worse is that they lie about it.

The members of Hannan’s Zombie Army aren’t much good at producing counter-arguments. Instead, they prefer invective and reductive narratives “You hate…” is a particular favourite of these dead-heads. Arguing with such minds is like shooting fish in a barrel.

EDITED: 19/3/11 @ 1331

Added final paragraph



Filed under Internet, Journalism, Media

2 responses to “Myths, tropes, universals and binary thinking – inside the mind of a typical Torygraph commenter

  1. Sam

    Call me old Mr Suspicious, but there’s got to be a good chance that comment was from Kennite himself!

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