Saturday, January 27, 2007


It looks like the people responsible for raising and educating the perps in San Francisco’s shameful Gleegate attack are resorting to the world’s most pathetic defense: everybody does it.

A defense attorney hired by alleged perp parents refers to a “mutual brawl,” as if mutual brawling is SOP. Like, oh yeah, it was one of them mutual brawls.

Yesterday’s Chronicle article quoted a spokesperson for St Ignatius High School, Paul Totah, as saying, “Teenage boys all across America get into fights. That’s natural, though unfortunate.”

Isn’t it strange that the Jesuit fathers of St Ignatius would have a lay person, an English teacher, fronting for them on an important issue of public morality. Also, since the alleged perps are not from St Ignatius, it’s interesting that SI would come to their defense.

The Jesuits publish their own guide to English usage (the Brown Beast) which contains a section titled COMMON FALLACIES AND THEIR REFUTATIONS.

Mr Totah’s statement (besides being incredibly sexist) is an argument from common practice, a variant of the “Argument from Common Knowledge.” As the Brown Beast says, this argument is the easiest to refute—one simply states one’s own disagreement.

So, when someone says, “Everyone loved Ronald Reagan,” I can prove that assertion to be false simply by stating my own opinion, that the man was a scumbag.

And, when Mr Paul Totah tells us that all teenage boys do a little curb-stomping, I can personally refute that one. Sfwillie is no saint, sfwillie has much that he’s ashamed of, but sfwillie has never kicked anyone in the head when they were lying on the pavement.

If you exclude pre-pubertal stuff, I would aver that less than 3% of adult American males have ever been in a serious fistfight.

There are and always have been a certain small percentage of teenage boys who find physical intimidation useful, or who actually enjoy fighting.

OJ Simpson tells stories about his street fighting when growing up in San Francisco as a form of amusement. Interestingly, St Ignatius had a basketball star at the same time, who also had a reputation for brutal street fighting.

We’d be at a teen club dance on a Friday night and kids would come in all excited with accounts of how this basketball star nearly killed a guy, stomping his head on a curb. Poor kid, he was socially awkward, and the best he ever did was warm a couple of NBA benches.

So I refute Mr Totah’s assertion. Very few teenage boys get into fights. We’re talking about bullies, not normal teenagers.

I wonder what an actual Jesuit priest would have to say about this.

Pud thinks the administrators of Sacred Heart and SI should come off the defensive and put a positive spin on the situation. Something like, “Catholic Education: Keeping our city safe from visiting choirboys.”

Saint Francis looks a little sad.

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