Monday, April 12, 2010

Ad Hominem Tu Quoque

Some days I can delude myself that all is well. Saturday was one of those days: beautiful weather and Naomi was her charming best. She is a very striking girl. The nasty brown dye she put on her hair is mostly gone and she styled her hair in long ringlets. She has a pretty smile and can be quite engaging when she isn't angry. She was very polite and friendly to whomever spoke to her at the shower. Fast forward to yesterday. I knew she had a big assignment on argumentative fallacies and needed much help as logic, to really understate the obvious, is not her strong suit.
Where are you? I kept calling. Eventually she came but she rather show me all that she registered for. Every last thing was pink. Now the baby is probably a girl, key word probably, but even so, who wants their baby to be in a sea of pink(not me!-very little pink for my girls). What happens if, help us, she has a boy later? By the time we got down to tackle her assignment, she was tired and crabby. I wasn't explaining things well enough..on and on. I reminded her that going to school was to help her not me and the day she realizes that, maybe we could say that she is on the road to maturity. I left the room and told her I would help her when she could control herself. Instead she left muttering something about quitting school (less than 3 weeks left). Well that certainly brightened my day and I was left to obsess about it most of the night. I did call today to make sure she did go to school and whether she was able to finish that assignment. She was able to give me the answer I wanted (that it might not be true is another issue.)

Ad Hominem Tu Quoque fallacy example:

Girl of Naomi's acquaintance: Having a baby while a teenager is bad because
it leads to poverty, disruption of education, lack of a childhood, tough on the
baby itself as you are not prepared, no committed father, etc but I am having
one anyway.

Naomi: Oh so since you are having one, it must be OK. I am going to have
one too.

The fallacy: Just because the arguer contradicted her first statement by
her actions doesn't invalidate her first statement.

As for metaphors, Josh had watched that same episode of the Gervais show making fun of silly adages. He is quite clear on the concept of an elephant in the room. We've dealt with a whole herd of them. He brought up a few more in his life while we walked and talked yesterday. He didn't understand the stitch in time, saves nine one though even though they illustrated it with a cartoon showing a hole in the shirt that the wearer ignored quickly turning into a bigger hole that now will take 9 minutes to repair vs one minute. Josh would just throw the shirt away. For me, with my old lady eyes, it would take me 9 minutes just to thread the needle. I wouldn't throw the shirt away. I'd just leave it in my pile of clothes that would be OK if I'd fix them if I ever got around to it and eventually, years later, throw or give it away as it no longer fit. He understood the simpler version an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Why don't they just say that in the first place?

So a bad night with my mind going to all kind of dark places. I ran for a long way without stopping this morning in an attempt to put things right. I then went to pick up Julia, who had been away for a few days (thus I had more of Josh) at the airport. She is a good daughter-in-law. Eleven years ago shortly after they met, Josh excitedly told me about her fine qualities, one of which was that she ate. Really she actually eats? The penultimate girlfriend did NOT eat. Josh didn't mind at first (cheap date, anyone?) but then questioned her friends. They never saw her eat either. Hmmm. Turns out she had other issues too.

After I dropped her off (she was nervous about Josh locking her out of the house-seems like they have a big key shortage there), I went to buy materials to jumpstart my garden. I ran into a soccer dad I hadn't seen in many years (you get close to these parents on the many trips for travel soccer). Just as I was telling him about Josh's life, Julia just happened to walk by (Josh left no food in the house) and I said Well there's his beautiful wife right now! She is very beautiful but as someone has said, doesn't seem to know it. She had caught up to me as I had sat in the parking lot for some time listening to the end of Dvorak's 8th Symphony, very inspiring.

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