It seems that many people in the world of the onlinekpoposphere (which is a neat word I invented just now) don’t know how to argue correctly, or have trouble picking up on other people when they are constructing arguments without sufficient adherence to trufax. To aid these people, I’ve put together the following list of common logical fallacies used in arguments by k-pop fans, netizens and media outlets. Sure, you can get all this information elsewhere on the Internet, but you should get it here instead, because only the nicest and most awesome people read Kpopalypse posts.
Logical fallacies take many forms, and while I don’t have time to cover all of them, this post will focus on the most popular ones used by k-pop fans and netizens. Each type of fallacy will come with a nicely juicy, (hopefully) easy to understand example, which should give lots of ammunition to people who say I dumb my writing down like a condescending cuntface, which will thereby create more lame, illogical internet arguments from others and therefore a possible sequel to this post. In the meantime, here are the most common logical fallacies that I have observed in my time reading k-pop websites.
Equating the quality of someone’s character, interests or actions with the quality of their argument.
Example: regarding the book “My Sweet Orange Tree” that IU’s “Zeze” lyrics were based from.
An argument isn’t wrong by default just because of the qualities of the person making the argument. Just because someone is a crazy fan, a puppy-kicking rapist or a general asshole doesn’t mean that they aren’t right anyway. I’m probably the most horrible person on the Internet today (no exaggeration according to some of my critics) but that doesn’t mean that when I say “2+2=4” it’s suddenly a lie.
APPEAL TO AUTHORITY
(A) is an expert on (X), therefore if (A) says (Y) about (X), (Y) must be correct.
Example – regarding the book publishing company’s response to IU’s “Zeze” interpretation.
This Netizenbuzz reader believes in the authority of the publishing company to never be wrong about a book, because gosh they are a publishing company therefore they must know everything about those things called books with pages in them, after all golly gee gosh they do make a lot of them. Therefore a book publishing company could never be wrong… even though they were actually wrong, and admitted it later.
APPEAL TO POPULAR OPINION (BANDWAGONING)
If many/most people believe/like (X), then (X) must be true/good.
Example – regarding the high amount of YG songs on Kpopalypse’s worst of 2014 list:
Hitler was very popular in Germany in the 1930s, he reduced unemployment, encouraged industry, built a nice road and was a sensitive man. How could his supporters be wrong? After all there were millions of them and they looked so good together, their arms all went up at the same time. Yes I realise that this is demonstrating Godwin’s Law, but just because an argument demonstrates Godwin’s Law does not mean that it is untrue.
BLACK AND WHITE THINKING
If something is not (A), it must be the opposite, (B).
Example – check out a rare semi-insightful comment on one of many articles about Hwayoung:
7. [+13, -4] She’s only popular because of the black and white logic that since T-ara is bad, Hwayoung must be good.
Of course human experience, emotion and thought is multi-layered and complex, so there is not just (A) for good and (B) for bad. There is also (C) for cunt, (D) for dickhead etc.
Don’t complain about (A) because there is also (B), why don’t you think more about (B), huh? Are you that much of a bad person?
“Being a celebrity is a lonely career. I remember last Christmas, I fell really sick and I felt so lonely then. I realized that you couldn’t open up to all of your friends or family about your struggles. Even if I tell my friends, they tell me that I have an easy life so I don’t say anything at all.”
1. [+900, -50] She doesn’t know how good she has it ㅋㅋㅋ Think of all the kids your age who have to work to their bones even on Christmas day, do you think there’s time for them to care about being lonely?
2. [+706, -28] We all know it’s hard and lonely… but realize that there are so many more people who have it harder and are lonelier than you… Honestly, it just sounds like she’s whining.
Lizzy (A) shouldn’t complain because some people actually have to work for Christmas (B). Those people working on Christmas (B) shouldn’t complain either though, because there are other people who don’t even have work (C). Oh, but those people without jobs (C) shouldn’t complain either because at least they’re not starving in North Korea (D). Mind you North Koreans (D) shouldn’t complain because at least they’re not in Syria getting barrel bombs dropped on them (E). Etc etc.
If (A) and (B) seem to have a relationship, then (A) must cause (B).
Example: the header image. Just doing it this way so Asian Junkie has to include my format-breaking header image if he wants to republish this post without breaking, deleting or rewriting stuff. That’ll get him back for all that Raina-bashing. Here is an image of Raina walking towards someone, probably her one true love Asian Junkie.
If (A) is proven wrong, just move the goalposts a little to change what constitutes (A).
This Reddit user when proven incorrect changes their argument from “it’s pointless because everybody already knows this” to “it’s pointless because the people who don’t know this wouldn’t read the article”. This Reddit user is demonstrably using the shaky argumentative logic of special pleading. Excellent spelling however.
Misrepresenting another person’s argument in order to make it easier to attack.
Example – from the Reddit reaction to my article about tracking Korean popular music trends: (because people are often sadly too gutless to leave arguments like this on my own site, I have to go to Reddit to find them – thanks to Reddit/kpop for providing so much content for this post by the way, it would have been hard to write this post without you):
I’ve never had a post where I declare with any earnest seriousness that I think my opinions on music are better than anyone else’s just because I have an industry background, and in fact many of my articles (including most of the much loved/loathed “favourites/worst of” lists) have preambles which go to great lengths to point out that I don’t consider my opinions on musical taste to be worth any less or more than anyone else’s. However “he thinks he’s better than everyone else” is still a great way for other people to misrepresent my intentions when they want to demonise me. Clearly I’m not better than everyone else, I’m just better than this person.
SHIFTING THE BURDEN OF PROOF
I believe (X) and because you can’t prove me wrong, (X) is therefore true.
How can I take the side of (X) when they also do (Y).
Example – the final comment in this exchange, again from the earlier Hwayoung interview post:
The Vladimir Putin avatar is particularly apt as Putin’s administration is notorious for using tu quoque arguments. The logical twists and turns in the last three sentences combine ad hominem, special pleading and tu quoque in a flurry of dislogic which would make Putin proud. (“Dislogic” is another neat word I invented just now, because existing English vocabulary is stretched to breaking-point when trying to encapsulate the sheer absurdity of logical fallacies committed by k-pop fans.)
That’s it for another Kpopalypse post! I know there are more logical fallacies out there that I could have included, but these are the most common ones that I’ve encountered. Hopefully this is enough to help you navigate the onlinekpoposphere!