Recently, “Chet Haze,” the son of Tom Hanks and apparent Northwestern student, tweeted the following:
Needless to say, people were a little miffed. Now, I have sometimes said that a university is a place for ideas to be shared and discussed. I am also of the opinion that no subject should be off-limits to scrutiny. So, while I don’t agree with Mr. “Haze,” no doubt he’ll have a strong argument, in which he’ll cite statistics, research studies, and statements by respected psychologists and sociologists.
- “I say real shit and I always speak my mind if you don’t like it I could give a fuck less.”
- “Lol…Haters: I am sorry I do not cater to your demographic: shlubby dudes that don’t get laid enough it’s ok go back to your Internet porn”
- “G’head check my feed, all the people hatin are mediocre Lames and cute girls show me love #whatdoesthattellyou“
Frankly, Chet Haze does not have a leg to stand on here. The crassness and abhorrence of his statement aside, Chet doesn’t even bother to back it up. I’m not going to get into the content of his statement, because it’s already been covered at Brute Reason better than I could address it. What I am going to address, though, is the fact that he expresses his position very poorly. Of these followup tweets, not a single one actually supports Chet’s thesis that people that commit suicide are “weak.” Let’s take them one by one, shall we?
“I say real shit and I always speak my mind if you don’t like it I could give a fuck less.”
This says nothing about the subject at hand. All this establishes is that Chet has no filter and that he doesn’t care if people take issue with his statements. Frankly, I gathered that from his first tweet. This is the equivalent of me saying “Charlemagne was a Zoroastrian!” and then responding to criticism of my statement with “I don’t care if you disagree!” Whether or not I care about the disagreement of others has nothing to do with the validity of my statement. On to the next one.
“Lol…Haters: I am sorry I do not cater to your demographic: shlubby dudes that don’t get laid enough it’s ok go back to your Internet porn”
The amount of sex I have or internet porn I watch does not have any relevance to whether or not suicide is a sign of weakness. Going back to my academic example, this is like me submitting a paper to William and Mary Quarterly and using “George Washington rode a bobcat into battle, as evidenced by the dysfunctional nature of my department head’s marriage,” as my argument. There is no substance here.
“G’head check my feed, all the people hatin are mediocre Lames and cute girls show me love #whatdoesthattellyou“
Again, this establishes nothing about the validity of Haze’s statement. If I sat down for my final and wrote “James I of England and VI of Scotland hunted vampires. This is displayed by the fact that people who don’t think so suck, and that lots of attractive women like me.” I suspect that this would cause me to fail the exam. Ad hominem attacks do not work as support for a thesis.
This is setting aside, of course, that Chet is a poor writer as well as a poor debater. While such things as grammar, spelling, rhetorical choices, and punctuation do not affect the validity of an idea itself, they do have an impact on whether or not that idea will even be considered by the public. What I’m getting at is that a thesis or idea serves no purpose if nobody can stand to sit through its presentation.
Haze’s statement should be chided and dismissed, but not just because it’s offensive. Marriage equality offends some conservative religious organizations, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. No, Chet Haze’s statement about suicide should be chided and dismissed because he doesn’t back up his cruelty and baseness with any sort of justification. Without support for his argument, Haze’s statement will be considered incorrect and wrong, until such time as he can prove otherwise. Haze has taken the field unarmed, unarmored, and with no horse to carry him, and for that he has lost the battle of ideas. Regardless of how you feel about depression, suicide, and the implications thereof, it is clear that Chet Haze has nothing to contribute to the discussion, and should probably just not comment. To put a new spin on an old saying, if you don’t have anything intelligent to say, don’t say anything at all.