From The Archives -- Ad Hoc, Ad Loc, Quid Pro Quo

[ Posted Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 – 17:08 UTC ]

[Note: Since it's Tuesday, I thought I'd run a favorite Tuesday-type article from last year. I promise, tomorrow I'll get back to being serious.]


[Originally published 3/2/10]

The title of this piece quotes the well-known philosopher Jeremy Hilary Boob, PhD. The full quote is, of course:

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo
So little time! So much to know!

and comes to us from the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine, right before singing a song about Boob, Nowhere Man.

If you think this is building up to some deep and meaningful point, well, it's not. Sorry to disappoint you.

Because today, for your humble author, the Real World has demanded my full attention, so instead of well-thought out and well-reasoned prose, today we're just going to have a little fun with language.

The following comes from a list sent to me by one of our far-flung correspondents, and seemed perfect for a hastily-written attempt to fill today's column space. The first one on the list is most likely familiar to anyone who has frequented the comments area of just about any political blog over the years, but the remainder of the list will likely give you a few ten-dollar Latin words with which to impress your friends and drinking buddies.

So, in the spirit of the "open thread" for today's comments, I give you a list of argument types to avoid. I have added, for your reading pleasure, a loosely-translated example (very loosely, in some cases) from the second-grade schoolyard playground (to provide clarification, of course, and not to engage in cheap attempts at humor or anything of that nature). So here are fallacious arguments for everyone to argue about today. All should properly be preceded by "argumentum" if you want to get picky.


Ad hominem -- personal attack on the opponent

"You're a poopy-head!"


Ad baculum -- threat of violence

"Oh yeah? I'm going to kick your butt, you poopy-head!"


Ad ignorantium -- lack of contrary evidence

"Oh yeah? You and what army?"


Ad misericordiam -- agree with me, or you'll hurt my feelings

"I'm going to cry and tell the teacher you hit me if you don't agree!"


Ad invidiam -- you don't agree because you're jealous

"You know I'm right because the teacher likes me better."


Ad verecundiam -- I'm right because I'm more important than you

"Who do you think the teacher's going to believe, you or me?"


Ad populum -- everybody believes this

"Everyone knows you're a poopy-head!"


Ad nauseam -- endless repetition

"I know you are, but what am I? I know you are but what am I?"


Ad novitatem -- My idea is new, therefore it is right

"You are so uncool. We're cool, and you're a poopy-head."


Ad antiquitatem -- My idea is old, therefore it is right

"I'm older than you are, therefore I'm right and you're a baby poopy-head."


Ad crumenam -- I'm right because I'm rich

"My Daddy makes more money than yours does!"


Ad lazarum -- I'm right because I'm poor

"Gimme your lunch money, poopy-head!"


-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


11 Comments on “From The Archives -- Ad Hoc, Ad Loc, Quid Pro Quo”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya forgot one..

    Ad Trekium
    "I'm right because Star Trek says it's true..."



  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Or maybe...

    Ad Kirkiam - I'm right... but I'm going to... randomly pause... while saying so...
    "You... are nothing more... than a poopy-head!"



  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Plea For Testing

    OK, folks, two things.

    (1.) I promise to not be so cranky today. Car problems once again have taken the sheen off my normally cheerful demeanor. The good news? Even with the hassles, the repairs will be FREE because they are covered under the warranty of the original repair, which doesn't happen all that often (to me, at least). So, less crankiness today, I promise!

    (2.) I think I have gotten the "Email Chris" page to work the way it is supposed to, once again. The only drawback is that there is no confirmation page which says "your email successfully sent" at the end of the process, but at this point I'm just happy it seems to be working.

    "Seems to be"... which is where I'm asking for your help. Go over to the page, and type me in an email message. Try it before you log in here (it should not let you enter an email, instead forcing you to log in first), and then after you log in (where it should allow you to type in and send an email).

    I'm 100% confident right now of the privacy of these messages (that they'll never be publicly displayed here or anywhere else), but am not as confident of whether it'll work on everyone's various machines and browsers. So please go give it a whirl.

    I'm glad to get this site feature working again, because it's been (blush) broken for almost a year now. I want to give it a rigorous testing, so everyone take two minutes and send me a test email, even if you've never sent me an email before. Really pound on the feature, and give it a workout! I won't be answering any of the test emails (unless you ask me to specifically), I just want to see that they arrive here formatted correctly.

    Thanks, we now return you to your regularly scheduled comments.


  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, less crankiness today, I promise!

    You were cranky??? :D

    I did the Email Chris test...

    You are right, there is no confirmation. It just takes you back to the EMAIL CHRIS page.

    This is bound to cause some confusion and will likely result in multiple identical emails sent to you.. :D

    That's all that I noticed...


  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    You were cranky??? :D

    Well, just a tad. :)

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, I did the email Chris test ... clicked on 'email Chris' at the bottom of the page, logged in, wrote an email, sent it and got the same non-response that Michale got ... no confirmation of email being sent and was taken back to the 'email Chris' page.

    Would it have made a difference if I'd clicked on 'email Chris' at the TOP of the homepage, I wonder? I'll try it ...

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, everybody's emails have arrived just fine, but it looks like it may be a problem not having a confirmation page, huh? I will look into this programmatically, but it may prove to be VERY hard to do (this may be WordPress code, not code, which always makes me nervous about tinkering with...).

    At the very least, I can update the text on the Email Chris page to say something like "No confirmation of your sent email will appear, sorry, but don't worry... it'll get to me!" or something along those lines...

    Thanks to the testers for checking it out!


  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I just sent another email ... this time using the 'email Chris' at the TOP of the homepage with the same result ... no confirmation and back to the 'email Chris' page as if no email was written or sent. :(

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Loggin in first, BEFORE clicking on 'email Chris' does not solve the problem of not receiving any sort of confirmation ...

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Site Update:

    OK, I'm going to post this here and on today's re-run column as well, so everyone gets a chance to see it.

    Since this is now a user-supported site, I feel honor-bound to update everyone on the site's progress (which is why I'm taking the week off from writing columns, in other words).

    Finally -- finally! -- can say that the site is now fully complete. The "Email Chris" page is now working (although there is no confirmation page as of yet, to let you know your email has gone through... we're working on that...) the way it is supposed to.

    And -- bigger news -- ALL the static-text pages are now complete! Woo hoo! Much to our embarrassment here, this chore has been sitting around undone for far too long, but has now been completed. I've gone through and updated every "About" and "FAQ" type page on the site, and written a few that never existed up until this point -- most notably the "About ObamaPollWatch" and "About FridayTalkingPoints" pages, which jaded regulars eager for a mild thrill might want to check out (I'm just sayin'...).

    Anyway, progress continues down in the nuts-and-bolts area of, just to let everyone know...


  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    At the very least, I can update the text on the Email Chris page to say something like "No confirmation of your sent email will appear, sorry, but don't worry... it'll get to me!" or something along those lines...

    That sounds like a great idea..

    After the POST box, put something like, "PLEASE NOTE: You will receive no confirmation that your email has been sent, but rest assured it will be sent properly."


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