October 13, 2002

A DEFENSE OF PURE FISKING: Bill Herbert isn’t impressed with CalPundit’s “Fisking” of the Gettysburg Address. He points out that just because it’s possible to do a bad Fisking hardly discredits the form itself. (Any more, I might add, than Madonna’s latest cinematic effort discredits the entire art of film.) The same holds for a number of other allegedly-hilarious parodies that I’ve seen on other lefty blogs.

Herbert points to a recent effort of Tim Blair’s as an example of Fisking done right. I also like this one, where Blair unpacks a lot of dumb hidden assumptions and exposes some rather creative use of quotations, which perhaps explains why so many lefty journalists dislike the very idea of a Fisking. Er, and of Tim Blair, it sometimes seems.

UPDATE: I just got home and fired up the laptop after dinner. On rereading this post it seems a little mean to CalPundit Kevin Drum, which wasn’t what I intended at all. I think that Fisking is a very valuable blogging technique when done well. I also think that it’s fairly hard to do well — and that the harsher it is, the harder it is to do it well (i.e., in a fashion that will convince people who don’t already agree with the Fisker 100%). I don’t know whether Kevin meant for his post to be a critique of all Fisking, or just bad Fisking. I can agree with him on #2, though I read it as #1. What I will say is that Tim Blair can get away with things that I probably wouldn’t try, because, well, he’s Tim Blair and he’s a better writer than I am.

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