Appeal to Fiction – FT#86

Appeal to Fiction – FT#86

Show Notes

The Appeal to Fiction Fallacy is committed when someone tries to use something that happened in a work of fiction to back up their claim about the real world.


We started out with this clip of Trump making various claims about the border, many of which were in fact things that happened in the movie ‘Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado’:

We followed that with this tweet about one of his favorite films:

And finally in this section we talked about this tweet from Don Jr and the general over(and mis)-use of 1984 by Republicans:


Mark’s British Politics Corner

Mark talked about these three clips from Boris Johnson’s speech to the UN about climate change:

Then we looked at the time former Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made a typically Johnsonian classical allusion when Boris was standing right there!:

Fallacy in the Wild

In the Fallacy in the wild we looked at this clip from Clerks (the animated series):

Then we discussed this amazing exchange from an episode of the podcast ‘Be Reasonable’, where Marsh talked to Christopher Anatra about the Mandela Effect.

We followed up with this excerpt from Q Anon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening, suggesting Hollywood is boasting about child abduction:

And finally, we talked about the antivaxxers who believe that the plot of the movie ‘I am Legend’ proves them right somehow.

Fake News

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. Why does he have to talk about it? You know the movies: shoot first, talk later? Right? Right? Shoot first, you talk about it later. But why does he have to do it? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I like that movie, right? Don’t we like it? Remember the bad: boom – from the bathtub. Shoot first. The guy was doing too much talking up there, right? Shoot first, talk later.
  2. What the hell were they thinking, giving them best movie of the year. Best movie? Bring back some of the great old movies, like Citizen Kane – that’s a great movie. Or Gone with the Wind. Can’t we get Gone with the Wind back? Remember that? With the rebels? “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn”. Whatever happened to movies like that? They can’t make them today.
  3. He made up a story; it was total fiction. And then at the end, he said, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” That’s a mob statement. Very famous statement in numerous movies, one in particular. That’s a mob statement. “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” He said that I said that. He said that I said, eight times, “quid pro quo.” Well, there were no times “quid pro quo.” Nothing.

Click below for the answer

Mark got it wrong for the first time in ages this week, and is now back down to 50%


Halyna Hutchins is not a logical fallacy

We talked about the tragic accident on the set of ‘Rust’, and right-wingers’ glee that Alec Baldwin was involved in a shooting.


