Monday, November 26, 2007


Fear is such a widespread and versatile commodity; one that is commonly and effortlessly exploited as there is always a steady and willing stream of buyers and rebuyers. One reason for that is that any counter-argument allows the accusation that somehow the terrible thing in question is being defended. Even when that thing doesn't really exist in the way described, or if in fact at all.

A few years ago Daniel Radosh did a fine job deconstructing an example of this which focused on the world of 'internet sex-slave trafficking'. And lo and behold, the real exploiters have duly arrived, inevitably in the guise of Hollywood, and made a film entitled Trade about the original subject matter as if it did really happen. Even if you pick out a negative review, its essential criticism is that this undeniably exploitative movie isn't real enough. That the movie "does little justice to the young girls who are prey to these bands of international slime".

In other words false presuppositions (original article) loaded onto false presuppositions (the movie) loaded onto false presuppositions (the movie reviews) that become almost impossible to challenge without (in this case) taking a pro child internet sex-trade stance.

I would suggest that it's this fearmongering cycle that causes much real collateral damage. But when's someone going to challenge the fear itself - and its mongers? I don't see a queue forming.


David Cotner said...

"Where there is no imagination there is no horror." — Arthur Conan Doyle

Ea-M. said...

A less touchy subject would be that of organ-trading. Apparently the norotious asian/eastern-european syndicates stealing and trading organs, has given up prowling the slums of Moscow, Culcutta and Bangkok. To maximize profits. minimize risk of exposure and enhance their image of morally conscientious citizens working for the good of humanity, they have undertaken the new method of hacking themselves into offical listings of organ-donors in werstern-european countries, handpicking and seeking out their victims among middleclass highschool students.
I totally get that...

William Bennett said...

yes, indeed

another related example is the recent phantom sightings in Morocco of little blonde girl Madeleine McCann who went missing in Portugal - essentially a product of the age-old scare stories of the white slave trade

Fat said...

..... or Cleveland 1987

Frank said...

This reminds me a bit of the whole 'Satanic-sex-ring' scare in the 80s centered on Jordan, Minnesota that turned out to be entirely false.

Did Albini ever later correct the statement he made on Atomizer about that?

Frank said...

The Johnny Gosch story may also be applicable.

DMC said...

Seeing as you recognize that child sex slavery, however exaggerated a problem it may be in the media, is essentially "wrong," you know, a "bad thing," I'm curious about the length of your relationship with Peter Sotos who undoubtedly enjoys such things. The disparaging comments you made in a much earlier blog regarding pedophile priests raised in me the same question. The singer from Whitehouse decrying this deviant behaviour? Shouldn't you be cheering it on? Or at least be glad that someone's abusing the little ones? I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
Oh, and Albini never retracted his whole "Jordan, MN" hoopla; just check the liner notes to Pig Pile.

Ea-M. said...

DMC: Did Sotos rape you when you where underage? If so, i agree the bastard should suffer severe blows to nether region. If not, please show me some hard hard facts. Because i do not like the sentiment of judgeing ANYBODY on behalf of personal likes/dislikes.
To picture and describe isnøt the same as condone. I personally like rape on movie, because it's bloody potent, expressive, very sufficient discus the complexity of power and so on... Do i deserve to be raped because of that?

Ea-M. said...

I know i shouldn't even reply to this, because it doesn't lead anywhere...

One of those thins you cannpt discuss without being pro/con...

William Bennett said...

'dmc' (or whatever you're calling yourself this week), apart from the ironic fact that you seem to be party to exactly the phenomenon described, you're misguided on nearly every somewhat cowardly point you quasi-anonymously (if not slanderously) make, and ea-m is absolutely right in challenging you

Jeff said...

Wenatchee, Washington, USA was the site of a huge child sex ring abuse scandal that was apparently found not to be one after all.

Wenatchee was also once known as the prozac capital of the world.

Another weird sex abuse case from Washington State with satanic overtones, involved a Pierce County sherrif's deputy (and local republican party official) named Paul Ingraham, who confessed to abusing his daughters as part of a satanic sex abuse ring. After time served he recanted this story (as did his daughters) and blamed it on the suggestions of the psychologist/hypnotist who initially questioned him. I had difficulty finding the full official story of this on the internet.

And from Scotland, the strange estrangement of Jim and Katrina Fairlie:

An ex-girlfriend of mine once claimed that in her teenage years she was, as part of her sentencing for crimes commited, sent to a youth work camp in Oregon run by a mysterious family who, at some point, took her out into the woods and made her drink from a goblet of blood. When I asked for more details she would become very upset. She was also, in my view, crazy as a coot.

Apologies if some of these links don't appear in full.

Jeff said...

The Paul Ingraham situation occured in Thurston, not Pierce County. Sorry.

DMC said...

