Where the Years Go
I very much enjoyed Pascal Wallisch’s “An Odd Sense of Timing.” According to the article, boring times seem longer when they are actually experienced but shorter when they are recalled, whereas active times seem shorter when experienced but longer when recalled.
Perhaps this explanation helps us to understand why, as we age, the days may seem to pass slowly while the years seem to fly by. Assume that there is increasingly less novelty and more similarity in our days as we get older. Then, according to the research cited, our days as we live them will seem increasingly longer, whereas our memories of those days will seem increasingly shorter. The end result is a mismatch between elapsed chronological time and the shorter-seeming psychological time that we remember as having elapsed.
Where do the years go? Apparently they are swallowed up in our memories of our less than exciting days.
Refusing to Be Duped
In “Getting Duped,” Yvonne Raley and Robert Talisse ask how the true situation in Iraq became so grossly distorted in American minds. They state that they do not think the deceptions were premeditated.
Perhaps Raley and Talisse have never heard about the White House Iraq Group, which White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card founded seven months before the invasion of Iraq. This group, chaired by Karl Rove, was created in August 2002 to market the Iraq War to America. Its escalation of rhetoric about the danger Iraq posed to the U.S. was part of the Bush administration’s plan to sell the idea of a war.
The Bush administration used not only the rhetorical devices Raley and Talisse describe but also outright misrepresentation to sell the Iraq War to the American people.
New York City
I was disappointed by “Getting Duped.” It seems the authors were not interested in discussing the subject in any serious way but simply wanted to express their political bias.
What I got from the article is that conservatives dupe the public and, by omission, liberals do not. Tripe. By the way, the authors conveniently forgot that Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania did call for immediate troop withdrawal, contrary to their claim that “nobody” called for such action and, therefore, Bush was invoking a “straw man.” In fact, the whole article was an example of how we are often duped by others and how people dupe themselves.
If I see any further articles like this shallow, politically biased one, I will cancel my subscription.
RALEY AND TALISSE REPLY: We received many letters accusing us of political bias based on the examples we chose, but such complaints are entirely beside the point. To charge someone with committing a fallacy is not to claim that his or her conclusion is false—in fact, it is not even to necessarily oppose the conclusion. Rather such a charge is simply to say that the argument does not support (much less demonstrate) the truth of the conclusion. So to say that, for example, President Bush has committed the “straw man” fallacy on some particular occasion is not to imply any evaluation of his position. Because nothing in the article entails a judgment about the truth of the positions promoted by those used as examples, it is difficult to make sense of the charge that the article is “biased.”
When identifying a fallacy, what matters is the form of the inference, not the content of the premises. We chose the examples in the article because we deemed them likely to be familiar to a general audience.