The Fact That I Am Completely Wrong Is Just More Proof How Right I Am

This little anecdote, included in a list of “outrageous lawsuits,” just came to one of my email lists:

This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home from an OU football game, she, having driven onto the freeway, set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.

Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned.

Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

I thought the “PLUS a new motor home” was such a nice wingnutty touch to a long debunked tale, one that I even talked about in 2005, that I decided to check the intertrons to see if it was still flying around the tubes and found this old Walter Williams post that made me laugh out loud:

Literally hundreds of readers informed me that in last week’s column, “Some Things I Wonder About,” my reference to a Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City — who set his 32-foot Winnebago on cruise control, left the driver’s seat to brew a cup of coffee, crashed, then sued Winnebago for not having a warning against the dangers of doing so and received a jury award of $1,750,000 plus a new motor home — was an urban legend and as such totally false.

My having fallen for this “urban legend” points to more due diligence to fact-checking. Without making any excuses whatsoever for my lapse in due diligence, let’s look at it.

Thirty, 40 or 50 years ago, no one in their right mind would have believed the Merv Grazinski urban legend possible, but not so today. Personal responsibility has taken a back seat in our increasingly immoral and litigious society. Consider some actual lawsuits researched at (www.overlawyered.com).

This is a particular example of wingnut argumentation that I find rather amusing, and it always takes the following form:

Sure, I’ve now learned that X is not actually happening, but the fact that I believed that X could be happening is not, as one would think, a commentary on my foolishness and gullibility, but rather it is a scathing indictment of our societal decline.

We need to come up with a fashionable name for this, and I’m sure you all have your own examples.






235 replies
  1. 1
    Dan says:

    fuckduggery.

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    We need to come up with a fashionable name for this, and I’m sure you all have your own examples.

    Just because it’s false doesn’t mean it’s not true.

  3. 3
    anonevent says:

    Snope hunting.

  4. 4
    chopper says:

    you think that maybe, just maybe, the reason people 30, 40, fifty years ago wouldn’t have believed such a story is because cruise control wasn’t really common back then?

  5. 5
    Tom says:

    We need to come up with a fashionable name for this, and I’m sure you all have your own examples.

    In the words of Kent Brachman…

    There’s only one name for this: idiocy.

  6. 6
    TenguPhule says:

    Argh, fucking sticky enter key.

    douchenozzling.

  7. 7
    chuck says:

    How about bullshit.

  8. 8
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Bwahwhwhahwhahwahwah. Great post.

    And the very fact that I am laughing at it is proof that I am a baby killing monster who wants to use arugula in some undisclosed way to prevent honest, hard-working Murkans from using their guns to shoot people like me.

  9. 9
    Tonal Crow says:

    GOPaganda.

  10. 10
    robertdsc says:

    I just mentioned this story to my sister yesterday. Ha.

  11. 11
    Derelict says:

    Well, “clod-pate-ism” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I think this combination of sophistry, gullibility, and refusal to accept that you screwed up is a perfect manifestation of what a clod-pate does.

  12. 12
    lawsipan says:

    I will always think of it as “[this is] central to my point” beacause of Der Pantload.

  13. 13
    gex says:

    Gullibullshit.

  14. 14
    Adrienne says:

    Gullibullshit.

    Me likey.

  15. 15
    Sasha says:

    I Blame Society (Conservative Version).

  16. 16
    steve s says:

    Bunk: A claim that is false.
    Debunk: To show that a claim is false.
    Rebunk: To insist that the spirit of the false claim, is nevertheless true.

  17. 17
    ChicagoPat says:

    Virtual Reality, meet Virtual fact-checking.

  18. 18

    How about an “unreal world example”?
    or “non-illustrative unexample”

  19. 19
    akaoni says:

    Wingnut Prime (WN’)

  20. 20
    Da Bomb says:

    This reminds me of the college student who went onto a Wikipedia page entry of a deceased musician and he created a fake quote, that the musician supposedly made before he died. Shortly after several “journalists” utilized the quote in their dedications to the musician.

    The student finally admitted that he creative the quote and it wasn’t real. The journalists got pissed at him for making shit up, instead of getting mad at themselves for not checking the damn facts!

    I blame Wikipedia. It’s the downfall to our great Idiocracy!

    Why don’t we call it “the lazy-ass syndrome”?

  21. 21
    Dr. Loveless says:

    “Truthiness.”

  22. 22
    Krista says:

    Ha — that’s funny, because my husband mentioned that Grazinski case to me just yesterday, and we both completely believed it, just because there ARE such idiots in the world. (Hot coffee is HOT!)

  23. 23
    Da Bomb says:

    @BombIranForChrist: Don’t forget that you like Dijon mustard, and hate ‘necks cause they cling to their gawds and guns!!

  24. 24
    Trollhattan says:

    Traal lorz in yr dryrz, suin’ yr lint.

    I don’t know what to label the phenomenon, but you can’t read anything on the general topic without someone bringing up the fucking McDonald’s hot hot coffee lawsuit and its vast array of retellings. In case you didn’t know it put McDonalds out of bidness.

    There otta be a law.

  25. 25
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    It’s “some saying” basically.

    “Is Barack Obama the first African American President, or, as some say, an alien from some islamo sociolo-facist rightist-leftist intergalatic region?”

    When challenged on who exactly “some” refers to, it’s the same answer: Oh, you know, it’s “out there.”

    In their minds the fact that they can dream it up and claim it’s true must mean that it’s in the air, the rightgeist, as it were.

  26. 26
    JenJen says:

    How about “Snort Reform”?

    Get it? Get it??

  27. 27
    Blue Raven says:

    As an aside, here’s the actual Stella Awards top six from 2004.

  28. 28
    jrg says:

    “Gullible Correctness”

  29. 29
    Brett says:

    I like @steve s:

    Rebunk: To insist that the spirit of the false claim, is nevertheless true.

    I like this. I could also go with Olsanism.

  30. 30
    Joshua Norton says:

    That is the pure, undiluted heart of today’s wing-nuttery. They put together these little fantasy scenarios about what their favorite bogeyman/strawman liberal would do that would make everyone hate them and then invent a story to go along with it.

    And, not coincidentally, the moral of the story is how much better Mr. Wingnut is than Mr. Liberal because he’d never do anything as bad as what he dreamed up in in his anti-liberal fantasy. Except that the fact that he thought it up in the first place is proof that he’s more than capable of it.

    And the one’s who get really good at spinning their nasty little lies get a gig with Fox Noise.

  31. 31
    steve s says:

    Parabelate – To belatedly transform your story into a parable, after your literal promotion of it is shown to be bullshit.

  32. 32
    MattF says:

    I can haz self-contradiction.

  33. 33
    Blue Raven says:

    @Krista:

    (Hot coffee is HOT!)

    And it is NOT supposed to be so hot you get third-degree burns. And a store that has been cited for serving it that hot is supposed to STOP before someone puts a cup in their lap and gets said third-degree burns on their genitalia. Thank you. Good night.

  34. 34
    nirad says:

    I think you may have missed the best part of all. In his attempt to avoid responsibility for his gullibility, he invokes the decline of personal responsibility.

  35. 35
    demkat620 says:

    @lawsipan: The Goldberg Invariation.

  36. 36
    aimai says:

    I like everyone’s offerings especially “gullibullshit” and “rebunking” but I think the whole thing was covered, more or less, under STeven colbert’s “truthiness” and, of course, was once meant by the word “factoid” until its meaning morphed into a “little fact” rather than an untruthful fact.

    aimai

  37. 37
    gex says:

    I liked gullibullshit when I thought of it, but I like rebunk better.

  38. 38
    Little Dreamer says:

    @gex:

    Another vote for gullibullshit. ;)

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    Ohymgod yes, YES YES:

    demkat620

    @lawsipan: The Goldberg Invariation.

  40. 40
    Allen says:

    Stumpede: When fools get stumped the herd can still run like crazy.

  41. 41
    Da Bomb says:

    Here’s the link to that story about the college student who lied on Wikipedia.

    http://www.wftv.com/news/19437273/detail.html

  42. 42
    Joshua Norton says:

    Colbert hit it on the head with “Truthiness”.