I'm wrong in saying that Sotos unabashedly enjoys the idea of child torture and rape? Having read all of his books I'm pretty sure that this assertion isn't totally off-base. I'm also unsure of why you think my comments are "cowardly." I was asking you a question, that's all. I'm a big fan of Whitehouse and Sotos, so I wasn't trying to slam you. But is it really so very strange to you that one would question the concern for children expressed by a man with such past associations?
And as I've never posted here before, i don't know what to make of your "whatever you're calling yourself this week" remark. Perhaps you've confused me with someone else? I don't keep up w/ all your comments pages so I don't know. Anyway, thanks for responding.

William Bennett said...

dmc, to answer your direct question (which is, respectfully, in itself based on several false presuppositions, and one that you could presumably also ask yourself?) - no, I don't find it at all strange that someone would ask that and for the very same reasons that I articulate in this posting, although coming from an individual positive to my work it is admittedly somewhat disappointing

Jeff said...

The ex-girlfriend I mentioned in a previous post, while at times emotionally volatile and frighteningly irrational, may actually have been forced to drink a goblet of blood by some family that ran a juvenile work release camp. I really don't know one way or the other since I wasn't there to experience it firsthand.

Same goes for these links:

Miss Kerry said...

DNC has confused a "fascination' with a 'like' which are far different categories.

Miss Kerry said...

"undoubtedly enjoys such things,
The singer from Whitehouse decrying this deviant behaviour?
Sotos unabashedly enjoys,
unabashedly enjoys the idea of child torture and rape..."
reply of WB -"which is, respectfully, in itself based on several false presuppositions"

Interesting. WB, you take the stance that these assumptions come from originally false presuppositions ( rather than direct attack )

"A fallacy is an argument that uses poor, or invalid, reasoning; "which appears to be correct but is not."
"Fallacies of presumption fail to prove the conclusion by assuming the conclusion in the proof. "
(My own assumption being this next one, is what they are falling into error with)
"Fallacies of weak inference fail to prove the conclusion due to insufficient evidence."
making false or misleading comparisons (false equivalence and "false analogy); generalizing quickly and sloppily (false generalisation), insulting someone's character (argumentum ad hominem),

In philosophy, the term formal fallacy for logical fallacies and defined formally as: a flaw in the structure of a deductive argument which renders the argument invalid.
Logical form alone can guarantee that given true premises, a true conclusion must follow. However, formal logic makes no such guarantee if any premise is false; the conclusion can be either true or false. Any formal error or logical fallacy similarly invalidates the deductive guarantee. Both the argument and all its premises must be true for a statement to be true.

False Analogy: In the context of measurement, this error in reasoning occurs when claims are supported by unsound comparisons between data points, hence the false analogy's informal nickname of the "apples and oranges" fallacy.

Appeal to probability – is a statement that takes something for granted because it would probably be the case (or might be the case)

Base rate fallacy – making a probability judgment based on conditional probabilities, without taking into account the effect of prior probabilities.

Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance, argumentum ad ignorantiam) – assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be proven false, or vice versa.

Begging the question (petitio principii) – providing what is essentially the conclusion of the argument as a premise.

Circular reasoning (circulus in demonstrando) – when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with; sometimes called assuming the conclusion.

Fallacy of composition – assuming that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole.[

False equivalence – describing a situation of logical and apparent equivalence, when in fact there is none.

Mind projection fallacy – when one considers the way one sees the world as the way the world really is.

Proof by assertion – a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction.

Proving too much - using a form of argument that, if it were valid, could be used more generally to reach an absurd conclusion.

Reification (hypostatization) – a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a "real thing" something that is not a real thing, but merely an idea.

Faulty generalizations – reach a conclusion from weak premises. Unlike fallacies of relevance, in fallacies of defective induction, the premises are related to the conclusions yet only weakly buttress the conclusions. A faulty generalization is thus produced.

Miss Kerry said...

Cognitive bias's
Ambiguity effect The tendency to avoid options for which missing information makes the probability seem "unknown.
Availability cascade A self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse (or "repeat something long enough and it will become true").
Base rate fallacy or base rate neglect The tendency to ignore base rate information (generic, general information) and focus on specific information (information only pertaining to a certain case).
Belief bias An effect where someone's evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by the believability of the conclusion.[

e.g.- the argument is flawed in too many ways to even continue asking why it should or can be answered.

Miss Kerry said...

to cope with one crap argument, is like you said WB- a giant looping back monster?
Like my examples here( which I haven't even bothered to show how they for those three earlier statements. Ive bored anyone who actually read that, long enough Im sure.

I just don't get how you could assume Sotos( who is rather odd in some ways to me) enjoys or otherwise put any sort of emotion on that argument, without giving specifics( say, a interview if someone professed
such enjoyment.)
Or assume William is all for it. Or even that,what with all the interviews William has EVER done, not grasping that he might be doing some things, in art, for effect- as one does, in art, for the performance or in calculation of feeling ( example, horror movies. Do we ask Cronenburg if he enjoys crashing cars, sexual disease, wives who abuse and hideous diseases as a hobby???
If so, WHY....