A Dead and Buried Credibility

I mention this exchange in my online article, but I also post it here because I'm still laughing about it! This was from my first online confrontation, with a jerk who initiated a discussion with me by misrepresenting everything I had written. Eventually, my watching his every move for a while paid off, because I caught him citing an article he had obviously never read. My first post here calls this individual on his deception, while the second "eulogizes his credibility." After a feeble response, this individual was so devastated by getting back what he had dished out so freely to others that he fled the forum in (well-earned) disgrace!

Subj: A-------: Caught in the act
Date: 94-11-16 19:45:00 EST
From: BasFawlty

Bas: On 94-11-14, T--------- posted "Esquire?" on the Rush Limbaugh folder, in which he said the following:

T---------: A--------, I finally got to go to my local library to find this Esquire article, which you mentioned, only to find the latest issues checked out. Fortunately, the library also keeps reference copies which I can still look through without taking home with me, and I spotted two articles which you may have been possibly referring to. UNfortunately, I didn't read them there or copy them because they were so long. And I'm not about to go purchase the magazine unless I know if it's the right issue. If you'll be so good as to tell me whether either of these articles is the one you referred to, I'll go do my homework. If neither one is it, I would really appreciate it if you would simply tell me the issue and title of the article. The two are: 1) "End Game" (from Dec '94) 2) "Pat Robertson's God, Inc." (from Nov '94).

Bas: On 94-11-16, A-------- posted "Re: Knock-knock (A---------)," from which the following is an excerpt:

A-------: Actually Bas, what T--- said was that he had found two Esquire mag. articles, but they were too long, so he wasn't going to read them. Then he asked me to do his reading for him. I decline.

Bas: Please notice something about A--------'s response. Besides the usual glaring misstatement of what an opponent has said (a characteristic of A----'s postings, and one remarked on by M----- and myself where we have been misrepresented), view the portion "he wasn't going to read them [the articles T-- inquired about]. Then he asked me to do his reading for him. I decline."

It seems fairly obvious that A-------- has here unwittingly admitted to us that he lied about having an article to back up his statements. If there were really an article, A-------- would have no "reading" to do, but could simply say, "T--, you will find the article 'Lying Windbag Rush' by Mr. Potato Head in the January '94 issue, which will prove my point." Or A--- could honestly admit that he didn't remember specifics but believed such-and-such issue would have the article. (Even if this later proved to be mistaken, one would have to give the benefit of the doubt credibility-wise to A-------, since the citation would have been made with such a caveat. We would credit good faith to A--- under such a scenario despite A----'s unwillingness to extend it to anyone else who argues with him [accusing people of lying, hatred, and so on].)

But lo and behold, A------ states clearly that he would have to do T--'s "reading" for him, which clearly shows that A-- never read the alleged "recent Esquire magazine article" in the first place. It seems that T--'s listing of two possible titles for A--'s hypothetical article should have jogged the latter's brain at least enough to say, "No, those are incorrect." But A-- doesn't even do this, plainly because there are no memories of an article to jog!!!

I will take no notice of A---------'s hysterical attacks on my sources (which he presumes to know better than I do, despite the fact that I've read them and he hasn't. But what do you expect from someone who won't even take the trouble to read his own sources before using them in a debate?). It is clear that it is well past time to bury the last shreds of A-------'s credibility. Lower it decently, gently, into the soft earth. Let the spring flowers be laid over the green turf of the gravesite. And let a fitting tombstone be placed, reminding us of the cause of its death; to borrow the words of its now-credibility-lacking master, it died of "A false exaggeration, made to make a point that couldn't be made with the truth."

Subj: Eulogy for A----'s credibility
Date: 94-11-20 14:26:02 EST
From: BasFawlty

(Well! Since T--------- has been kind enough to bring the shovels, the least I can do is offer the eulogy . . . . )

Beloved brethren and sistern: We have gathered here to pay our respects to A------'s credibility. Given the solemnity of this occasion, I had pondered a number of Bible texts as a basis for this eulogy. But in deference to our grieving friend A-------, whose acquaintance with Scripture is obviously of the slightest, I will restrict myself to one verse, Proverbs 18:13: "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him."

O my brethren! What is man? what is life? what is debate? What is the stuff of debate, but facts and inferences from the facts? What have we when we draw inferences without facts? We have an argument which is as lifeless as a body without a soul and spirit! Do I hear an amen?

When such an argument begins without hearing a matter, drones on without knowing a matter, and closes with no facts to support a matter, may we not say 'tis folly and shame unto him that makes it? May we not say it is a dead argument? May we not say that A-------'s arguing has become cold and lifeless, now that his credibility lies here dead and unable to give it life? O brethren, this is a sad and lamentable thing!

A-------'s credibility was not strong, but it was a tender thing born of our hopes. Yet despite our desire that it live and flourish, it sickened and died.--O the pity! O mourn with us, friends! See the grieving master of that credibility, A---------, half wild with despair, babbling nonsense and drivelling unsupportable assertions to his fellow mourner, Mr--------- . . . who scarcely notices while continuing to chant his frenzied mantra, "Reagans, not Clintons; Reagans, not Clintons!"

O friends! I exhort you to comfort A-------- in this time of grief. Bear this heavy loss with him. Keep him from hurting himself by asserting his delusions, but treat him gently nonetheless. A person whose credibility has died, who is therefore crushed and broken on the rocks of argumentation, must receive our deepest sympathy.

I close by stating that I firmly believe in the resurrection of the dead, no less in the case of people's credibility than in the case of their persons. Even something as stone dead as this credibility may rise again, given a change of heart on A-------'s part. I remain hopeful that someday such a change will take place.

(End of eulogy. Let's dig the grave deep, T---!)

© 1996 by T.L. Hubeart Jr.

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