  43. 43
    gex says:

    @Blue Raven: Well if you want to look at the FACTS of the case, fine. But you are ruining a good talking point.

  44. 44
    PattyP says:

    Retrograde Sagacity.

  45. 45
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Reverse indiscrimination.

  46. 46
    stillnotking says:

    I will forever think of this as McArdling, in honor of its foremost practitioner (Megan “I was wrong about Iraq, but for the right reasons” McArdle).

    Unsurprisingly, she is still doing it.

  47. 47
    gex says:

    @gex: I wonder if John is going to pick a winner.

  48. 48
    demkat620 says:

    @aimai: Thanks!

    I like rebunking too.

  49. 49
    Jay B. says:

    Krista just rebunked the McDonald’s trope.

    I like rebunked. But I do feel I have to now, once again, debunk the McDonald’s “coffee is hot, ergo the the old bitch’s burns were totally her fault” bunk.

    Here’s a good explanation from “The ‘Letric Law Library”. This information is available in other places, and I particularly remember a really solid Molly Ivins column, so feel free to check around. But here’s a nicely presented debunking case:

    The sweatpants Liebeck was wearing absorbed the coffee and held it next to her skin. A vascular surgeon determined that Liebeck suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting. Liebeck, who also underwent debridement treatments, sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds refused. [emph. mine]

    During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.

    McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is
    generally 135 to 140 degrees.

  50. 50
    Geeno says:

    Actually, the Macdonald’s hot coffee thing is real. The location in question had been warned twice previously that it kept the coffee too hot. Of course, the inspectors were concerned that employees might get scalded. The woman in question had second degree burns all over her upper legs and crotch area. Multiple surgeries, etc. But the thing that sank that Macdonalds in trial was the prior inspections siting the coffee temp.

  51. 51
    phantomist says:

    Walter Williams ‘realitized’ the Winnebago story.

  52. 52
    Third Eye Open says:

    Wish’titwuz

    or, alternatively, ‘Kakistosianism’

  53. 53
    freelancer says:

    There isn’t really a name for it, I might just have a tag called ” ‘cos Brawndo’s got electrolytes”.

  54. 54
    Violet says:

    Fear shifting. Like blame shifting, but hits the fact that wingnuts like to make everyone scared of everything. Applies to most wingnut memes, from the “Lawyers are to blame for the decline of society!” genre to the “OMG! Terrorists!” distract-o-thons.

  55. 55

    Cheetos’ Paradox, which states a lie can never be over taken by the truth because by the time the truth arrives at a certain point, some fReichtard has moved the finish line.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Krista:

    (Hot coffee is HOT!)

    Even the McDonald’s story is not quite what they make it seem like. If your store’s coffee is hot enough that an elderly woman who spills it in her lap gets third-degree burns and needs reconstructive surgery and skin grafts on her genitals, I think it’s safe to say that you’re neglecting your customers’ safety, especially when you’ve been sued multiple times before for severe burns incurred by your customers because of that 185-degree coffee.

  57. 57
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    This actually reminds me why I can’t stand Bill Simmons, the “Sports Guy”, who is the King of “Don’t you just feel the same way?” kind of writing.

    He constantly makes arguments like, “The fact that I was sure A-Rod was going to strike out, and then he struck out and I knew [sic] it was going to happen, shows how bad he is, whatever his stats may say.”

  58. 58
    demkat620 says:

    @freelancer: “I like money!”

  59. 59
    MikeJ says:

    And the term “overlawyered”? That’s somebody else having an advocate for their rights. If I sue somebody I’m redressing a wrong. If anyone else sues somebody they’re clogging the judicial system with frivolous stuff like third degree burns on their genitals.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    My having fallen for this “urban legend” points to more due diligence to fact-checking.

    From a sane person, this would have been the final line of the post.

    This statement:

    Literally hundreds of readers informed me that in last week’s column, “Some Things I Wonder About,” my reference to a Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City—who set his 32-foot Winnebago on cruise control, left the driver’s seat to brew a cup of coffee, crashed, then sued Winnebago for not having a warning against the dangers of doing so and received a jury award of $1,750,000 plus a new motor home—was an urban legend and as such totally false.

    Seems to belie the claim that, after 40 or 50 years, America’s gullibility quotient has increased. Just the opposite, in fact. It seems like fewer and fewer people are willing to buy into the Paul Bunyon tails and that should perhaps fill Mr. Walter Williams with a sense of joy, as this is the litmus test he is using to detect for America’s Personal Responsibility(tm).

    @Krista:

    (Hot coffee is HOT!)

    So, funny story about the hot coffee lawsuit.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....o_the_jury

    During the case, Liebeck’s attorneys discovered that McDonald’s required franchises to serve coffee at 180–190 °F (82–88 °C).

    So, they were handing you a thin plastic cup through a drive-thru window filled to the brim with virtually boiling water. I can’t find it in the Wikipedia article, but if I remember correctly, the logic behind scalding hot coffee was as a deterrent against people making use of the “free refills” policy. People would have to wait longer to let the coffee cool before drinking. So they’d have fewer cups.

    I’m sorry, but I have a hard time sympathizing with a for-profit corporation that has a deliberate policy to make their products as dangerous as possible so they can save a few extra cents on the dollar. Hot coffee IS hot, and it would be nice if customer AND salesmen were aware of that fact. :-p

  61. 61
    Tonal Crow says:

    I vote for “rebunking”.

  62. 62
    omen says:

    brick-brained

    brick-headedness

    or

    i-fell-down-hit-my-head-&-haven’t-been-right-since-osis

  63. 63
    chopper says:

    yeah, i liken the mcD coffee thing to buying a hot pizza. if its so hot you burn the roof of your mouth, you don’t sue. if its so hot it melts your soft palate requiring reconstructive surgery, you might consider it.

    it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste.

    at first you think ‘what the hell tastes good, much less best, at 190 degrees???’. then you remember you’ve had mcdonalds coffee before.

  64. 64
    John Cole says:

    Jonah Goldberg is no doubt one of the most prominent users of this form. He is an artiste, in fact.

  65. 65
    Krista says:

    Yeah, yeah — I just re-read the McDonald’s case and you guys are right. That coffee WAS too damned hot. Mea culpa.

  66. 66
    Mike says:

    A similar example from Victor Dumbass Hanson:

    Unfortunately, unlike a Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, or Alberto Gonzales, President Obama has embraced identity politics in unprecedented fashion — and we are reaping what he has sown. In these first days of the Sotomayor nomination, we are not discussing Justice Sotomayor’s judicial competence as much as her Latina identification — and the political ramifications of such tribalism.

    See, wingnuts think race is completely irrelevant, and it really burns them up that Obama is forcing them to go on and on and on about it.

  67. 67
    Tom says:

    Maybe I’m dating myself, but remember Newsweek’s (and Stern’s) publication of the “Hitler Diaries”? I seem to remember them publishing a retraction that said something to the effect of, even exposed as a fraud, our interest in the diaries says something about us all.

    Here’s Time’s not-at-all-gloaty telling of the tale.

  68. 68
    MikeJ says:

    He is an artiste, in fact.

    Indeed, this is central to your point.

  69. 69
    Jim Pharo says:

    I’ve got it!!

    “Republican-ism”

  70. 70
    dbrown says:

    Personal responsibility has taken a back seat in our increasingly immoral and litigious society.

    1. Like MD’s (real ones, not PD) who know that 5% of their fellow members account for over 70% of the malpractice law suits but MD’s would never have these murders striped of their right to kill. Or that over 109,000 people died from needless MD mistakes (but MD’s, are human so some mistakes will occur, that is life);however, MD’s fight every step of the way in preventing anyone from telling them how to do their jobs better and safer because … well, I have no idea why they fight simple changes that are proven to save lives – that is, until lawyers sue them and more often than not get the changes (after so much harm and death, first). Strange, but what happed to personal responsibility …oh, that is what victims should do by leaving our sight and dying quietly were no one knows and not sue these poor MD’s.

  71. 71
    oh really says:

    Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma has a Stella Award to her credit. Obviously, it won’t be long before she adds a Darwin Award to her trophy case. I expect her to be a runaway winner. It remains to be seen if her survivors will be as lucky in court as was Mrs. G.

