Tuesday, September 18, 2007


From Culture Warrior by Bill O'Reilly

Then there is CNN's phrasing: " the more secular and inclusive 'happy holidays.'" They got the secular part right (they're experts in that field), but to say that "happy holidays" is more "inclusive" is fallacious in the extreme. Polls show that 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas and 84 percent describe themselves as Christians, according to a study by U.S. News & World Report. So anything that is specific to that enormous group, like the words "Merry Christmas," would certainly be "inclusive," would it not?

If CNN had a clue, it might be dangerous.
I was puzzled by O'Reilly's reasoning here. Something about it just didn't seem right. So I attempted to picture a reductio ad absurdum situation:

Most Americans are white, therefore white only public schools would be "inclusive" and asserting that public school for all students regardless of skin color is more inclusive would be fallacious in the extreme.

At first I thought that I had discovered a flaw in O'Reilly's logic, but then I remembered another rule of O'Reilly reasoning - he has a larger audience than me, so he must be right and I must be wrong.


Steven Taylor said...

I have long though the whole "war on Christmas" thing to be rather absurd.

Here's a column I wrote on the subject back for the Mobile Register on 12/25/05 and a post on the subject from a few week's earlier.

I have always interpreted O'Reilly's alleged passion for the subject to be the stuff of ratings, not conviction.

Hume's Ghost said...

Thanks for the links.

Myself, I can't make up my mind to what extent O'Reilly does this stuff for ratings versus doing it because he's become delusional.

I think that his "S-P" vs. "traditionals" is marketing but I've come to think there's something more to it. I feel that there is some kind of cognitive feedback loop going on where the more controversy he generates the crazier he gets in order to protect the investment he's put into the issue ... I believe it relates to his sense of self.

In Culture Warrior he comes pretty close to insinuating that if you've celebrated Christmas in the last couple of years you have him to thank for saving it from the nefarious S-P plot to end it. How anyone could write that in all seriousness is beyond me.

Paul Sunstone said...

I pretty much agree that O'Reilly lives in a fantasy world created by his ego. He isn't the first -- and he won't be the last -- person to let fame and fortune go to his head. It would be a classic tragedy if O'Reilly were not so pathetic.