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Argument from authority

It turns out that Cranky Old Guy does not sing solo.

Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute said much the same thing that I did about J.K. Rowling, and said it twice.

And Edward Rothstein expressed similar sentiments in The New York Times.

So there.

Posted by John McIntyre at 11:53 AM | | Comments (3)


So there.

Well, harrumph. Why don't you take your ball and go home, then.

I don't doubt you aren't alone in your opinion, sir. I just doubt that that opinion's terribly good for anything but getting those damn kids off your lawn.

Sorry, but this isn't suburbia anymore. It's no longer your lawn to play on. Just because a handful of Well Placed Citizens express an opinion does not make it the truth. You strike me as the sort of fellow who considers Richard Cohen a liberal columnist.

As for "argument from authority," it's a very telling title to your post. It occurs to me that what really offends you is that a) someone with authority, e.g. Rowling, might encourage the empowerment of the riffraff, and that b) said riffraff, e.g. yours truly, may dare to offer a substantive argument for our own empowerment.

The "argument from authority" or "appeal to authority" is one of the traditional fallacies in logic.

Should I explain "irony" next?

I suppose I walked into that one. Fair enough.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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