  72. 72
    JR says:

    “Wrongness makes me righter!”

  73. 73
    jenniebee says:

    @Blue Raven: Interesting that in half of those Stella awards, it’s a corporation doing the suing. I think this one is notable, given the news today about GM:

    Homecomings Financial, a subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services, which is a division of General Motors. The finance company accepted a change of address notice from identity thieves for the account belonging to Robert and Suzanne Korinke. The thieves ran up a $142,000 debt, and the Korinkes notified Homecomings of the fraud the moment they discovered it. Homecomings sued them two years later, saying the couple’s “negligence” is what “caused the injury to Homecomings,” not the fact that the company accepted a change of address from fraudsters — and then gave them all the money they could drain. The victims got the company to drop the suit, which demanded $74,000 plus attorney’s fees, after shelling out $5,000 in legal fees — an outcome the couple’s lawyer called “really lucky”.

    It’s terrific the way they really went the extra mile to build brand loyalty.

  74. 74
    Old Gringo says:

    Walter Williams.

    He’s an “Austrian”. Delusional. And this is nothing compared to his claim that up to 90,000 southern blacks fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

    A related story out of Texas a few years back.

    Insurance Industry Now Thinks Texas Needs More Litigation
    In 2003, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that allowed state legislators to cap pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits at extremely low levels. The insurance industry lobbied heavily for the measure, helping to promote a false vision of Texas as a “judicial hellhole,” where doctors were fleeing the state over an “epidemic” of frivolous lawsuits. Since then, malpractice lawsuits have plummeted.

    Now, though, the insurance industry is wondering if its campaign worked too well—not because malpractice victims can’t get justice (which they can’t) but because tort reform is cutting into insurance company profits. Defense lawyer Gary Schumann told a group of insurance execs recently that tort reform had worked so well in Texas that judges were trying cases that might otherwise go to mediation just to stay busy. Not only that, but Texas nursing homes (among the worst in the nation) have become so unconcerned about getting sued that many have stopped buying private liability insurance.

    Schumann said he was worried about the industry’s future. “We want a little bit of litigation out there, don’t we? We want a little bit of risk. We need risk or we’re all out of business. … We’ll see what happens but tort reform has worked. I just hope for all of our sakes it hasn’t worked too well.”

  75. 75
    JR says:

    Ah, there we go!

    “Righting”: altering the terms of debate or basis for a position in light of irrefutable evidence debunking the original claim or argument so as to avoid admitting error or wrongness.

  76. 76
    Colette says:

    My brother, who worked at a McDonald’s when he was in high school many years before that unfortunate woman was burned, says he and his coworkers used to joke about McDonald’s coffee being the hottest, strangest substance known to man, with special physical properties allowing it to remain in a liquid state despite being well above the combustion temperature of rocket fuel (which it resembles in taste). So yeah, they knew.

  77. 77
    freelancer says:

    William the Bloody is so perpetually wrong that this mobius logic comes up often. However it would seem misapplied to just him a la “Kristolization”.
    I second Tonal Crow’s use of “Rebunking”, simply because as a skeptic, seeing this rationalization is very common after a purveyor of pseudo-science has been utterly proven wrong.
    Here’s a great example.

  78. 78

    Personal responsibility has taken a back seat in our increasingly immoral and litigious society.

    There you have it. Dumb people are immoral. And the Devil is taking bids for a major expansion to hold all the wingnuts.

    Just kidding! We know Haliburton was guaranteed the job.

  79. 79
    Will Danz says:

    Thirty, 40 or 50 years ago, no one in their right mind would have believed the Merv Grazinski urban legend possible, but not so today. Personal responsibility has taken a back seat in our increasingly immoral and litigious society.

    Would they believe that rightwing hero Judge Robert Bork, one of the gasbags who first started leaking hot air about tort reform and personal responsibility, not long ago SUED THE SHIT OUT a place where he was speaking, because HE FELL DOWN?

    Judge Robert Bork Sues Yale Club for One Million Dollars

    Quote:

    “June 7 (Bloomberg) — Former U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork sued the Yale Club of New York City for more than $1 million, claiming he tripped and fell because of the club’s negligence as he ascended a dais to give a speech.

    Bork, 80, a former Yale Law School professor, said the club was grossly negligent for failing to provide steps or a handrail between the floor and dais at an event for the New Criterion magazine last June, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court.

    “Because of the unreasonable height of the dais, without stairs or a handrail, Mr. Bork fell backwards as he attempted to mount the dais, striking his left leg on the side of the dais and striking his head on a heat register,” he said in the complaint.

    Bork is seeking more than $1 million in damages and punitive damages. The fall caused a “large hematoma,” or swelling, on his leg that burst, requiring surgery and months of physical therapy, and it left him with a limp, he said in the complaint.

  80. 80

    This reminds me of the Clinton era. When faux scandal after faux scandal would be debunked, the usual response of the perpetrators (if they acknowledged that the scandal was faux) was to say, “Yeah, okay, but it’s the type of thing Clinton would do.”

  81. 81
    NutellaonToast says:

    @Krista:

    (Hot coffee is HOT!)

    That one is also completely misrepresented. McDonald’s coffee wasn’t just coffee hot; it was far hotter than most coffee and caused horrible burns. They’d be sued numerous times by people severely injured and did not change anything. The judge in that case made the damages more punitive in order to spur McDonald’s to actually DO SOMETHING about it.

    I’ve spilled coffee on myself more than once and I’ve never received severe and extensive burns from it.

  82. 82
    Zifnab says:

    @Krista:

    Mea culpa.

    Yeah, youa culpa damna righta.

    hehe. I was kinda blown away by that story when I first heard it too. But you hear enough of them and you start picking up a common theme and learn to research them on reflex. Especially when you hear the phrase “And they won $$$”, it’s inevitable that the company liable was clearly, often embarrassingly, in the wrong.

    If the Winnebago story had been true, I have no doubt that we’d have seen some flier with a ridiculous claim about the car “Just driving itself” and a picture of a family of four partying in the back while the car zipped along sans driver.

    The only people “that stupid” tend to be the ones willing to believe a multi-million dollar business lost a high visibility lawsuit when it wasn’t obviously at fault.

  83. 83
    Scott says:

    Reminds me of something that happened a couple decades back when I was in grad school. The Dallas paper ran an article on a Friday saying that the local gangs were going to be doing initiations that weekend that involved driving around the city with their headlights on, then shooting anyone who flashed their own headlights at them.

    Utter and total urban legend, of course, but a lot of folks believed it, ’cause it was in the paper, in an article, and it sounded authoritative.

    The paper ran a “Whoops, sorry, wasn’t so” article the next week, and one of the paper’s columnists actually published a column saying, basically, “God, you gullible people are so very, very stupid.” And yeah, he got buried in letters from readers saying “Fuck you, asshole, don’t blame us for your paper’s screwup.”

    Always thought that was the perfect example of “Now, Marge, it takes two to lie — one to lie and one to listen.”

  84. 84
    dbrown says:

    @freelancer: Nice

  85. 85
    Marmot says:

    Ummmmm, “The Exception that Proves I Drool”! Whaddaya think? I mean, as applied to others. Not me. I don’t drool anymore.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    We need to come up with a fashionable name for this, and I’m sure you all have your own examples.

    Okrentism or Safirstry.

    In honor of one of the most famous examples of this.

    In 2004 William Safire once printed a lie in his NY Times column regarding Iraq. He was called out on it by The Nation’s David Corn. Later, after he had been called on it, Safire issued this diktat via NY Times public editor Daniel Okrent:

    “‘An opinion may be wrongheaded,’ Safire told me by email last week, ‘but it is never wrong.

    A belief or a conviction, no matter how illogical, crackbrained or infuriating, is an idea subject to vigorous dispute but is not an assertion subject to editorial or legal correction.'”

    The gory details on this nonsense can be found at this link.

  87. 87
    malraux says:

    @jenniebee: Not only did many of those suits involve business on business suits, but there is a serious lacking in info on the resolution of the case. Its pretty easy to sue someone for a ridiculous amount of money; you just file the paperwork. I’d only be concerned about either 1> the obviously invalid cases succeeding (which would lead me to believe that someone wasn’t presenting the full case fairly) or 2> so many of these instantly dismissed cases being filed that the court were clogged up.

  88. 88
    Marmot says:

    Oh man! Also: “The Exception that Improves His Gruel”!

  89. 89
    Krista says:

    The only people “that stupid” tend to be the ones willing to believe a multi-million dollar business lost a high visibility lawsuit when it wasn’t obviously at fault.

    Well, good to know I’m in such good company, then. ;)

  90. 90
    Xanthippas says:

    Hilarious. I have a slightly different take on that question, in that mine would be “What does it say about society that we could product someone as dumb as you, the wingnut?”

  91. 91
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Chris Andersen:

    “Yeah, okay, but it’s the type of thing Clinton would do.”

    This reminds me of a similar practice in reverse in which the right wingers, faced with clear evidence of say torture, respond with the idea that our principles simply wouldn’t allow it, thus (and forgive me I don’t remember where I heard this- Colbert, some blog?) respond with:

    “Yes but just because we did torture doesn’t mean we would“.

  92. 92
    LV-426 says:

    Doublethink?

  93. 93
    Tonal Crow says:

    @freelancer: Oh, I didn’t come up with “rebunking”; steve s did. I just praised his invention.

  94. 94
    dino goposaur says:

    @Dan:fuckduggery – my new favorite word

  95. 95
    flounder says:

    The fact that decent, church-going, and god-fearing Republicans are being found strangled to death wearing three wetsuits with dildos shoved up their butts shows that our society is declining in morals.

  96. 96
    JGabriel says:

    Walter Williams @ Top:

    Thirty, 40 or 50 years ago, no one in their right mind would have believed the Merv Grazinski urban legend possible, but not so today.

    Shorter Walter Williams: Wingnuts – Believing the impossible for 29 years.

  97. 97
    Calouste says:

    Found this on the inthartubes

    TEMPERATURE OF WATER IN DEGREES F MINIMUM TIME FOR FIRST DEGREE BURN MIN. TIME FOR SECOND OR THIRD DEGREE BURN

    111 5 hours 7 hours

    116 35 minutes 45 minutes

    118 10 minutes 14 minutes

    122 1 minute 5 minutes

    131 5 seconds 25 seconds

    140 2 seconds 5 seconds

    149 1 second 2 seconds

    158 – 1 second

    So if you have normal coffee (about 135 degrees) you would have to be in touch with it for about 3-4 seconds before you even get a first degree burn. People who have reactions that show usually don’t have many other signs of life either.

    McDonalds coffee at 180-190 degrees is obviously way off the scale.

  98. 98
    Pangloss says:

    Agendabation.

  99. 99
    steve s says:

    I’ve worked in a lot of coffeeshops. Fresh gourmet coffee is around 200F the moment it’s brewed. I got dozens of insignificant burns over the years, but one time something came apart and my entire rt arm from the elbow down was doused in fresh coffee. 2nd degree burn over the whole thing. Lots, and lots of pain.

  100. 100

    @Geeno:

    Don’t know if this has already been posted, but yes, the McDonalds case was real, although what was not real was the set of details that became part of its urban legend. The corporation was hammered by the case mainly for refusing to change anything even in the face of repeated injuries and claims … but my favorite part was that the huge award which became part of the legend was never actually paid, to my knowledge. I believe that an amount was eventually settled on, but that the exact amount was not revealed. Too lazy to look that stuff all up again.

    But anyway … shame on BJ for this thread. Don’t you all realize that phony stories like these are what KEPT AMERICA SAFE FROM TERRORIST ATTACK SINCE 911?

    That phony connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and that famous mushroom cloud, gave us reason to invade Iraq and thereby defeat the terrorists.

    Shame, shame on this blog.

  101. 101
    freelancer says:

    @Tonal

    Thanks for the correction.

  102. 102
    JoshA says:

    As Jay points out, the McD’s case was actually pretty strong, since they were deliberately overheating coffee by 40+ degrees for 2 main reasons:

    1. The heat hid the bad taste, and
    2. The heat insured that almost no one ever took advantage of the “free refill” policy then in existence.

    So deliberately endangering consumers to maximize profits? Yeah, bad corporate behavior, properly punished.

  103. 103
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    There is only one answer on this page: Rebunk. John, you deserve better commenters. Gullibullshit is the dumbest and unfunniest of several dozen dumb, unfunny submissions.

    For those of you who were incredulous that anyone didn’t immediately think “truthiness,” you have to realize that most intelligent people who require quality in their entertainment have been avoiding Colbert for quite awhile now. He’s almost impossible to watch even for two minutes without encountering the kind of failed, forced joke that can come only out of scraping at the bottom of a barrel far too often. Which is not to say he never had a full barrel, he just ain’t got it anymore.

  104. 104
    priscianus jr says:

    I guess if you already know the conclusion you want to arrive at, and
    thisconclusion is not supported by facts or at least not very convincingly, and you want to give an example in support of the conclusion, then you have to provide an example of something that isn’t actually the case. So you have to make up a phony example, which purports to be true by the very context in which it is presented. One could get into an interesting philosophical discussion as to whether this is a lie or simply bullshit, but I would call it a rather interesting type of lie.

  105. 105
    chuck says:

    Not even properly punished. Stella Liebeck’s damage award was reduced on appeal to a much lower amount. As usual with these things, the adjusted award was not specified. But it was probably less than a day’s worth of coffee profits.

    They always win. Even when they lose.

  106. 106
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @InflatableCommenter:

    The stories about Iraq are the ultimate example of all this in fact. “Okay look, we we utterly, totally wrong (or lied, more likely) about WMD and Al Queda, but it’s obviously just the kind of thing he would have done!”

    “Listen to the music, Marge! He’s evil!”

    That’s why they’re always going on about how other countries had made some of the same assumptions, it’s the “everyone just knew” idea.

    Of course, others didn’t decide to invade, partly because assumptions and suspicions aren’t enough.

  107. 107
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Chris Andersen:

    “Yeah, okay, but it’s the type of thing Clinton would do.”

    I saw that defense trotted out (minus the “Yeah, okay” concession) during the Ashley Todd fiasco; my favorite wingnuts were all over the story talking about how this brutal carving of a backward “B” on the girl’s face–which was not at all suspicious!–proved that the American left is “Naziism 2.0.”

    When the story was quickly revealed as a hoax, the wingnuts refused to even admit they were wrong, saying (and this is a direct quote), “Clean up your side – make it so that any such story will be disbelieved.” In other words, “It’s the kind of thing an Obama supporter would do, therefore, my point is proven!”

  108. 108
    freelancer says:

    Yeah, Palmer, way to show those uppity plebes!

    [/jackass]

  109. 109
    Joshua Norton says:

    “Kristolization”.

    I like that one. Kind of naturally leads to “Kristol” clear.

  110. 110
    gex says:

    @Palmer Eldritch: There are no bad ideas in brainstorming.

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @JGabriel:

    Thirty, 40 or 50 years ago, no one in their right mind would have believed the Merv Grazinski urban legend possible, but not so today.

    This is not even true. There have been urban legends that have been around for a long time, but have simply been updated for the InterTubes age. The Snopes people have mentioned this a number of times in interviews.

    For example, there is an urban legend about a cookie recipe that a famous store has made available, which is an old tall tale re-told.

  112. 112
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @JoshA:

    2. The heat insured that almost no one ever took advantage of the “free refill” policy then in existence.

    I guess I can see why that’s true.

    “Yes, coffee please.”

    “Thanks, I….ayiiiieeeieee!! God that burns! Help!”

    “Uh, yes, can I have a refill please?”

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @Joshua Norton:

    Kristolization

    How about Kristolnaught?

  114. 114
    Zifnab says:

    @Krista: I still love ya, Krista.

  115. 115

    I don’t know why people feel the need to make up false lawsuits to prove a point when the real ones are so absurd. I have said here before, we had someone call our office who had been filling his car with gas, at some point the gas pump malfunctioned and he was covered with gasoline. Did he call an ambulance? Did he go home and shower? Did he go into the store and complain? NOPE, he picked up his cellphone (static electricity anyone) and called our office and wanted to file suit! One of my pals over at PJ said “I would have told him to calm down and have a cigarette” :) I am sure that he found some lawyer out there who filed suit for him. There is nothing that people will not sue for, absolutely nothing. It is the whole 911 call cause McDonalds ran out of Chicken Nuggets thing.

