Friday, April 25, 2008

Steve Janke and dead, sodomized hookers? Hey, I'm just sayin'.


Among the intellectual drop cases known collectively as the "Blogging Tories," Steve Janke has a reputation of being some kind of crack, investigative journalistic sleuth. Why that is is a complete mystery since it would be hard to find anyone quite as sleazy or irresponsible as the Premature Ejankulator™.

First and foremost among his numerous failings is his perpetual tendency to avoid making direct claims or accusations, preferring instead to circle his target warily and carefully smear with slimy innuendo while retaining just enough plausible deniability to protect himself.

Macleans' Kady O'Malley (unintentionally, I'm sure) made reference to that here when she lowered the boom on Steve:

Janke has painstakingly cut and pasted the names of hundreds of Elections Canada employees, which he dredged up from the government online directory, GEDS, as part of his continuing effort to throw suspicion on the motivations of the agency, and the way that the raid into Conservative headquarters was carried out by the RCMP.

Conspicuously absent from the list, he notes, is Andre Thouin - the Elections Canada official who braved the throng of cameras outside Conservative Party headquarters, banker box in hand, and ended up playing a starring role in the subsequent news coverage.

All right, then ... so Steve is about to unleash a devastating indictment of corruption? Or something like it? In a word, no.

Not surprisingly, Janke finds this to be at least a little bit suspicious, although he does note that it is a 'minor point'.

Yes, that would be vintage Janke -- bring your readers to the edge of excitement, then quickly back away with something like, "Of course, this could be nothing. But I would be remiss in not bringing it to your attention, anyway."

This is, of course, Janke's standard M.O., and you can see it in action back here, where I described how the Ejankulator painstakingly analyzed some of Stephane Dion's spending, only to eventually admit that, well, OK, it might be nothing after all. But, hey, it sure was fun dragging Dion's name through the mud while it lasted.

And recently, Janke was at it again. After apparently building a case against Elections Canada, is Janke finally about to lower the boom and accuse someone somewhere of some kind of malfeasance? Well, no:

So is all this an innocent mistake? At the heart of it, possibly.

In other words, after the suspenseful buildup, Steve wants to make sure you don't think he's, you know, actually accusing anyone of anything. But isn't it fun to speculate?

Sure, Steve, why not? Unfounded speculation is always such a hoot. Which brings us to Janke and his possible obsession with dead hookers and anal sex. Now, let's be clear, I'm not saying that Janke makes a habit of murdering prostitutes and sodomizing their still warm corpses. But you just never know. Am I drawing unwarranted conclusions? Possibly. But come on, think about it -- Steve lives in Ontario, dead hookers occasionally show up in Ontario. Coincidence? Perhaps. I don't want to jump to conclusions here but, hey, I'm just sayin'.

It's probably nothing. Maybe.

23 comments:

Red Tory said...

I waded through most of yesterday's post over at his place. And sure enough, in the end, it was a whole lot of nothing.

Steve's problem is that he's always trying to work back from his supposed conclusion, but he never seems to have enough evidence to actually prove that his supposition is really valid.

Ti-Guy said...

Steve's problem is that he's always trying to work back from his supposed conclusion...

I'm sure he knows that too, which is what's so disappointing. Instead of making him a wild and woolly conspiracy theorist, he just comes off as a smear-mongering propagandist.

On a related topic, Janke's BFF Cap'n "Special Ed" Morrissey (I think they're twins) along with a good chunk of the wingnut smear-o-sphere (including the hideous Michelle Malkin) were thoroughly dipatched a few days ago by Eric Boehlert with regard to the whole Bilal Hussein fabrication. So far, no retractions or apologies for what appears to me to be a conspiracy that led to someone being arrested without any evidence whatsoever.

¢rÄßG®äŠŠ said...

Whoa. I can't believe I never made that connection before, with the hookers and Steve.

And the timing! Hellooo??

Coincidence? It's possible, I'll grant that. But it certainly does give one pause.

Dr.Dawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr.Dawg said...

