The Limits of Debate Fallacy


‘An increasingly common variant of such a tactic takes the form of a self-designated umpire who joins in with online disputes by asserting their authority to police the limits of debate. They declare that if they (a typical, reasonable and fair-minded person) find something hard to understand then it must be wrong or mere sophistry; that if they find something too extreme it must be completely insane; that if they feel someone has gone too far then they must have.’

– “Can you spot a rhetorical fallacy?” The Guardian, 13 September 2013

Freedom of Speech Anecdote


When Dr Samuel Johnson had finished his great lexicography, the first real English dictionary, he was visited by various delegations of people to congratulate him including a delegation of London’s respectable womanhood who came to his parlour in Fleet Street and said ‘Doctor, we congratulate you on your decision to exclude all indecent words from your dictionary.’ Whereupon he said ‘Ladies, I congratulate you on your persistence in  looking them up.’

The Authority Fallacy


‘A lot of fallacious forms of argument cluster around the use of “authorities”. It is often necessary in argument to make use of some kind of authority – if only because we want to refer to facts and findings. But authorities can also be used as a way to bully opponents by suggesting that in failing to agree with some venerated source they must themselves be weak-minded, ignorant or wildly and dangerously at odds with common standards.’

– “Can you spot a rhetorical fallacy?” The Guardian, 13 September 2013

Gricean Maxims


According to the linguist Paul Grice, the cooperative principle is a norm governing all cooperative interactions among humans. The principle consists of four maxims:

  • The maxim of quantity, where one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as much information as is needed, and no more.
  • The maxim of quality, where one tries to be truthful, and does not give information that is false or that is not supported by evidence.
  • The maxim of relation, where one tries to be relevant, and says things that are pertinent to the discussion.
  • The maxim of manner, when one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity.

“The greater the ambiguity, the greater the pleasure.” ― Milan Kundera

Death is #2


‘I saw a thing, actually a study that said: speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing. Number two, was death. Death is number two? This means, to the average person, if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.’

Seinfeld, J. (1998). I’m Telling You For The Last Time. Broadhurst Theatre, New York: Universal Records.

The Mental Disorders of Mr Bean


Mr Bean seems to be merely a child trapped inside a man’s body, looking at the world with a bright awe in his face, constantly doing silly things. Bean is never seen to question his actions, but accepts everything he does. What is going on behind that innocent grin and wide-eyed expression?

“Phil, you’re just an eight-year-old trapped inside a twelve-year-old’s body.” – Glen Cullen, The Thick Of It

Throughout the entire original series Mr Bean mostly speaks with mumbles, or one word responses like “Bean”. Monosyllabic word choice could link to possible autism, Asperger Syndrome, or possible Savant Syndrome as all of these are usually accompanied by lexical hindrances. Bean is Socially Awkward. His life-long friend is a Teddy bear and his closest human relationship is Irma Gobb, which is frosty at best. This furthers the theory of Bean registering somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, as he either struggles to form social relationships, or chooses not to. Mr Bean possesses an apparent vulnerability, he is innocent and sweetly naive yet selfish and highly vindictive when he wants to be. He switches between these two modes like a child in his pre-teens. And, like any child, his first duty to himself is look out for himself – scratch the surface and you will discover that Bean is a highly selfish character.

“I think Mr Bean is a very uncynical character, he is actually very open and entirely self-centred and a highly vindictive character when he wants to be. Not at all pleasant, but at the same time I do not think he has any malice in him.” – Rowan Atkinson

Whenever Bean encounters the blue Reliant Robin (a three-wheeled car) he has to damage it, overtake it, or even try to knock it over. This behaviour could be an example of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Bean often gets himself into all manner of scrapes. Now, while it is true that a lot of the time the problems he creates for himself are completely his own fault, he does manage to come up with spectacular solutions time and time again. His original thinking and problem solving abilities do certainly point to some sort sort of above-average intelligence. All things taken into account, Mr Bean’s main disorder – if you can call it that – is probably High Functioning Autism.

9/iv mmxv


There are more living organisms in a teaspoonful of soil than there are people on the Earth.

One fourth of all the milk produced in Ireland is used for producing Baileys.

During the entire Second World War, as far as we know, there were only two casualties on Greenland – a Danish and German soldier.

During conversations most laughter happens after banal comments, not funny ones. Only about 10-20% of comments before laughs are even remotely funny.

The ancient Romans sold pee collected from public urinals; those who traded in urine had to pay a tax.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Historical Rhetoric Twitter Style


What if Twitter had existed for over two centuries? Mankind might not have experienced the beautiful prose, witty quips and moving rhetoric produced by some of the world’s foremost speech writers. Here are some examples of the most famous English speeches of the past two hundred years as they would have been written on Twitter.

“Less is more.” – Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto

Abraham Lincoln
“The Gettysburg Address”
19th of November 1863; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, United States

Tweet
This nation is conceived in liberty. All men are created equal. Government of/by/for the people shall not perish from the earth. #Gettysburg

Winston Churchill
“We Shall Fight on the Beaches”
4th of June 1940; House of Commons, London, Great Britain

Tweet
We shall defend our Island whatever the cost may be! We shall fight on the beaches, landing grounds, fields, streets, hills. #neversurrender

John F. Kennedy
“Ich Bin Ein Berliner”
26th of June, 1963; Rathaus Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany

Tweet
Freedom is indivisible. When one man is enslaved, all are not free. Free men, wherever they live, are citizens of Berlin. #IchbineinBerliner

Martin Luther King Jr.
“I Have a Dream”
28th of August 1963; Washington, D.C., United States

Tweet
I have a dream that black&white boys&girls join hands as sisters and brothers. My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty. #freedom_ring

Barack Obama
“Yes We Can”
4th of November 2008; Grant Park, Illinois, United States

Tweet
Hope of a better day. Change has come to America. We’ve never been a collection of red&blue states. We are&always will be the USA. #YesWeCan

Niles: What happened to the concept of “less is more”?
Frasier:  Ah, but if “less is more,” just think of how much more “more” will be.
Frasier (1999) Season 7, Ep. 13; “They’re Playing Our Song” [No. 157]