The stories we really didn’t have time to talk about

  • Given the lacklustre way in which the January 6th Select Committee seems to be following up on enforcing subpoenas, you might be forgiven for thinking they’re not doing much, but a Rolling Stone article last week revealed what some of the people involved in planning the protests have been telling the committee. They’ve detailed dozens of planning meetings in the weeks running up to January 6th where they met with exactly the kinds of Congresspeople you would expect, including Madison Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Green, Mo Brooks, Lauren Boebert and Paul Gosar – you know, all the ones who have desperately been downplaying the seriousness of the insurrection ever since. You might remember Gosar as such a piece of shit that six of his own siblings campaigned against his election, or maybe you just remember that he’s a dentist, and therefore an expert on body language. Two of the protest organizers report that Gosar offered them ‘blanket pardons’ on multiple occasions to encourage the protest objecting to the certification of the election. One said “Our impression was that it was a done deal, that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval … in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up.” Both sources claim the planning was restricted to the protest at the White House ellipse and not the events at the Capitol, which kind of makes you wonder what those blanket pardons were supposed to be for?
  • Given Trump’s relationship with the truth, let’s face it it was to a large degree why he was ultimately banned from broadcasting his version of it on social media, it’s somewhat ironic that his new social media platform is called TRUTH Social – yes in CAPITAL LETTERS. Announced on Wednesday and due to launch in 2022 it’s part of Trump’s grand gamble to create a new media empire to compete with Netflix and Disney+ for streaming TV, and even go after Amazon and Google with new cloud hosting services designed to be “non-cancellable”. ‘Natch within hours it was hacked – kind of – a beta version of it was discovered and quickly populated with appropriated faux accounts under the names of Donald Trump, Donaldjtrump, Mike Pence and even not-Q no, not at all, not me Ron Watkins. Former Republican National Committee official and conservative journalist and Trump’s new personal spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington, excitedly tweeted how she was looking forward to posting her first TRUTH on the network, where you can also re-TRUTH other’s TRUTHS onto other other’s TRUTH feeds, despite the beta testing site being quickly filled with Pig Poop Balls memes. Further truths about the network are hidden in the fine print; whilst being a platform that “encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology” rule 17 states that you are not allowed to “harass, annoy, intimidate or threaten” anyone who is an employee of the site or one of its agents, rule 23 that you can’t “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” and rule 20 which says you can’t tweet er TRUTH using “excessive capital letters” one of Trump’s favourite shouty tactics. On further digging hackers revealed that the whole entity is run by CEO of China Yunhong Holdings Ltd as part of Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) which also describes TMTG+, a streaming service for “non-woke” entertainment, claiming “a massive market opportunity” to build a “non-cancellable global community” and “galvanise a conservative media universe”. Turns out the whole thing runs off Mastodon, a free, open source piece of software that allows people to set up their own social networks, which requires anyone who modifies it to make their own source code publicly available and to acknowledge where they got it from. Staunch TRUTHer Trump hasn’t of course, and now Mastodon’s founder Eugen Rochko is considering legal action. But far be it from us to point out the failings of the doomed enterprise cos that’s being mean and we’ll get banned.
  • Twitter announced last week that according to internal data, their algorithm does tend to amplify right-wing politicians and news sources more than left-wing ones, and I’m sorry to say that it’s kind of my fault. Well, not just me, but everyone who just can’t help themselves from taking the piss out of Republicans.  Researchers at NYU’s Center for Social Media and Politics looked at how frequently various politicians get ‘ratioed’. For the non-Twitterers, that means when their tweets get way more replies than retweets, suggesting that people are arguing rather than agreeing with them. Ranking all Members of Congress in order, the most ratioed are supposed Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, but the next 18 in the list are all Republicans. And it seems like all this interaction is causing the GOP’s message, along with all our pithy, well thought out and hilarious responses, to be spread farther and wider. Sorry/not sorry.
  • You’re in with the MAGA in crowd – I am – ooh who’s your doctor you look so well – why it’s Doctor Stella Immanueloh? – yeah she’s great I can agree the fuck out of everything she says: masks are useless, she’s told us she’s effectively used hydroxychloroquine on her patients – yeah all makes sense, what’s her background before Covid? – oh proper qualifications: endometriosis – oh yeah? – caused by people dreaming about having sex with demons – uh-hu – alien DNA is being used in used in medical treatments – of course – scientists are planning to use vaccines to stop people being religious – mmmhmmm – and now she’s revealed that the devil has filled the world with clones and they will assassinate those who refuse to take the mark – the vaccine you mean? – For sure; the mark of the beast, cos the Moderna vaccine contains luciferase which is the name of the beast – what you mean the same harmless enzyme luciferase that’s the active ingredient in fireflies and isn’t actually in Moderna? – no, everything about this vaccine has 666 – yeah yeah the number of the beast.  Yeah that’s right, isn’t she amazing? – She’s out of her bleedin’ mind – Hey where you going? – Look with medics like her how we gonna bring down Fauci?  Come back we need you, we’re going to make it all great again, again….