I see Janke's methods operating in the academic sphere all the time. I recently reviewed a book in which the author claimed that, given their own spiritual belief system, the Inuit's transition to Christianity was "almost seamless." Well, said a colleague of hers, she didn't really say that--she said "in some respects" and "could have been" almost seamless.

I feel like declaring a public war on this species of weak claim, which is just another instance of apophasis. Strictly speaking, the latter means stating something by appearing to deny it. In this case, you state something by immediately qualifying it out of existence.

Hence, when you have no evidence for a claim, state it anyway, and then hedge it with so many qualifiers that you can't be accused of claiming what you just put forward.

(In the case of the Inuit, it is plainly fatuous to suggest that, because they had spiritual beliefs anyway, their transition to Christianity was, or was in some respects, or could have been, "almost seamless." That's an alibi for missionization that would work anywhere in the colonized world, and it erases the entire notion of unequal power dynamics, etc.)

You have done well to expose Janke's MO. He's not the only one, though, who plays that game.

Ti-Guy said...

I feel like declaring a public war on this species of weak claim, which is just another instance of apophasis.

Why just that particular species? Declare war on all dialogue, discussion and exposition in bad faith.

I admit that's risky, though; career academics and intellectuals can be among the most vindictive people on Earth.

Sure, it robs one's output of the mystifying and unfathomable quality that is so central to the preservation of the academic's status, but in the long run, it's a smarter move. I'm sure many a retired academic will have cause to cringe while looking back on his or her publishing history, especially those who flourished in the post-modern period.

Dr.Dawg said...

How does one define "bad faith," exactly? I've never been entirely sure that this phrase has come to mean--hypocrisy?

Let me give a counter-argument, if that's the case. Hypocrisy is saying one thing while believing its opposite. We love to dredge up nuggets of hypocrisy--most often, when one makes a moralistic universal claim (say about free speech) and then is seen to be, ah, inconsistent in the application of it.

But very often apparent hypocrisy is just intellectual confusion. Surely we need to expose these inconsistencies, rather than moral failings. The phrase "bad faith" simply reeks of churchiness.

KEvron said...

hypocrisy implies a disconnect. bad faith is essentially lying.

KEvron

Ti-Guy said...

How does one define "bad faith," exactly? I've never been entirely sure that this phrase has come to mean--hypocrisy?

Well, it's a catch-all, but basically it relates to a fundamental quality of communication: the transmission of information, the highest standard of which is extreme clarity.

In the example of apophasis, a statement in better faith would be to simply assert what one wants to directly (and hopefully, back it up with evidence of some kind) rather than imply it with plausible deniability built right in.

Hypocrisy is saying one thing while believing its opposite.

I'm not sure that's really the meaning of hypocrisy. It's really a conviction one must give the impression that one believes in particular standards in thought and deed, while in some ways revealing that these standards are never met, either by oneself or others. Many hypocrites are firm in their convictions, and will express them believing they're being truthful, while quite often revealing their hypocrisy through actions that they may only be dimly aware of. Being uncivil without swearing is one of my favourite manifestations of this, and one that causes no small amount (hey, what you know; litotes!) of miscommunication and grief.

The phrase "bad faith" simply reeks of churchiness.

It doesn't "reek of churchiness;" it has nothing to do with religious faith at all. The faith considered here is one that incorporates an assumption that whoever chooses to dialogue with you is being as honest as possible; not a bad assumption until there's evidence to suggest otherwise.

But very often apparent hypocrisy is just intellectual confusion.

Could be. Depends on the evidence at hand.

Dr.Dawg said...

Litotes is my least favourite rhetorical device.

Let me have another brief stab at this. I was wrong to use the word "churchiness" to describe the notion of "bad faith." Perhaps Sartre's use of the phrase was what got me going, because I couldn't see any connection between mauvaise foi and its current usage. So I defaulted to churchy notions of faith, maybe as a dig at your Catholicism.

KEvron's reduction of the notion to "lying" isn't half bad, actually. Because there are all kinds of lying--deliberate obfuscation, apophasis, appeals to emotion, etc. But I think one does have to include hypocrisy in that mix.

