Undermining Your Own Argument

Apparently Leftist blogger Meg Lanker faked a rape threat against herself in an attempt to Conservatives look bad.  OK, this is sad and pathetic, even more so because it is almost guaranteed that her political allies will first forgive her, and then defend her actions as some sort of brave and necessary action to fight patriarchal... uh, whatever.    It is also an incredibly dangerous action at a university, given that the Obama Administration has demanded that schools eliminate due process from on-campus sexual assault allegations and tilt their judicial process, such that it is, against accused male students.  Had she done this at, say, Yale and actually framed a particular guy, that guy would probably be kicked out of school already.

I won't add any more critique of Ms. Lanker.  Just assume that I am appalled by her actions.  But let me raise an issue with the Conservative critique of Ms. Lanker:  No one seems to be able to resist the temptation to comment on her looks and her weight, two things that (to my knowledge) are absolutely irrelevant to the discussion.  They are just completely ad hominem.  Stacy McCain engages in it, for example.   The posts on this Facebook page (which perhaps is a hoax itself, given the ungrammatical and frankly absurd wording of the header phrase) are even more abusive in this same vein.  Seriously folks, it is rather undermining to your argument that Lanker was exaggerating the boorishness of men with her fake threat when you jump on her Facebook page and engage in boorish ad hominem attacks.

Update:  Holy moly did I get the wrong link for the Stacy MCain post.  I will leave the link above as-is because it is kind of funny.  I had this link on my clipboard because I wanted to suggest them to my teenage daughter as a way to deflect unwanted (by dad) male attention.  The Stacy McCain link is here.



  1. marque2:

    She is an ugly, fat dyke


  2. marque2:

    Hairy, did I forget to say hairy.

    Actually I am not sure if those are truly conservatives writing the comments. There are lots of folks who just like to stir up trouble on the Internet.

  3. ErikTheRed:

    Link to Stacy McCain is incorrect, unless he's gotten a lot leggier since I last check that site.

  4. Jody:

    It's not entirely irrelevant as sexual attraction is a key component to rape (20 yr olds are much more likely to be raped than 55 yr olds...), and she's not exactly attractive...

    Thus pointing out her unattractiveness lends credence to the argument that it was a hoax.

  5. tjic:

    Well said, Warren.

    Even though my blog has been down for over two years now, one thing that I still regret was attacking Robert Reich with a long string of adjectives...and one of them was "short".

    Attacking people for their physical attributes is fun in the moment, but it's not very ethical, and it doesn't help one convince the undecided middle.

  6. Morven:

    Looks like some people just couldn't resist proving the post's point.

    I'd say rape THREATS are a completely different thing to incidents of rape, though. Rape threats are intended to intimidate, scare, silence, or infuriate someone; I doubt anyone asshole enough to employ one actually cares whether they actually physically desire the one they're threatening.

    They're also rather unconnected to the actual likelihood of someone actually doing what they threaten, I feel, though someone who thinks it's acceptable to threaten rape probably has fewer scruples against actually doing something that vile to someone.

    I'd note here, too, that age is correlated to more than physical attractiveness and it's flawed thinking to jump from "Younger women are more likely to be raped" (assuming we can trust those statistics in the first place) to that. Younger women are also more likely to be naive and take fewer precautions against assault; they are more likely to be in an unfamiliar environment (e.g. college, new town for first job, etc), are likely to be perceived as less likely to fight back or be resourceful in prosecution or other consequences for the rapist. Young women are more likely to be single and looking, or with a partner they don't yet know well (rapes by dates or boyfriends are quite common). They are quite likely to be poorer judges of others (the young tend to be). They are more likely to take risks (again, a common trait of the young).

    As far as attractiveness, she's no model, but from a quick Google, she's not ugly either. Just normal-looking. Plenty of normal-looking women get raped every day, and I think it's ridiculous to have this idea that only swimsuit models get raped.

  7. marque2:

    I can't believe the government still allows sowing the seeds of Rape!


  8. marque2:

    I am not sure if rape and beauty coincide enough to make your claim worthwhile. There may be a propensity, but enough 80 year old ladies/old age home folk get raped for me to disregard your comment as valid.

  9. obloodyhell:

    True, but since The Left uses such ad hominem techniques all the time, and I'll call one of my own on it if it occurs, they are HARDLY the ones to be daring to make any comment about it.

  10. obloodyhell:

    Yes, by all means, show us how the statistics are consistent across the board regardless of age, that being the thing that would justify your disregard.


    Yes, it's hardly the sole factor, but I would be willing to bet the chances of a woman young and pretty would be notably higher than old and ... "aged in appearance". I'd also lay odds the same can be said for attractive vs. ugly.

  11. obloodyhell:

    I don't think that's what is being claimed.

    And I would not say she's UGLY, but she's certainly... "porkulent":
    If a girl like that gets raped its likely because she's more desperate to get into a relationship and ignore/rationalize the signs that it's not going to go well.

  12. AIG:

    On that facebook page, they posted the American flag as the banner. Here's what one of the Leftists had to say about this "Jeff Hoffman Burn this piece of shit." (I left the "man's" name on it for posterity's sake)

    Sometimes, we just have to sit back and let them say what they really want to say.

