Confirmation bias is the fancy name for ignoring everybody that disagrees with you. It’s a well-documented phenomenon that might just explain how the doomsayers of the arts world read the same news as us but draw radically different conclusions.
The Straw Man fallacy is a silly name for distorting your opponent’s position until it seems ridiculous1. It’s a bit like the Reductio ad absurdum (where you point out that your opponent’s position actually is ridiculous) but it’s more fun and less honest. Don’t worry, though: most liberal arts professors (and newspaper editors) either can’t tell the difference or don’t care. You can decide for yourself which is going on in this post. Here endeth the epistemology lesson.
For your entertainment and edification I present the Lebrechtomatic2: a machine that ingests benign news stories from ArtsJournal and turns them into groundless anecdotal evidence for the steady decline of, well, everything really.
Lebrechtomatic says: Ticket prices hit record high.
Lebrechtomatic says: A provincial newspaper’s ridiculous HR dispute will signal the arrival of four horsemen.
Lebrechtomatic says: I saw Heather Mac Donald dance with the devil.
Coming soon: The Sandownista – a robotic revolutionary that predicts imaginary crises in order to sell quack cures, taking the credit for solving any crisis that fails to materialize as predicted.