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Monday, May 01, 2006

Comment Type #10

THE FISK

A Fisking is a long, point-by-point refutation of a previous article or comment by someone else. This comment type got its name from British journalist and columnist Robert Fisk, who often will engage in this style of writing in an attempt to dissect and demolish some other writing or article. Fisking tends to be very long because of it's very nature, requiring each successive point be answered by quoting and responding to it, and some will take an entire article apart in this manner.

Fisking can be overly long and extensive, which may make some unhappy with the exercise, but there is nothing about the practice that is particularly a violation of internet etiquette. Because this process takes quite a while, it often is not done by commenters who tend to like things short and to the point. It can be a useful manner of responding to someone, and unlike many arguments in a comment section or message board will address most if not all the points made rather than focusing on one or two that were easier to deal with while ignoring the primary point made.

EXAMPLE:
“They started by shaking hands. We said, 'Salaam aleikum' – peace be upon you – then the first pebbles flew past my face."
That sentence alone deserves to go down as one of the defining quotes of the idiotic left. If it weren't so tragic, it would be downright hilarious. Who needs Evelyn Waugh when you have this?

"I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME": But wait, there's more.
"A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn't see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn't blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.”
What does this mean, you might well ask? What it means is that someone – anyone – is either innocent or guilty purely by racial or cultural association. An average Westerner is to be taken as an emblem of an entire culture and treated as such. Any random Westerner will do. Individual notions of responsibility or morality are banished, as one group is labeled blameless and another irredeemably malign. There’s a word for this: it’s racism. And like many other members of the far left, Fisk is himself a proud racist, someone who believes that the color of a person’s skin condemns him automatically and justifies violence against him.

As you can see, the pattern is to quote the original article, make your point, then go on to the next quote in the article. In this case, it is the conservative-period Andrew Sullivan attacking an article by Robert Fisk himself, in a post many consider to be the origin of the modern concept of Fisking.

Fisking can be an effective and useful method of refuting or answering someone's points and is generally acceptable in almost every comment section or message board.

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