February 3rd, 2017


The Fallacy of Equivalent Badness

A fallacy that I have on occasion encountered in fandom:

When a person or character doing something bad is used as an argument for them doing an unrelated bad thing.

At its extreme, the fallacy looks like this:

Person A: I think it's OOC for character X to get a speeding ticket.
Person B: I think it's in character. After all, X gets tickets for driving too slowly all the time.

Usually it's not quiiiite so extreme, but the two bad actions can certainly be contradictory.

The assumption seems to be the if someone does bad things, they are morally tarnished and are more likely to engage in other morally tarnishing actions, even if from the character's PoV they are completely unrelated. Engaging in bad actions makes a person bad, which means they engage in (all) bad actions. For this to make sense, the fan's PoV about which actions are wrong, and how wrong those actions are, must be universal: Not just objectively true, but also true from the character's point of view.

I need a name for this fallacy. I keep thinking "fallacy of equivalent badness" (since all bad actions are equivalent), but I'm not sure that's clear to anyone who isn't me.

This entry was originally posted at http://itsnotmymind.dreamwidth.org/69750.html. Please comment either here or there, whichever works best for you.