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: Opera dumbs down with new technology in desperate effort to survive.

Lebrechtomatic says: Ticket prices hit record high.

Lebrechtomatic says: Extinct in the wild, jazz only survives in museums.

Lebrechtomatic says: World’s most obsessive traditionalists upset by change. Sound the trumpet.

Lebrechtomatic says: When the conductor displaying humility opened the seventh seal there was silence.

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.

1 Not to be confused with the classic horror movie or its deeply regrettable remake.
2 I’m sorry to say that the machine is imaginary: it’s a thought experiment.



Post a comment
  1. FK #
    August 20, 2010


    Can we also please have an iMorrison, which starts by praising innovation in the arts, then concludes that everything was better in the old days?


  2. Collin Rae #
    August 20, 2010

    Lebrechtomatic seems to have much in common with my father and his knack for smashing all of my pleasantly ignorant illusions.

  3. August 20, 2010


    Throw away your garlic and your wooden stakes!

    Order both the Lebrechtomatic(TM) AND the Sandownista(TM) together and receive a complimentary [stet] copy of Prof. Harry G. Frankfurt’s best-selling blockbuster, ON BULLSHIT ( — It’s BETTER than a GINSU !!!!

    And if you order NOW, we will throw in Logogriffin’s patented De-Fawning Device. Plug it into your laptop and it automatically erases all content-free responses to any Arts Journal blog.

    (Void where prohibited by law.)

  4. George Dickel #
    August 20, 2010

    Likewise related is to say a performance was “Midgettisoned”: (scroll down)

  5. August 20, 2010

    OMG. I cannot wait for the Sandownista.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Why We Should Listen to Greg Sandow « Là ci darem la mano

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS