Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Fourth Type of New York Times Commenter.

The New York Times, in discussing the woeful case of the Margaret Seltzer, the latest memoirist to admit to fabricating her entire life story, highlights a comment made by a "fiction writer" from glorious Ambler, PA. His name is Seth Pollins and he writes: "I'm a fiction writer. I lie through my teeth. And yet, every single word I write is pure autobiography." This, however, is idiotic at worst and superfluous at best. His artugment has nothing to do with the case of Ms. Seltzer as any LSAT student would know.

Pollins justifies Meltzer's actions by pointing out that though he writes fiction, "every single word" he writes is "pure autobiography." Fair enough though it clearly seems like a case of miscategorization. He errs however in implying the converse of the statement is true; that Meltzer would be correct in saying, "I'm a autobiographical writer Any yet every single I write is pure fiction." This is a clear example of illicit conversion, the logical fallacy whereby "argument...entails the arbitrary assignment of a specific trait of a set to one of its subsets." All wolves are animals therefore all animals are wolves, for example.

Anyway, throw another type onto the NYT commenter pyre: logically vexed fiction writers from North Philadelphia suburbs!