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America's spelling and grammar comes under the glare of David's beady eye. How do you think the Queen feels about the wanton abuse of her English?

One of the core components of a skeptical world view is knowledge of logical fallacies – how to recognize and avoid them. And one of the more common fallacies we encounter is the argument from authority – arguing that a particular claim is likely to be correct because it is being made by some authority figure. In practice this is a bit tricky, as defending a claim with a consensus of appropriate scientific authority is perfectly reasonable. But we reject arguments from inappropriate authority (like celebrity endorsements) and recognize the quirkiness of individuals, and so no individual authority is ever very compelling.


 

Comments

The Nobel nutjobs article is interesting. As bad as Pauling's vitamin C goofiness was, Montagnier's is even worse. It's bad when someone like Pauling extrapolates a few facts about basic chemistry into clinical conclusions - but Montagnier appears to think DNA is magic - with chemical/physical properties that are not bound by the laws of physics and chemistry.

Although Freeman Dyson wasn't a Nobel laureate, I remember reading a Salon interview with him a couple of years ago in which he confidently stated that 'polar bears like it warm'. Amazing (and discouraging) that fame can make even a few eminent scientists stop asking basic questions that would conflict with their preconceived notions.

David Mitchell is just astounding. If you think "yeah, those rants are funny, he's good at writing rants" you're so mistaken. Those rants apparently came out cause his actual live on-the-spot rants have become legend. Do a youtube search for his TV appearances in other shows, but only if you have a lot of free time.

I sent that to Norm because I wondered if YOU had seen them - I should have known better, I suppose!

I like to think of 'David Mitchell on a Rant' as how I might have been when younger, had I been more talented, cleverer and better looking - not to mention more well-spoken than I actually was (or am).

Comedians and comedy writers often get a bad rap for not having "real" jobs, but I find the most educated ones are the funniest. I mean, we're not talking Dane Cook here (and since you're in the UK, if you don't know him, don't bother, or at least don't blame me after you google him.)

I just want to put on record that I think it is wonderfully kind and generous that one of the premier English Newspapers allows the ungrateful colonial to watch these videos with no charge or bother, while the very same ungrateful colonial b*s put up blank video screens for me saying "Sorry, videos are not currently available in your country" when they patently are NOT sorry and the actual fg video (in this case the Daily Show) is actually broadcast on UK terrestrial TV! Typical american incompetence and ingratitude ;-)

Apologies - it should have read f*g.

And maybe it should be uncompetence and ungratitude? I will have to check with Merriam-Webster's.

Apologies - it should have read c*yb*by

Thanks for that, T*m.

I got totally confusticated and went to http://cybby.livejournal.com/ in the (mistaken, obviously) belief that your previous post had something important to refer me to. Don't go there!

David Mitchell is just another in a long line of boring, public school effete Brit twats who think Americans are all idiots. Fuck you and fuck your "centre" and "theatre" and "realise" and all of the other boring French words you cling to as if this makes English richer. It doesn’t, it just makes it harder to learn. And piss on your "half past" and "a quarter till" bullshit way of telling the time. Join the digital age already. It's ten-thirty (10:30) or eleven forty-five (11:45) or seven ten (07:10). And stop saying "I have got" when "I have" works just fine and conveys the same meaning. And stop pretending that every single British citizen is some sort of grammar genius. And maybe I’ll start saying “shall” for the future tense when I’m about 110 years old or dead, whichever comes first.

I wish I had a penny for every time someone on British television suggested that all Americans are fat and stupid, it’s like the backbone of recent British comedy. I would be insulted except I couldn’t really care less what people in that dreary little island think about us. I can’t think of anything worse than a grammar bore. Scolding others about grammar doesn’t make you smart; it makes you a cunt.

Feel better now?

BTW - what exactly is 'leftbanker' rhyming slang for?

Ouch! Those references to the colonies irk me too. :) But I do like David Mitchell.

Mitchell's rants are obviously exaggerated to the absurd, that's his schtick. You'll see him rant about people who say that such coffee "doesn't taste like coffee" ("I mean, doesn't it taste a bit like coffee"), and preferring to have an Apartheid for smokers and non-smokers where they can't socialize with each other just because he doesn't wanna look out for his smokers friend's iPods and purses when they go out for a smoke.

