Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Megan McArdle

It's not easy being Megan McArdle. Despite the fact that she is the world's greatest pundit ever (just ask her!), it seems that enormous success, achieved entirely through hard work, dedication, innate superiority, courage and pluck, has its drawbacks. There are people out in the intertoobs, horrible people that do horrible things for utterly unknown reasons, things that harm wide-eyed and innocent pundits. For no reason!
When Someone Tells Lies About You on the Internet  
by Megan McArdle Jan 24, 2013 5:24 PM EST    
Don't assume it's true just because someone bothered to type it 
James Lasdun has an incredible piece on what it feels like to have someone making up crazy stories about you:

What follows is a longish quote from a very long article about a writer and teacher who was stalked by a crazed student whose advances he had rejected. Naturally McArdle is moved to link to this article, as she suffers herself from constant and unjust criticisms. For example, Ezra Klein bothered to type:
The argument you’d get for leaving prices in the hands of the private sector is that you get a much better product with much more innovation, much of it cost-saving. That’s clearly not happening in American health care, as America’s care is not, in general, measurably better than that of other nations. The more sophisticated argument you hear for why we need to spend so much more on health care is that by spending more, we’re subsidizing the medical innovation that makes other countries’ systems so good. That’s a more interesting (though unproven) argument, but I doubt that Americans would be happy to hear that the reason our health care costs so much, and needs to continue costing so much, is that we have a duty to subsidize the French.

 McArdle never did answer that question.

Perhaps McArdle is peeved about something Noah Smith typed:
Megan McArdle has committed three large mistakes when discussing health spending and the national debt. These mistakes are: 1. She does not label Medicare as "healthcare" spending. 2. She uses data on cost growth rates to try to rebut a point about cost levels. 3. She uses only current spending figures, when everyone agrees that the health care deficit problem is going to really bite starting a few years from now. Bloggers and opinion writers, please take note: If you want to make the case that America's government is spending too much on non-health items, you're going to have to make a better case than this.
Or Jonathan Chait:
Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism, McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication. Newsweek, I award this essay no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
 
But we have no way of knowing who Megan McArdle is talking about, or what they actually said. All we know is that McArdle says people are telling lies about her people. On the internet.
"Where there's smoke, there must be fire" is pernicious balderdash, especially in the age of the internet, when the only barrier to the number of crazy lies you can tell is the speed at which you can type. And yet, we are all seduced by the feeling that if someone bothered to write it down, it must be true. Why would they bother, otherwise?

 Exactly! I have often wondered why so many people believe whatever McArdle writes, just because she typed it out.  I guess this explains that phenomenon.
But of course there are crazy, or merely vicious and revenge-bent, people who do stuff like this all the time. Which we should remember every time we read an indignant diatribe against someone we don't know, by someone we don't know. Yes, it would be insane to make this sort of thing up. But there are a lot of insane people on the web.

 It certainly is nice of McArdle to warn us about all the vicious people on the internet. Especially since she obviously is not a victim of this phenomenon; she does not mention one single critic of her own, does not claim that anyone is telling lies about her, and does not mention a single, solitary lie being told about her. But people tell lies on the internet, so watch out!

It seems that someone on the internet is concerned about someone's reputation, perhaps because someone is realizing that she might be looking for work in the near future, now that someone's employment is not quite as prestigious or secure as someone thought it would be. And certain someones have lately acquired a slightly damaged reputation, which is what happens when someone decides to tell children to rush gunmen firing semi-automatic weapon. Or lie about statistics. Or support rampant polluters. Or reject equal rights for gays. Or support the gutting of the middle class and enrichment of the obscenely wealth.

For example.

11 comments:

Downpuppy said...

This being Megan, she just assumes that a fiction writers story, with names changed, is completely true.

Susan of Texas said...

She is hopelessly gullible.


The comments to that post ask her why she can't just sue. All she needs to do is prove that the lies being told about her are actually lies.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Don't assume it's true just because someone bothered to type it

Typical Meegan: zero lack of self-awareness.
~

Anonymous said...

Susan of Texas

I enjoy reading your blog because of the entertaining stories about McMeegan. I went to Noah's blog to read "Jane Galt's" response to his comments. What a great read. It is long but so rewarding.

KWillow said...

Arglebargle ought to chat with some of the victims of Foxnews lies and slander... she'd know what it's really like to be "lied about". And she'd know about the money-making aspects of lies.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Typical Meegan: zero lack of self-awareness.

It is difficult to get a "person" to admit to something when their livelihood depends on them not understanding it.

Lurking Canadian said...

As we learned from the prophet Gingrich in 2012, it is a filthy lie to quote a conservative verbatim.

Susan of Texas said...

I want more information about these lies. Doesn't she know that if someone lies they must retract their statement(s) on request or they can be sued? Surely the best way to stop someone from lying is to point out the lie and demand that the liar stop and retract his lie. It's not nearly as effective to simply make a blanket statement that people lie on the internet, and ignore questions that seek to know why she doesn't just sue the liars every time they lie. That'll stop them.

Lurking Canadian said...

Especially since repeated lawsuits by everybody and his sister is what is supposed to replace governmental regulation after the libertarian revolution.

Susan of Texas said...

How expensive could it be?

mew said...

It's difficult to come right out and say, "Anybody who accuses me of suggesting that we teach young people to gang rush mass murderers is a liar," when you actually did suggest that we teach young people to gang rush mass murderers.