  • You know how sometimes you’re working on a group project at work, or in college, and there’s that one member of the group that wants to do things a bit differently, and kind of makes it weird? Well four parents have banded together to sue the Bucks County Pennsylvania school district in an attempt to fight the district’s mask mandate. Three of the parents talk about their families philosophical objections to mask wearing, and cite problems their children have faced including difficulty breathing, depression, anxiety and migraines, all of which they attribute to the mask requirement. The fourth parent, Shannon Harris, echoes some of her co-litigants claims, and adds “The Harris family identify as Christian and believe that it is against God’s will to wear masks because wearing masks interferes with their religious duty to spread the word of God and forces them to participate in a satanic ritual.” She doesn’t go into detail on which satanic ritual her kids feel compelled to perform purely due to the small piece of fabric on their face, but the lawsuit was already total bullshit before they added the batshit, so it’s not really going to make much difference. 
  • Democrat Terry McAulliffe is renewing his bid to be governor of Virginia having been that from 2014-18. Slavering Trump acolyte Republican Glenn Youngkin is up against him. Glenn pretty much needs all the help he can get if he’s going to prevent McAuliffe getting in in an election viewed as a bellwether for the Democratic Party’s chances of hanging onto their Congressional majorities in the 2022 midterms. So who’s weighed in to back Youngkin but Rudy Giuliani. Fresh from his…er… astonishing impression of the Queen of England lying about something, he posted a video using a face filter of Abe Lincoln to lie about the old debunked claim made against McAuliffe when he was Chairman of the DNC during the Clinton administration. In another (if not the same) well several, execrable accents he exhorts Virginia to “vote against the man who dishonoured our past by selling my bedroom hundreds and hundreds of times to scoundrels in a pay-for-play scheme!” “In my time, we had a name for men who sold bedrooms for one night. In your time, the name is Terry McAuliffe! End the Clinton sleaze once and for all!” Patricia Arquette responded: “You couldn’t help but go all Adolph at the end right?” and writer Frank Lesser wrote: “Congrats, Rudy. This is the second-worst thing a bad actor did to Lincoln.” Needless to say, Mr Youngkin, with friends like Rudy I wouldn’t want to hang about Ford’s Theater either!. 
  • In case one piece of North American science-denying parental protest news wasn’t enough for you this week, we bring you the anti-vaccination parents of Guelph, Ontario, a dozen of whom planned to disrupt a school board meeting to protest about the district’s vaccination policy regarding school sports. They arrived in the parking lot of the school board’s office at 6.30 last Tuesday and discovered that the meeting, which was being held over Zoom, had already been going for half an hour, having started as scheduled at 6. The protesters ended up just holding signs up outside the window, which said things like “The jab won’t make a better player”, which suggests they really missed the point of the vaccinations, before everybody left, having only wasted their own time.
  • Here in the UK we had a new budget announcement. All were agog at what it would hold; would the rich get taxed and the poor get helped – ahhh, nope. Chancellor Rishi Sunak made lots of announcements which involved Corbyn-sized socialist allocations of money to health, education and the police. So shocked were we that nobody noticed he was simply using the “end of covid” as cover to reintroduce funding for the very sectors that had been cut by more than he was giving them over the last decade and a half by the same government. The voters however will love it cos human psychology being what it is, we can’t remember that we used to be able to afford to put the heating up to 25 degrees this time last year, but now we’re just soooo grateful that cos of Rishi we can now put the heating up to 20 from the freezing measly 15 we were able to last week. Bloody Labour would be spending billions then taxing the rich to claw it back, not like the fiscally responsible Tories spending …er…billions and taxing middle-income earners till their pips squeak – again! Hot on the heels of a removal of the fuel duty being applied to passengers taking internal flights, the entire cabinet flew to Glasgow for the COP26 environmental summit, where Boris said “we must all act together now or it all fails”, which basically gives him the out for not following up on any of his promises whilst blaming those countries in the global south who are suffering the effects of the fortune-making industrialisation that they were never a part of for not doing their bit by NOT shutting up about support, and remuneration. Greta of course went, by train, but has not been invited to speak. After all, what does she know of contemporary environmental commentators like Kermit the frog? She’s too damn young and naive!!

That’s all for this week, thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

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