  116. 116
    Jay S says:

    “Fake but accurate” used to be popular with a certain set.

  117. 117
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    You need a lolwut? category, John.

  118. 118
    DB says:

    This is sort of like what’s been on my TV lately — Affirmative action is wrong because it’s incredibly unfair to good people like Clarance Thomas, who had to go through life with others wondering if he was only given opportunities because he was a minority, which is obviously the only reason Maria Sonja Sotomayor got anywhere in life.

  119. 119
    D-Chance. says:

    So Cole is reduced to bringing up a spam email received today to reference an August 2005 post to lead us all to a January 2004 post for the reason of… ???

    Oh, the example: Sure, I’ve now learned that X is not actually happening, but the fact that I believed that X could be happening is not, as one would think, a commentary on my foolishness and gullibility, but rather it is a scathing indictment of our societal decline.

    Sure, I’ve now learned that [Mancow really didn’t get waterboarded], but the fact that I believed that [Mancow was waterboarded] is not, as one would think, a commentary on my foolishness and gullibility, but rather it is a scathing indictment of our societal decline.

    Hmmm… works for liberals as well as conservatives, doesn’t it.

  120. 120

    I suppose no one has bothered to mention that it is impossible for a human being to drink coffee at 180 degrees…, how many people (me among them) get coffee (or for me hot tea) from a convenience store/McDonalds whatever and then go over to the soda machine and dispense ice into said coffee/tea cup so you can actually drink said product without having to wait three hours? Is it not strange to people, (you know normal people) that you cannot consume a product that a store sells without amending it by adding something because consuming it without amending it would result in serious injury?

  121. 121
    Dave C says:

    The whole McDonald’s coffee incident as an example (albeit a false one) of our woefully litigious society is really one of my pet peeves. Actually, people believing and spreading incredibly ridiculous urban legends in general annoys me a great deal. I will happily admit to taking a not-insignificant amount of pleasure in publicly debunking (usually with the help of Snopes.com) any factually-challenged email forward that one of my more gullible–or wingnutty–relatives periodically sends.

  122. 122
    John O says:

    Kristolnaught is my favorite thus far.

    I recently read Christopher Moore’s goofy take on King Lear, Fool, and “heinous fuckery” really stood out to me. Probably too shrill for the toobz, though, to catch on.

    “Agendabation” has to be considered, though I’m not sure the author of the heinous fucktarditry in question is guilty of that; they’re just not that self-aware.

    I’m a simple man. “It’s not my fault” does it for me.

  123. 123
    freelancer says:

    John, you deserve better commenters.[…]For those of you who were incredulous that anyone didn’t immediately think “truthiness,” you have to realize that most intelligent people who require quality in their entertainment have been avoiding Colbert for quite awhile now.

    Better Shorter Palmer Bottomtooth:

    I do not partake of anything produced for the ‘masses’.

  124. 124
    Rommie says:

    Wingnut Mirror Universe

    “Just because it didn’t happen in reality, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening in OUR reality!”

  125. 125
    Dave C says:

    @D-Chance.:

    I’m confused. Did Mancow not actually get waterboarded or something?

  126. 126
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    @Dave C:

    I will happily admit to taking a not-insignificant amount of pleasure in publicly debunking (usually with the help of Snopes.com) any factually-challenged email forward that one of my more gullible—or wingnutty—relatives periodically sends.

    I only had to embarass my wingnut mom in front of her wingnut friends with about a dozen debunkings before she wised up and started checking Snopes first. Now she sends all the same wingnutty shit but she includes a disclaimer that Snopes says it isn’t true if they’ve debunked it.

    (That way, she appears to be truthful while pushing her reinforcing fiction around.

  127. 127
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Rommie:

    “Just because it didn’t happen in reality, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening in OUR reality!”

    It’s kind of starting to get into “Kramer giving the J. Peterman Reality Tour” territory.

  128. 128
    hal says:

    “however, MD’s fight every step of the way in preventing anyone from telling them how to do their jobs better and safer because…”

    Huh?

  129. 129
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Rebunk is a definite finalist, up against some seriously tough competition from the Goldberg Invariation is a classic, as is McCardling. Her column today was so full of stupid she made Jonah seem like a Mensa member.

  130. 130
    OldK says:

    Love “rebunking”. I’d suggest that this is a specific kind of rebunking, though: bootstrapped rebunking. Since the reason we are supposed to find it so easy to believe the bunk is because of dozens of bunk stories like this one, this bunk has picked itself up by its own bootstraps.

    For other, more deadly, sorts of bootstrapped bunk, see also: Dick Cheney in 2002 attributing to the New York Times a “report” that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, when the referenced article was simply quoting an anonymous administration source saying so.

  131. 131
    Harley Furguson, the Tractorcycle says:

    I don’t know what to call it but this is obviously a corollary to Poe’s Law- Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.

  132. 132
    cleek says:

    projection of fear

  133. 133
    joes527 says:

    @D-Chance.: Funny that.

    All the stories about mancow not being “really” waterboarded seem to point to this. Some redacted and ambiguous emails, along with a convincing argument that Mancow was *incompetently* waterboarded.

    In other words, he didn’t get the full treatment, but still found the experience to be torture.

    Is your point that if his hands had been bound and the board tilted back, then it would have been less like torture?

    I have no idea what this person calling himself mancow is all about, but I’m not going to look at a Gawker article and accept that as the final word on *anything*.

    More evidence please.

  134. 134
    Peter says:

    I heard Walter Williams likes to fuck chickens. I have no evidence to back this up. However, thirty, 40 or 50 years ago, no one in their right mind would have believed the Walter Williams is a chicken-fucker, but not so today. Personal responsibility has taken a back seat in our increasingly immoral and chicken-fucking society.

  135. 135
    JasonF says:

    @nirad:

    I think you may have missed the best part of all. In his attempt to avoid responsibility for his gullibility, he invokes the decline of personal responsibility.

    That was the first thing I noticed. It’s like he’s a character in an Albert Brooks movie.

  136. 136
    dbrown says:

    @D-Chance.: No, not in the least – wingnuts and even outright murderers in corporate offices and MD’s have been using that bullshit line to prevent honest people who have been terribly harmed or killed from getting far compensation. To compare such a minor story and equate it to these vast numbers of human tragedies is really a low attempt to discredit these victims – shame on you.

  137. 137
    DonkeyKong says:

    asshole projection

  138. 138

    @hal:

    Here in NC we have Rule 9(j) which basically says you have to get another MD to state (under oath) that the treatment given to the patient was below the standard of care before you can even file the lawsuit. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a doctor to state under oath that another doctor fucked up? In the past we could get an “expert” from wherever to say that the doctor fucked up, but the SCONC have recently ruled that an “expert witness” is so narrowly defined (ie has to be a doctor in the same type of community, with the same population, with the same type of practice, with the same type of demographics) that it is almost impossible to get an expert witness that will qualify and who would pass muster under Rule 9(j). We had an expert in a case who was an MD and a lawyer, who in deposition said that the MD committed malpractice. We settled before the court could rule that because he wasn’t a physician in our area, with a practice of approximately the size of the defendant etc., so yes, MDs have been lobbying to diminish the amount of lawsuits, by means of cutting of the plaintiffs ability to file said suit.

  139. 139
    neal peart says:

    Sorry if I’m redundant but….IOKIYAR is the correct turn of phrase to describe this particular bit of dissonance.

  140. 140
    John Cole says:

    No. D-Chance slides by every now and then to launch a spitball, the recent one is that Mancow “faked” being waterboarded. His proof, despite the fact that we all saw it, and, in fact, I critiqued it as nowhere near the real deal, but he was still “water-boarded,” is a Gawker post.

    That is right. We are all fools because we are not resting all our hope on a Nick Denton production. Although in fairness, I do like Wonkette and Gizmodo.

    And D-Chance thinks we’re the dumb ones.