  13. Morven:

    Life experience says that ad hominem arguments are a people thing, not a left or right thing. I've not noticed any tendency to general ethical superiority of the behavior of either of American's two broad-brush political strains.

  14. Morven:

    I've noticed that desperation and insecurity happen across the board, actually. As do ignoring the bad signs in a relationship.

  15. Morven:

    I'd say it's insufficiently strong a correlation to ever use attractiveness as a sorting mechanism for working out how believable a claim of rape is.

    Rape strikes me as primarily a crime of opportunity; some men have a propensity for rape for whatever reason (and I don't think that all rapists rape for the same reasons) and will rape when they believe they can get away with it. The research suggests that a very large proportion of rapists know their victims, which strengthens my belief that their predation is a matter of opportunity.

  16. MingoV:

    Rape is more about power than sexual gratification, so the appearance of the victim often is irrelevant.

    Teens and young women are more likely to be raped primarily because they are more likely to takes risks. They are less experienced and often have poor judgment (especially after using intoxicants).

  17. marque2:

    True, but when prominent leftists do it they get excused. When prominent Right wing guys say even mild things - or accidentally say things (slip of tongue) they end up resigning.

    There is definitely a double standard when it comes to judging.

  18. marque2:

    Hmm, I don't understand your point here. No-one claimed only lefties are insecure.

  19. Matthew Slyfield:

    The link only goes to an image not a web site.

  20. marque2:

    I am guessing younger people rape more - but they tend to go after folks they think they can rape, rather than folks who look good. The trill is usually the rape, not that they got the hot girl in school.

    That is why there is the problem I mentioned in the old age homes. Doesn't get much coverage though.

  21. mesaeconoguy:

    I've used the short card on Reich as well, but it helps to substantiate your distaste for his appearance and demeanor with evidence of his incompetence, e.g. his lack of an economics degree (I believe he does have a Poli Sci degree, whatever that is, and a JD).

    Reich is a detestable troll, with insane views on economics and "social management." Enough said.

  22. mesaeconoguy:

    This technique also works with the pejorative and accusatory “racist,” which I witnessed firsthand at an Eastern liberal arts college back in the late 80s.

  23. herdgadfly:

    I don't think that Robert B. Reichhh's physical status is the only place that he comes up short, When he ran for governor of Massachusetts, he published a campaign book entitled "I'll be Short." If Randy Newman doesn't have to apologize to short people, then you too are off the hook, tjic.

  24. jdgalt:

    Incredibly dangerous? Yes, to whatever guy might get blamed if the stunt had worked as intended, but unfortunately I doubt either her school or the police will do anything at all to Ms. Lanker.

    Still, I hope this incident leads to a much-needed political backlash against this new federal rule. If we can't overturn it, maybe at least we can persuade another school or two to follow the path of Hillsdale College and refuse all federal funding rather than submit to the strings that come with it.

  25. mesaeconoguy:

    Stop insulting Michelle Obama.

    Ok fine.

  26. Jody:

    To all those saying rape is all about power or opportunity or some such and not about the attractiveness of the victim, consider the following:

    1) Increasing availability of Internet porn decreases the incidence of rape, e.g., http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2006/10/how_the_web_prevents_rape.html

    Thus getting your nut off is clearly a significant part of the equation.

    2) Nursing home rape by orderlies. Opportunity and power just about maximized in this scenario, but victim attractiveness is *really* low. Now while you hear all sorts of stories about nursing home abuse, you don't about elder rape. (Not that it doesn't happen. But it's very rare. Sorta like searching for "x fetish" on google will find some site somewhere dedicated to that fetish. But for the vast majority of the cases, having both power and opportunity doesn't do it if attractiveness isn't there.)

    Summing up, without the opportunity and the means, things don't happen, rape included. But saying victim attractiveness is not a key aspect of why person A is raped and person B is not (or would be more likely to be) is foolish.

    This is even more important when we're talking about rape fantasies, as we were in this case. (Initially, the fantasy was of some imaginary conservative, then later we learned it was tubby's fantasy.)

    To convey just how dumbfounded I am by the masses in these comments downplaying attractiveness to a rape fantasy, I analogize ya'lls line of thought to someone asserting a thief's daydreams of the big score are equally likely to be of a 60 inch HDTV as of a 12 inch black and white TV.

  27. JR:

    “The feminist movement was created to allow ugly women access to the mainstream of society.” -Rush Limbaugh

    I thnk McCain and others were implying a similar thought. It's funny, but funny because it's probably more true than anyone knows.

  28. marque2:

    I am sorry, rape is a power thing, an opportunity thing and a thrill thing. Beauty doesn't really come into it. The rape a beautiful woman is most a fantasy. In a way it is unfortunate they no longer publish pictures of the victims of rape - you would see they are ordinary looking gals.

  29. marque2:

    Agreed. Couldn't have said it better myself.

  30. skhpcola:

    You doth protest about ad hominems? The guy that was just painting all conservatives with a broad brush on the immigration issue? Really? There you go again, drifting into Lartard Land with dishonesty and an undeserved sense of moral superiority.