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February 26, 2009


In both cases the expression of ignorance is a rhetorical device. It's a way to say that the item is obscure. To take it literally and observe that the information is available via google misses the point.

Curiously, the two examples show the device for opposite purposes. Steele meant to desparage Obama's "stimulus" bill; Gerson (I think) meant to praise Jindal's knowledge by emphasizing that his expertise extends to something exoteric.

This is a rhetorical device, but it goes beyond simply saying a topic is obscure. It is belittling the person who cares enough about an topic to know details. It is saying, "I don't care about that topic, and I'm above details." It elevates ignorance to higher status than knowledge. As the great pundit Stephen Colbert acknowledges, conservatives don't like to bother with facts, when they can use their guts to think.

mahjady, I agree that Michael Steele's attack on fish barriers was silly. However, the Dems in Congress showed their contempt for facts and details when they passed the momentous "stimulus" bill with no hearings and with no Dem in Congress having read the bill.

Let's face it: we're governed by a bunch of ignoramuses in both parties whose primary skill is kow-towing to special interests.

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