- Dec 2022
The Gish gallop /ˈɡɪʃ ˈɡæləp/ is a rhetorical technique in which a person in a debate attempts to overwhelm their opponent by providing an excessive number of arguments with no regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. In essence, it is prioritizing quantity of one's arguments at the expense of quality of said arguments. The term was coined in 1994 by anthropologist Eugenie Scott, who named it after American creationist Duane Gish and argued that Gish used the technique frequently when challenging the scientific fact of evolution. It is similar to another debating method called spreading, in which one person speaks extremely fast in an attempt to cause their opponent to fail to respond to all the arguments that have been raised.
I'd always known this was a thing, but didn't have a word for it.
- Nov 2022
Trope, trope, trope, strung into a Gish Gallop.
One of the issues we see in the Sunday morning news analysis shows (Meet the Press, Face the Nation, et al.) is that there is usually a large amount of context collapse mixed with lack of general knowledge about the topics at hand compounded with large doses of Gish Gallop and F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).
- Oct 2022
If not, his teacher and his fellow-pupils, trained alongthe same lines, would be quick to point out where he was wrong; for it wasthey whom he had to seek to persuade.
Surely Sayers would be appalled by the current state of political argument... The "Sunday Shows" are full of talking points and all of the wrong sorts of "rhetoric" without much, if any basis in fact.
- May 2022
This came in the context of weighing what she stood to gain and lose in leaving a staff job at BuzzFeed. She knew the worth of what editors, fact-checkers, designers, and other colleagues brought to a piece of writing. At the same time, she was tired of working around the “imperatives of social media sharing.” Clarity and concision are not metrics imposed by the Facebook algorithm, of course — but perhaps such concerns lose some of their urgency when readers have already pledged their support.
Continuing with the idea above about the shift of Sunday morning talk shows and the influence of Hard Copy, is social media exerting a negative influence on mainstream content and conversation as a result of their algorithmic gut reaction pressure? How can we fight this effect?
Matt Taibbi asked his subscribers in April. Since they were “now functionally my editor,” he was seeking their advice on potential reporting projects. One suggestion — that he write about Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo — swiftly gave way to a long debate among readers over whether race was biological.
There's something here that's akin to the idea of bikeshedding? Online communities flock to the low lying ideas upon which they can proffer an opinion and play at the idea of debate. If they really cared, wouldn't they instead delve into the research and topics themselves? Do they really want Taibbi's specific take? Do they want or need his opinion on the topic? What do they really want?
Compare and cross reference this with the ideas presented by Ibram X. Kendi's article There Is No Debate Over Critical Race Theory.
Are people looking for the social equivalent of a simple "system one" conversation or are they ready, willing, and able to delve into a "system two" presentation?
Compare this also with the modern day version of the Sunday morning news (analysis) shows? They would seem to be interested in substantive policy and debate, but they also require a lot of prior context to participate. In essence, most speakers don't actually engage, but spew out talking points instead and rely on gut reactions and fear, uncertainty and doubt to make their presentations. What happened to the actual discourse? Has there been a shift in how these shows work and present since the rise of the Hard Copy sensationalist presentation? Is the competition for eyeballs weakening these analysis shows?
How might this all relate to low level mansplaining as well? What are men really trying to communicate in demonstrating this behavior? What do they gain in the long run? What is the evolutionary benefit?
All these topics seem related somehow within the spectrum of communication and what people look for and choose in what and how they consume content.
- algorithmic feeds
- Sunday morning analysis shows
- system 1
- system 2
- Hard Copy
- system one versus system two
- social media
- content consumption