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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Painting with a Broad Brush

Here's a great explanation of the hypocrisy I identified earlier this week. It's from Stanley Fish, in the NYT Opinionator Blog, August 30, 2010:
If the bad act is committed by a member of a group you wish to demonize, attribute it to a community or a religion and not to the individual. But if the bad act is committed by someone whose profile, interests and agendas are uncomfortably close to your own, detach the malefactor from everything that is going on or is in the air (he came from nowhere) and characterize him as a one-off, non-generalizable, sui generis phenomenon.
Fish was writing about the NY mosque proposal (which Sarah Palin and other Tea Party members oppose), comparing it to the original reaction to the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing -- before Timothy McVeigh was identified as the perpetrator.

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