  141. 141
    dbrown says:

    @hal: Any time someone suggests that all MD’s sign the part of the body to remove the day before (for a given leg/arm/hand/finger, or the area over an organ) most MD’s refuse to do it on the grounds that it is impossible for them to ever make that mistake – many hospitals try and get this as SOP but few have succeeded. You tell me why most MD’s refuse to do such a smart, simple and near foolproof idea.
    Of course, I bet, after being sued for cutting off the wrong arm/leg/organ the MD might now consider trying this foolish idea (also after the insurance company has paid out a good bit of $$$) seems like such a waste since the victim will never be whole and this idea has been around for a long time.

  142. 142
    AnotherBruce says:

    Gullibullshit is what I’m going to call when one of those idiotic viral e-mails haunts my workplace. That’s exactly how I’m going to say it. “I call gullibullshit on this e-mail.”

  143. 143
    Fluffybunnyfeet says:

    We need to come up with a fashionable name for this, and I’m sure you all have your own examples.

    Ah, but who can beat the classics:

    “[Wingnuttery] izz purely a ZO-shal disease!”[h/t Sondheim]

  144. 144
    OldK says:

    @nirad: so it’s also a self-fulfilling hypocrisy. Eh. I’m not a big fan of that kind of pun, but it might be catchy.

  145. 145
    Tonal Crow says:

    @OldK:

    For other, more deadly, sorts of bootstrapped bunk, see also: Dick Cheney in 2002 attributing to the New York Times a “report” that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, when the referenced article was simply quoting an anonymous administration source saying so.

    That’s not rebunking, but echobunking. The echobunker screeches into the void, hears an echo, then cites it as support for his bunk.

  146. 146
    Laura W says:

    Sullivan’s on KO tonight re. Tiller.

  147. 147
    feebog says:

    Another example of this is the “ticking time bomb” scenario to justify torture. I have seen numerous conservative pundits use TTB to make the leap that torture is justified under “some” circumstances. No one seems to question the fact that the TTB scenario is about as likely as hitting the mega-lotto, twice. Conservatives love to make shit up, and then run with their premise based on their shitty foundation.

  148. 148
    JGabriel says:

    @Brachiator: Dude, take it up with Walter Williams, not me. I was just providing a shorter version of his thesis.

    .

  149. 149
    El Cid says:

    Even Malkin rebutted her own rebutting of the Mancow waterboarding story.

    But, under the rules of right wing realitizing, it is now true that Mancow was never waterboarded, because some dumbass somewhere says they saw an e-mail or something.

  150. 150
    NonWonderDog says:

    @Laura W:

    And Bill-O is all but gloating over his death, as expected.

  151. 151
    Alan says:

    I can’t believe that no one has picked up on the best part of Grazinski’s article. Look to the right of his picture and what’s the first thing you see — a link to a long boring speech by Franscisco D’Anconia about how awesome capitalism is lifted straight from Atlas Shrugged. Why would anyone even need to read Grazinski’s whole article to know that it was per se crazy?

  152. 152
    Tonal Crow says:

    @feebog:

    No one seems to question the fact that the TTB scenario is about as likely as hitting the mega-lotto, twice.

    Also, no one seems to mention that if the person being tortured really knows where the TTB is, he will try to end the torture by telling the torturers that it’s somewhere else, then hope that its detonation will make further torture impossible.

  153. 153
    dbrown says:

    @feebog: The TTB argument is even more bullshit than that – no jury would ever convict anyone who acted on such a danger if there was reasonable evidence that such a thing was about to occur and they had the key person who could tell them. Any such person who actted in good faith but was wrong would never be convicted.

  154. 154
    Irony Abounds says:

    What’s interesting about the 2005 post is the mix of commenters. This was clearly at a time when John was in the midst of having his eyes open about the faux conservatives that had high-jacked the movement. Not all of the conservative commenters were trolls as is generally the case now.

  155. 155
    Laura W says:

    @Irony Abounds: Even more interesting about the 2005 post’s commenters is that DougJ was first on and got busted for not reading it in its entirety.
    That cracked me right up.

  156. 156
    freelancer says:

    OT, but I just was reminded that Michael Mann’s Public Enemies comes out July 1st. I had totally spaced that, and now that made my hour. Between that, Shutter Island, and The Road, it’s looking like a promising year for movies.

    BTW, is Christian Bale the new Samuel L. Jackson? He’s in everything.

  157. 157
    Dulcie says:

    @Irony Abounds: Yep – I miss Stormy and Darrell the most from that time period.

  158. 158
    JL says:

    @NonWonderDog: Wow, just wow. I refuse to put on FOX News so thanks for the update. So much for personal responsibility and toning down the rhetoric.

  159. 159
    gex says:

    @Dave C: Personally, I’ve tired of the number of times:
    1) I’ve convinced a wingnut relative of their error via snopes and
    2) I continue to have to convince a wingnut relative of their errors via snopes.

    I mean, really, after a while don’t you eventually start wondering, “Is this true?” or at least learn how to look up something in Snopes yourself?

  160. 160
    Rosali says:

    Keep Snopes Alive

  161. 161
    Hugh Jass says:

    I’m looking to file a class-action lawsuit against the producers of “The Never Ending Story.”

  162. 162
  163. 163
    Adam says:

    Detrospective.

  164. 164
    NonWonderDog says:

    @JL:
    “Will no one think of the 60,000 babies who will never be American citizens?” and suchlike. He is, of course, appalled that anyone on “the far-left” would accuse him (Bill-0) of anything inappropriate, and he specifically said that he stands by everything he said about Tiller and retracts nothing. He then went on to blast Kos and Huffington for I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with this guy seriously I can’t watch anymore.

    The worst thing about his show, though, is that it’s so bad. Poorly produced, boring, totally uninformative; I seriously don’t understand what anyone sees in it.

  165. 165
    srv says:

    I heard this myth back when I was in elementary school, and the driver was a rich Arab. That would be mid-70’s, so 30+ years.

  166. 166
    gbear says:

    The Fact That I Am Completely Wrong Is Just More Proof How Right I Am

    Very late entry: Nonfirmation?

    BillO can suck a bag of dicks.

  167. 167
    John D. says:

    @dbrown: MDs don’t sign the body part to be removed — the PATIENT does.

    If you think about it for a second or two, the reason might very well come to you.

  168. 168
    anonevent says:

    I managed to get a wingnut relative to stop sending me email because she got tired of having everything she believed proven wrong. By not sending the mail to me, she can continue believing the crap.

  169. 169
    freelancer says:

    @gbear:

    BillO can suck a bag of dicks.

    “…like each one, one-by-one, or do you want him to suck the side of the bag?”

  170. 170

    @Joshua Norton:

    And the one’s who get really good at spinning their nasty little lies get a gig with Fox Noise.

    And the ones that believe the spin will take a gun to a church and kill another person.

    /sick of people in general, present company excepted

  171. 171
    etoipi says:

    Some clever plays on words here…
    Seems to me that “righting” and “rebunk” have the brevity and staying power necessary (by not being too tied to a specific person or obscure reference). “Righting” is scary in that it could easily become doublespeak… (right=correct) – and lose it’s intended meaning. As far as new words, rebunk gets my vote. (not that voting is relevant… the word will either catch on or it won’t). As was pointed out, truthiness already covers the ground exceptionally well. Rebunk is a verb… is there a verb form of “truthiness”?

  172. 172
    anonevent says:

    @anonevent: and well after the fact, I meant to say by continually sending her references to snopes.

  173. 173
    Dave C says:

    @gex:

    I actually had to learn the hard way. Back about 10-12 years ago when I was around 14, I received and forwarded one of those emails claiming that Proctor and Gamble was run by Satanists (or something to that effect). A few hours later, I received a polite email from one of my slightly older cousins explaining–possibly based on info from Snopes, I can’t remember now for sure–that I was entirely wrong, and that this whole thing was an “urban legend.” I don’t think I had ever really heard of an urban legend before then, and being thoroughly chastised, I vowed to try to never make the same mistake.

    I think some people simply don’t have a sufficiently well-developed bullshit detector. Either that or they have little to no sense of intellectual honesty. I hate being wrong. I hate it to such a degree that I try not say things that I think might be wrong, and I also try to correct “the record” when I do get things wrong. I think a majority of people share those tendencies, but not everybody does.

