Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FaceBook + Google = 1984 False analogy?

f.b + g = 1984

A darkened room, whispering…
Julia: It’s getting like 1984.
Winston: What is?
Julia: FaceBook collecting all your private data and putting it online.
Winston: False analogy. You volunteer your private information to FaceBook. Orwell’s Big Brother was watching you.
Julia: Well how about Google then? It watches where you go and collects that information without asking.
Winston: False analogy again. Orwell’s Big Brother used the data to control the citizens. Google sells your information.
Julia: It still feels like 1984 with all the spying going on.
Winston: I will say this though. FaceBook and Google add up to something like 1984. It’s a partial analogy.

An analogy compares A with B and finds that they share features.
A false analogy is one where A and B may superficially share features but underneath there is little relevance or only a few shared features.
Hillary Clinton commented at the UN on the recent civil unrest in Syria, that to compare Syria to Libya was a “false analogy.”

Valid analogies may range from strong through partial to weak. Winston’s reasoning that two false analogies add up to a partial analogy is intriguing. It has an instinctive validity.


rolenzo said...

Thanks for this, Lord Barrymore.
This is the perfect topic for my foreign PhD engineering students. Having grown up in non-English cultures, they find the rhetorical devices of English slippery. And they are right: it's easy to misuse the devices, and hard to spot misuse when it's embedded in a dispute or an exploration.
After evaluating a set of their argument writings, I usually have to take two analogesics, or, well, at least count sheep until I forget about the straw man that broke the camel's back just before it passed through the eye of a needle.

Barry Natusch said...

Lord Rollo! Ho! Ha! Hard to spot misuse, yes, especially when the discordant defendants are declaring in dialect. However, discrepancies in the disputants’ discourse are easier to determine in a written delivery. As for metaphors, well I think you excellently express the evaluation with the elegant elongated example of a straw camel.

Anonymous said...

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, 
they kill us for their sport.

Barry Natusch said...

Apt! A more contemporary rephrasing?

"Like lab-rats are we to cyborgs, they giggle to watch us twitch."

Anonymous said...

The more HT world we live the more dangerous we have. Privacy is an important issue nowadays. Many people was spied by others, because the suspicious mind and dominated characters. What the peaceful life we look forward to? Respect the other who will respect you, too.

Barry Natusch said...

A dangerous world? We might value privacy, but another approach, the FaceBook approach is to acknowledge there is no privacy, that it's a relic of times past. Even if you are not stalked or hacked, FB pushes you to publicize your private life. We have entered the Narcissistic Era with GaGa the über-uno.