You seem to equate hypocrisy with a kind of failed priggishness-- setting up standards for others that you yourself cannot, or will not, abide by. But somehow this fails to capture, for me, the moral confusion (for example) of holding double standards, or of saying one thing in public while doing quite another in private. That's a kind of lying--isn't it? A wide rhetorical stance?

The "disconnect" that KEvron mentions seems to equate to the intellectual confusion I referred to before. I don't think I'd choose a moral category, though, to describe the disconnected thinking of muddled individuals.

KEvron said...

"saying one thing in public while doing quite another in private."

but that's where the disconnect comes in: they may actually believe that the behavior is wrong, despite their engagement, or they may rationalize that their engagement is somehow different from that practiced by others.

KEvron

Dr.Dawg said...

KEvron, in the cases in which this is so, are the participants really "hypocritical?"

KEvron said...

do you mean as opposed to "psychotic"? it's a thin line, i-'[ll grant you that. i think the main point being made here is that "bad faith" inplies a wilful intent to deceive others, either ones opponents or even fellows, (you know; obfuscation, confabulation, disingenuity, out-right lying, et al - aka, "the socon handbook"), while "hypocrisy" is more a case of denial or self-deception.

cc's gonna kill us for having this sidebar, you know....

KEvron

Ti-Guy said...

Litotes is my least favourite rhetorical device.

Any writing that manifests a conscious use of devices is generally not good writing, or reveals the insecurities of the writer. With me, these things pop up when they do and then it's just a matter of style. Unlike a lot of people (such as Mark Steyn) I don't start off trying to figure out how to be slippery or pompous. It just happens. We all use litotes even if we don't know what it's called, or how it operates.

You seem to equate hypocrisy with a kind of failed priggishness-- setting up standards for others that you yourself cannot, or will not, abide by.

I'm not equating it with anything; I don't know what failed priggishness means. People can be prigs without being hypocrites.

Hypocrisy for me is a state of mind that is personally destructive in that it promotes cognitive dissonance, which is a barrier to clear thinking. The exact degree of the dysfunction is related to how aware one is of one's own hypocrisy. Women my mother's age, for example, were so conditioned to being hypocritical and to support hypocrisy that they barely perceived it; it did however result in very many unhappy women.

If you understand your own hypocrisy, it's a step to overcoming it.

If you don't perceive it, it's a form of false consciousness that can be awfully difficult to deal with, as is the case with some of our social and religious conservatives.

Dr.Dawg said...

Sumpin happened to my short response.

I think our only real difference is that I can't conceive of hypocrisy, all morally-tinged as it is--as something one can engage in unconsciously. For the latter stuff, we need a word without moral baggage--after all, there's no fault without intent.

A failed prig is one who can't meet the standards he or she stuffily sets for others. I agree that such a person is not necessarily a hypocrite--which goes to my first point.

Ti-Guy--you may have missed the litotes in the first sentence of my last post. Or I was being lame. Or both.

KEvron said...

"you may have missed the litotes in the first sentence of my last post."

we are not amused. heh.

KEvron

Ti-Guy said...

I think our only real difference is that I can't conceive of hypocrisy, all morally-tinged as it is--as something one can engage in unconsciously.

The only reason I can is that I grew up with a lot hypocrites (many of whom have reformed...even if they still call themselves Catholic). Religious hypocrisy is among the worst, but other types, such as those related to class, ethnic, national or gender solidarity and stereotypes exist.

I think we're coming at it from two different directions; you're evaluating how people express themselves to examine hypocrisy, I'm going at it by examining the belief system that motivates it.

¢rÄßG®äŠŠ said...

I'm not obscenely uneducated, but I had to look up "litotes".

liberal supporter said...

(grunt) Me too. Me did look up litotes too.

Me wonder why post title promises titillating details of Steve Janke and dead, sodomized hookers, but comments talk about little totes.

KEvron said...

reviewing today's discussions: litotes and not-so-little titties. that about covers the known spectrum....

KEvron

liberal supporter said...

Godwin stole his "law" from Hugh Hefner.

Hef's law: "In any conversation between humans, as the conversation grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning tits approaches one."

Ti-Guy said...

Philistines.

¢rÄßG®äŠŠ said...

Philistines?

Aren't they the ones having so much trouble with Israel?