  174. 174
    chopper says:

    @Palmer Eldritch:

    its so lonely at the top of olympus!

  175. 175
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    This is the fault of Jesus. The Prophet Mohammed knew better than to let females drive.

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @John D.:

    Yep — when I had my knee surgery, I was instructed to draw an arrow to the correct knee and then initial it myself. I also took the precaution of drawing a universal no on my other knee, but the drugs may have been kicking in at that point.

  177. 177
    Dave C says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Wait. . .that was actually kind of amusing. I must be having an off-day.

  178. 178
  179. 179
    hal says:

    “Any time someone suggests that all MD’s sign the part of the body to remove the day before”

    You keep speaking vast generalities. “All MDs” etc. Do you have any links to provide, or studies you can show which state that all mds are against preventing medical mistakes?

  180. 180
    anonevent says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Yep, because he was afraid his wife would wreck the Ford 500AD.

  181. 181
    tigrismus says:

    @Joshua Norton:
    The funny thing about the “strawman liberal fantasy scenario” is that most people I know invariably assume the idiot in question is a righty. Witness the Bork lawsuit mentioned above.

    As for Williams’ assertion that “no one in their right mind would have believed the Merv Grazinski urban legend possible, but not so today,” hell’s bells, man, people have been telling the microwaved pet story since the 70’s, and the overpriced recipe tale apparently dates to the 30’s.

  182. 182
    gex says:

    @NonWonderDog: You have to know something to realize it is uninformative. His viewers actually learn something watching. Which means they cannot know enough to realize that what they just learned is incorrect.

  183. 183

    @Mnemosyne:

    when I had my knee surgery, I was instructed to draw an arrow to the correct knee and then initial it myself.

    Mrs Bruce was instructed to do the same thing with far more sensitive parts, and to include the “NOT THIS ONE” indicator. We decided to use blue rather than red because it’s a friendlier color. Lucky her, the surgical staff could read. No lawsuits!

  184. 184
    freelancer says:

    Do you have any links to provide, or studies you can show which state that all mds are against preventing medical mistakes?

    Uh, lots of snark here, I hope. But I can’t even imagine Dr. Nick Riviera as having your questioned position. “No, please, we all want our malpractice insurance premiums to go up.”

  185. 185
    MTmofo says:

    And then this story pops up.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200.....ss_car_odd

    ZURICH (Reuters) – A car traveling on a motorway in Switzerland lost all four wheels simultaneously, coming to an immediate halt in the middle of the highway, police said on Saturday.

    The car had just stopped and the passengers had changed from winter to summer wheels themselves, a common task in Switzerland where there is plenty of snow in winter, but used the wrong nuts when mounting the new set.

    “When they then drove back on to the motorway, all of the wheels disconnected,” St Gallen cantonal police said in a statement. “Luckily, no one was injured and no other vehicle was damaged.”

    What I bolded makes me ask, WTF? How do you wind up putting the wrong nuts on a tire stud when you just took them off?

    The html shows the whole as block-quoted. Why isn’t it?

  186. 186
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Mnemosyne: ha! I get lippy on those drugs, so when the doc came in and wrote “no” on the other knee, I said, “That spells “on” from my side.”

    I ended up with a giant “yes” on the other knee.

    Guess you had to be there.

  187. 187
    Whores d'oevres says:

    I can see Williams doing advanced yoga poses in the elevator on the way to work… then looking up and asking, “Why are you all staring at me?” Much as he’s performing amazing mental contortions here and is flabbergoozled that anyone noticed.

  188. 188
    SarahLoving says:

    Teflon wunderkinds!

  189. 189
    Martin says:

    Ha—that’s funny, because my husband mentioned that Grazinski case to me just yesterday, and we both completely believed it, just because there ARE such idiots in the world.

    Actually, that’s slightly off the mark. Conservatives agree that there are such idiots in the world, but they think that juries are equally (or more) idiotic. The jury of their peers is the target of their ire, that if only people like them sat on juries (and not liberals, minorities, women, etc), then the country would be a far better place.

    It’s all very democratic, you see.

  190. 190
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim, this is *exactly* like a Bob the Angry Flower cartoon strip. If you haven’t read it, you may likey it. Try the google.

    @MTmofo: I finally bought new wheels to go with our winter tires to save that twice a year $90 remounting fee. The new wheels have different lug nuts. Partly this is due to the fancy hep look of the wheels (even tho they were the cheapest). Fortunately I had stashed the old lugs in an obvious place, and actually remembered to change them with the wheels. 2 months later, the wheels are still on, so I must have done it right.

  191. 191
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Palmer Eldritch, Jon Stewart, is that you?

  192. 192
    Jimmm says:

    “Rebunking” is great, but the first thing that came to my mind was:

    Reshould’veismrepeating something that isn’t, but should have been true in order to confirm your worldview.

  193. 193
    JR says:

    @etoipi: To be honest, I attempted to edit “righting” into “rightering” (as in “the wronger I’m proved, the righter I am!”), but the edit feature was not liking me. Though I think “rebunking” has a very pleasant cadence to it.

  194. 194
    BC says:

    I remember hearing that story about the Winnebago on cruise control in the 1980s, but it was sort of one of those little moron or blonde jokes, not as a true tale. One of the things to laugh at, but not actually think had happened. I think that maybe these sorts of jokes are the birth of urban legends – people tell the jokes but someone in the audience doesn’t get it and retells it as a true anecdote. This happened to me in Napa CA – at our first wine tasting, I remarked to my husband that the wineries bottle the discarded wine under the brand name “Ripple.” A joke between us – but at a later winery, I heard a woman make that same remark in all seriousness, saying she had heard it at the first winery!!

  195. 195
    jcricket says:

    It’s all very democratic, you see.

    I think it comes from the worship of the corporation and of capitalism. Companies can never be wrong, and are the purest, most platonic form of organization. Regulation strangles their god-given right to create, and if left alone, they would self-regulate better than any regulation could ever control them. (Work with me here)

    Therefore, all laws and lawyers are bad, because they interfere with corporations god-given rights to grant us all our glorious economic freedoms ™.

    Maybe I were more drunk this would make more sense.

    I 100% respect the law. I don’t see excess, even in the few cases that I feel are wrongly decided. I instead decide that the benefits we get from allowing everyone to sue, and requiring representation of accused parties (criminally), and so on far outweighs the abuses, at least by individuals, of the system. If anyone needs to be reigned in, it’s the SLAPP-style use of the legal system by corporations with infinite pockets/profits.

  196. 196
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I vote for rebunking. I like it.

  197. 197
    jcricket says:

    I would reserve “The Goldberg Invariation” for something like the notion that “somewhere, somehow, brown people are getting away with something”.

  198. 198
    vaux-rien says:

    I understand the appeal of these stories to conservatives, the whole “poor helpless multinational corporation at the mercy of little old ladies” angle, but couldn’t they just as easily praise Melvin Belli as a free market hero?

    He wasn’t like Ralph Nader, trying to get the government to pass all kinds of evil safety regulations, he was just a guy who wanted to get rich and in the process made the world a much safer place and made probably the greatest contribution to public health since Louis Pasteur.

  199. 199
    Bender says:

    It’s fun to pretend that somehow only one side of the political spectrum (the other guys, always the other guys!) would pull the “gullibullshit,” but last year, some environmental blogs that I read broke the “news” that a tanker ship had come apart off somewhere and spilled tons of oil into the ocean.

    Only it never happened. What they had seen was a comedy sketch from the 1990s depicting an inept politicians attempts to deflect a Exxon Valdez-type accident.

    When called out, predictably, they went with the “It’s not true, but it COULD be!” defense.

  200. 200
    Original Lee says:

    I vote for “rebunking” as the verb and for “truthiness” as the noun.

    A synonym for both could be “liarize”.

  201. 201
    Caramuru says:

    Argument from Fail

  202. 202
    Wolfdaughter says:

    Lots of good thoughts. I particularly like rebunking, Kristolizing, and Kristolnaught for the win.

    Here’s my half-baked idea: Willful misrepresentation (a la George Will and global warming, or actually, almost anything).

