The most courageous post by someone who, courageously, prefers to remain conveniently anonymous, affords the opportunity to make some important points about logic. So here goes. The Brave Anon's post says (quoting in full):
Hey Spiros- I doubt that you would ever have the balls to spew your crap to Billy Joel if you ever met him. I would love to see Joel ( a former welter- weight boxing champion ) whack the living shit out of you in the grand old New York tradition. Who gives a fuck what music you don't like ? Blogging bullies like you are all the same - big brave blowhards in cyberspace, and limp-dicked cowards in reality. You are obviously a failure in your own miserable life.
The problems begin in the first two sentences. Anon "doubts" that I'd even "have the balls" to "spew" my "crap" to Joel if I ever met him; she says I wouldn't have the balls because Joel is a "former welter-weight boxing champion," and therefore would "whack the living shit" out of me. Thus far, the post violates a dialectical norm of relevance. That Billy Joel could "whack the living shit" out of me is irrelevant to what's in dispute, namely, whether Joel's music sucks. The irrelevance is clear from the fact that what enables one to "whack the living shit" out or another is strength and fighting skill. But what enables one to write music that doesn't suck is something else altogether. Accordingly, we would reject the view that the best fighter is therefore the best songwriter! For example, let's stipulate that Billy Joel could "whack the living shit" out of Paul McCartney; it does not follow that therefore Joel's music is better than Paul's. Nor does it follow that Joel's doesn't suck.
More formally, the opening sentences are instances of a fallacy known as ad baculum ("appeal to the stick"). Ad baculum arguments instantiate the following fallacious inference:
1. If you don't agree that p, I will beat you up.
2. Therefore p.
Obviously, the truth of p does not follow from the truth of the premise.
The next sentence raises another kind of failure. The Courageous Anon writes: "Who gives a fuck what music you don't like ?" This is a kind of performative contradiction. Obviously Anon gives a fuck! Had she not given a fuck, she'd not have taken the time to write her precious note. That is, the "who gives a fuck..." claim has the pragmatic implication of saying "No one should even bother caring about what you say," but Anon, in her great wisdom, says this while obviously caring a great deal about what I say!
The next sentence is also a failure. The Brave Anon writes: "Blogging bullies like you are all the same - big brave blowhards in cyberspace, and limp-dicked cowards in reality." Leaving aside the worry about why cyberspace is not "reality," note that this is a classic instance of the ad hominem ("appeal to the person") fallacy:
1. You are a bad person (a "big brave blowhard in cyberspace, and limp-dicked coward in reality").
2. Therefore, what you say is false.
But bad people say all kinds of true things. So, to say the least, this is not a promising form of inference.
The final sentence, You are obviously a failure in your own miserable life, also instantiates a vice of reasoning: it's an assertion posing as a conclusion. Here, the "obviously" is doing the work of suggesting that something has been demonstrated (namely, that I am a "failure in [my] own miserable life") by what Anon has said in the previous sentences. But absolutely nothing about me has been demonstrated. Alas, all that has been demonstrated is that Anon is intellectually inept. No wonder she likes Billy Joel.