I occasionally get caught out by straw-man arguments. A subtle mangling of my position and I find myself defending something I don’t believe. I’m much more aware of this tactic now, and notice it more than I used to. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t take much. Right after Ahmadinejad’s now-infamous “we don’t have homosexuals in our country”1, he said:
Maybe you think that being a woman is a crime. It’s not a crime to be a woman.
Ha. Take that, America.
I don’t know about the rights and wrongs of inviting total dickheads to speak at universities. They shouldn’t be stopped from doing so, of course, but I can see the argument that it gives them a platform. The issue tends to rest on their public speaking skills – there’s also always the danger of eloquent and charismatic speakers giving a good impression and swaying at least some of their audience. Not thinking of anyone in particular. Happily, it appears that Iran’s president is simply rubbish, and is getting the drubbing he deserves.
- I love how even the translator can’t help a mocking tone [↩]