Rick scored a post-testimony interview with Steyn last Monday.
Now he’s got a new post up, about his (and our) adventures at the Legislature:
Steyn reacts with similar dismay to a question from MPP David Zimmer, who uses the “yelling fire in a crowded theatre” metaphor to rather unspecific effect.
Even a week later, I’m not sure what Zimmer was asking, or the point he was trying to make, or even the strength of his conviction that there’s possibly something wrong with fires, or yelling, or crowded theatres.
Steyn reacts with palpable disgust – he’s heard this one before, and can’t disguise his impatience, but it prompts what comes off as a rant about the history of theatre electrification drawn on his own extensive knowledge of musical theatre.
Steyn calls it “a ludicrous metaphor,” but it only has the effect of making Zimmer more defensive, and he keeps reframing it – to little effect.
There’s really no question there, just the ritual presentation of a rhetorical trope pressed into service too many times during debates about free speech, to decreasing effect.
(I make a mental note of it all – I’d love write a book one day about how metaphor has become the anabolic steroid of conversation and debate, a device that usually ends up cheapening rhetoric and dissolving meaning. Mostly, though, I’d like to know if I can pay the rent by this summer – but I digress.)