"I could care less." means that the mere fact that I'm taking the time to even speak to you is representative of me caring too much about what ever is going on. I'm letting you know that what ever level of engagement I'm currently at, there is room for me to care less, and... hint hint... I'd rather moving my caring rating in that direction.

"I could not care less." Is a lie, as obviously you care enough to speak. Thus you should have kept your mouth shut and walked away if you were at rock bottom on the care meter.

Americans 2 (+1 for the Revolution) Brits 0

American's have an expression for "I could not care less", we say "I don't care."

I used to say: I could care less, and then follow it with, in fact I think I will.

i always use "could" at the beginning of a sentence, as in "i could care less WHAT you think!", and "couldn't" at the end of a sentence, as in "as for what you think, sir, i couln't care less." also i'm pretty sure i always use "couldn't" when writing, along with many other britishisms and spellings, as a result of a steady diet of british childrens literature as a wee tad. i hate americans who do it as an affectation but with me it's more like a disease.

but seriously, why do people care so very much about these things? i know i have my pet peeves too but i couldn't imagine devoting an entire lengthy comic bit to all the silly things the brits say, as mitchell does here with americanisms, and expect to be taken seriously (?) as a comedian. it's kind of juvenile and quickly boring (yeah, i get it) i thought.

leftbanker, kickin' ass with the rant, there! nice one. i hope pedantsareus doesn't take it personally. i'd say a rant for a rant is fair, no? i've certainly had my ass handed to me enough times after some rant or other.

Thank you JB, but I never take any come-backs to stuff that I write under a pseudonym personally, as I believe no-one should. As for DM - he ain't doing too bad at being taken seriously as a comedian and if you look at the Guardian archive of his rants you will see he covers a lot of ground - the greater part of which is against various British rubbish. One final thing - no-one has responded to my question on rhyming slang. If you have any difficulty try here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn9YiF3gPAM

Yeah, we got t it the first time. You—in your very passive-aggressive manner—wanted to call me a wanker. Just say it then. If I wanted to call you a name I wouldn’t go about it in such a roundabout fashion. Insults tend to lose any sort of bite when you filter them through other words and then reflect them off of a video clip that is only marginally related. I may have seemed a bit thin-skinned in my initial comment but I’m not easily insulted; I was merely pointing out how I’ve noticed a lot of “Americans are fat, dumb twats” messages on British television—as if all Brits are genius bodybuilders (not the case judging from tourists on Spanish beaches).

I’ve never understood why cultures use the term for masturbator as an insult. In America it’s rarely employed as a pejorative (jack-off). Greeks are quite fond of this word (malaka) but they practically invented homosexuality. Upper class Brits took the torch of the Greeks and ran with it. I suppose these folks just see beating off as a wasted opportunity to have your mate or your headmaster do it for you.

You seem to take offense that I didn’t find the original video to be the least bit clever (it isn’t). I mean, is the fact that a handful of people say “I could care less” a problem worth mentioning? And “hold down the fort?” Who gives a crap how anyone mangles that stupid expression? I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life. And to start off his “rant” (more like a bitch fit) by invoking the queen is truly the wrong way to make a plea to Americans. Here’s a little phrase we coined you people should study and memorize, “All men are created equal.”

Point one - I suggested the posting to Norm as I knew that Andyo was interested in Mitchell and this was in the latest offering he had - his second programme of the new series which I saw tonight was quite a bit less funny - not worth recommending to Andyo (or anyone for that matter). Point two - I don't really care if you find it clever or not. Point three - the 'rant' was specifically aimed at amusing the British who watch the programme and who have been brought up in recent times to accept the “Americans are fat, dumb twats” message as acceptable, just as Americans are brainwashed into the view that the British are "boring, public school effete .. twats". Next time you see the words "David" and "Mitchell" together relating to a video, TV show or posting I suggest you don't watch.

Apologies - I actually suggested Norm should post that as a RESPONSE to Andyo's comments on the newest Mitchell & Webb programme excerpt about pedantry.

Just as an aside I understood that Jefferson used a statement from Philip Mazzei to produce the phrase "All men are created equal" http://tinyurl.com/2cd2mo7

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