  203. 203
    Brachiator says:

    @JGabriel:

    Dude, take it up with Walter Williams, not me. I was just providing a shorter version of his thesis.

    Dude, I was not ascribing the sentiments to you. I was using your post as a convenient place to continue the discussion.

  204. 204
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    Scoff all you want, but you unfunny people who pollute the comment threads of funny blogs ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I think this is because John Cole has certain sleeper instincts left from his Republican days, such as a certain churchly congeniality. If it weren’t for this minor character flaw, he might take issue with the gaggle of dorks clamoring over each other to shout TRUTHINESS IT’S CALLED TRUTHINESS, HAHA COLBERT SAID THAT, TAG IM FIRST all over his blog comments, and decide to nip it in the bud right there.

    “Oh, dang, I must have forgotten about that joke. I was thinking I’d see if my readers could come up with some clever turns of phrase, but you’re right, I should have just said “That’s what Stephen Colbert would call ‘Truthiness.’

    You know, there’s a reason I don’t talk about Stephen Colbert.”

  205. 205
    gbear says:

    the Ford 500AD

    I think that vehicle eventually became the Ford Ranger, the truck that time (and Ford’s engineering department) forgot.

  206. 206
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    OK, look, here is a perfect example. “The Goldberg Invariation” is not funny in the slightest in this context. Does Jonah do this in every post? No, even a jackass like Jonah does not mistake an urban legend for the truth more than once in awhile. Is this behavior specific to Jonah? No. So then why is this joke apt? It isn’t. It’s just a nonsensical pun on the name of something that you are eager to claim familiarity with, and an inane joke at the expense of a right-winger that is as devoid of humor as one of the right-winger’s own jokes. An uninspired stab at humor on the comments of a funny progressive political blog. I may as well complain about Bud Light not tasting very good.

    The exception is alicublog, I think, more than any other. Roy keeps the humps out, somehow.

    Anyway, you know what’s funny? Reshould’veism. Good work.

    But all in all, goddamn the menacing ecumenity of the Internet, the only place in the world where little boys with Asperger’s Syndrome and men John Cole’s dad’s age who just want to talk to somebody can get together to chuckle at trifles and make lists of things the Simpsons mentioned.

  207. 207
    bago says:

    (George) Will to Write?

  208. 208
    gbear says:

    @Palmer Eldritch:

    Metamucil might be just the ticket for you this evening…

  209. 209
    Brachiator says:

    @Original Lee:

    I vote for “rebunking” as the verb and for “truthiness” as the noun.

    Having read through the items here, and even having contributed a few suggestions, I think that rebunk has both brevity and relevance.

    Let’s try it on for size: Wingnuts, ignoring her actual court decisions, insist on rebunking the claim that Sotomayor is biased towards women and Latinos.

    Yep. I like it.

  210. 210
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    gbear,

    If Metamucil is what you guys are taking, that explains why you shit all over every thread.

  211. 211
    Jess says:

    @Palmer Eldritch:

    ppGaz? Is that you?

  212. 212
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    @Jess:

    Hell no, I have nothing to do with the No. 1 professional progressive blog comment refresher’s backpatting agency and social club.

    Got some Matlock to watch?

  213. 213
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    No idea who this Palmer fella is but I’m fucking lovin him. He’s right, ya know: you all suck.

  214. 214
    ronathan richardson says:

    I vote for rebunk, it really captures the spirit of bullshit debunking while at the same time re-creating myths.

  215. 215
    Anne Laurie says:

    Bunk: A claim that is false.
    Debunk: To show that a claim is false.
    Rebunk: To insist that the spirit of the false claim, is nevertheless true.

    Rebunkerism. I love the suggestion that the lugnut responsible is squatting in his hidey-hole, where he thinks the Truth Demons can’t ketch ‘im. Thank you, Steve S!

  216. 216
    JoyousMN says:

    I like @anonevent’s suggestion of Snope Hunting, or I like Snipe hunting.

  217. 217
    Gabo says:

    “Rebunk” is a very convenient little word. Well done. (And a special mention for “Reshould’veism.”)

    I suppose that makes Walter Williams an Arch Rebunker.

  218. 218
    steve s says:

    :-)

  219. 219
    Greg London says:

    Sure, I’ve now learned that X is not actually happening, but the fact that I believed that X could be happening is not, as one would think, a commentary on my foolishness and gullibility, but rather it is a scathing indictment of our societal decline.

    That’s the “Emporer’s New Clothes” syndrome: Everyone else sees the clothes, so who am I to disagree?

    Tinkerbell Syndrome: It’s true if I believe it hard enough.

    But really, it seems to come down to “Argument Ad Populum”: the fallacy that if enough people believe something, then it must be true. (So why bother investigating further myself?)

  220. 220
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    Mosquito Truck, I am just a sovereign citizen who has had enough.

  221. 221
    les says:

    Althouse Syndrome.

  222. 222
    JR says:

    If we want to get technical about it, “truthiness” was really just a restatement of the concept of Frankfort’s “bullshit theory.”

  223. 223
    eyelessgame says:

    Bad bad bad Gabo! I like it.

  224. 224
    Dr. Psycho says:

    And clearly, rebunking and rebunkerism are the result of a rebunker mentality.

  225. 225
    LYNDONJ says:

    I first heard this story in the Fall of 1974. At that time, America was still in the throes of the first Arab oil embargo and the villains/plaintiffs were immigrants from the middle east. It is curious that in 35 years the object of scorn has changed from an alien other to a typical middle American.
    Apparently, we don’t just hate foreigners anymore. We now hate ourselves.
    Obviously, the moral of the story is stupid people and the trial lawyers who love them and all the money they cost normal folks. To change the theme of this bit of attack apocrypha:
    alter the name to that of a white male and the description to that of wealthy, well known Republican Party activist and donor. After the PLUS insert 250,000 for a new motor home.
    With a few changes, the message of the story becomes Republicans-who claim to hate lawyers- turn to the courts instantly when in trouble and more importantly “if you are so rich, how come you’re so stupid?” Why should we listen to anything rich Republicans have to say?

    Email widely and proudly.

  226. 226
    Alex says:

    @Palmer Eldritch,

    OK, look, here is a perfect example. “If Metamucil is what you guys are taking, that explains why you shit all over every thread.” is not funny in the slightest in this context. Does gbear do this in every post? No, even a jackass like gbear does not mistake a childish “I know you are, but what am I” type of schoolyard taunt for humour more than once in awhile. Is this behavior specific to gbear? No. So then why is this joke apt? It isn’t. It’s just a reversing of something that you are eager to avoid familiarity with, and an inane joke at the expense of a blog poster that is as devoid of humor as one of a right-winger’s jokes. An uninspired stab at humor on the comments of a funny progressive political blog. I may as well complain about Bud Light not tasting very good.

  227. 227
    brantl says:

    Wrongenfreude or wankenfreude. Wrong- because they wish they weren’t wrong but they just figured out that they are, and wanken- because they wish they weren’t wankers, but they just figured out that they are.

  228. 228
    brantl says:

    Or, better yet wrong&wankenfreude!

  229. 229
    brantl says:

    Palmer Eldritch. Blow yourself. You know you want to, and you know you can, if you just try hard enough. Take a couple of years off from being a wanker, and give it a concerted effort.

  230. 230
    brantl says:

    Snipe-shilling

  231. 231
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    Clearly, I won this thread.

  232. 232

    […] the sidebar of Making Light–a habit I encourage.  On PNH’s sidebar, I came across this.  It’s brief, take a moment to read […]

  233. 233
    paul says:

    @JR

    It’s a little different from bullshit theory, because bullshit not only doesn’t require any connection to actual fact, it also doesn’t require any connection to what someone might want to be a fact. It’s just a bunch of spew that sounds like it makes sense and completely derails an argument. Rebunking at least has a connection to what the speaker would like to believe, which suggests that they’re not in the Bullshit Zone, where belief is a quaint 20th-century notion.

  234. 234
    hank says:

    Fictigation

  235. 235
    Gerald Fnord says:

    Semi-circular reasoning.

    (Actually, it’s more of a figure-eight, but that lacks euphony.)

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