No Serious Defenders - Robin Sloan
There’s a rhetorical habit that is very prevalent and very bad. It involves: finding a ridiculous version of an argument you oppose, possibly by using Twitter’s search function; pointing to it; saying, “See! Look at these assholes!”
This is so bad it’s actually self-indicting, by which I mean, a person who indulges in this kind of straw-man “weirdo safari” is telling you very clearly that they are not worth your time. The instant you detect the habit, you should just close the tab.
There might—might!—be an exception, in which an idea truly has no serious defenders. But in that case, as a writer you really ought to ask: why am I wasting my breath? Does everything obvious need to be litigated? Wouldn’t it be more concise and convincing simply to say, “The idea has no serious defenders”?
“Does everything obvious need to be litigated?” I wish the answer was “No”.