MEA CULPA.  MEA MAXIMA CULPA: Unlike certain film reviewers who get paid by major media outlets to post their brain farts on blogs tied to a nationally read newspaper title, yours’ truly has to hustle for a living.  Detailed dissection of Ebert’s post will have to wait until at least tomorrow.

Still, I can’t help but revisit his ‘there’s more of us than you’ quip that I went over in Point #3 of yesterday’s post: “… the program has many. [sic] many times more members than critics.”  Even if true (and there’s no objective reason to believe that it is — Ebert offers no evidence to support the claim), what the hell point is that supposed to make?  AA members superior numbers would win the day in a gang fight with AA critics?  AA members overwhelming majority over AA critics would give them more than the necessary votes for cloture in the halls of congress?

I mean, what the fuck?  The comment is at once threatening, irrelevant, dumb, a logical fallacy & arguably untrue (or, at least, unprovable).  It’s a classic ‘argumentum ad populum’ (appeal to popularity): there’s more of us than there are of you & that makes us right.

And look, here’s some YouTube links for clips from movies promoting AA’s beneficence!

If Roger Corman were contracted to write a post promoting AA, he’d probably have produced something as grade Z as Ebert’s.

For the purposes of today’s abbreviated post, I just want to go over one of Ebert’s demonstrably false claims:

  1. Ebert gets his YouTube beat-down going with, “I find on YouTube that there are many videos attacking A.A. for being a cult, a religion, or a delusion.”  He then pulls out his argumentum ad populum, throws up the first three of the 12 Steps (edited to correct errors he made when he first published his post), then goes about decrying the horror of all this YouTube nastiness & AA criticism in general: “The God word. The critics never quote the words “as we understood God.””

Bullshit on that.  There’s probably been more digital ink spilled on that clause on AA critical or AA skeptical boards than just about any other subject, but, more importantly, the phrase (or its content) is the subject of any number of AA critical YouTube videos:


That’s just a handful of examples I got after a 15 minute YouTube search. I thought it was Ebert’s job to actually pay close attention to what he’s watching, to images & ideas conveyed via the visual medium!

Maybe he should take in how Bill Wilson himself conceived of the image of ‘[g]od’ that AA’s should be turning their wills & lives over to (hint: “the [go]od of the preachers” rather than a higher power of one’s own understanding figures in pretty big here):

or Bill’s take on the value of individual human life in contrast to survival of AA as an organization:

Truly heart-warming stuff from Bill, no?

Ebert closes that paragraph with this little bit of treacle: “The important thing is not how you define a Higher Power. The important thing is that you don’t consider yourself to be your own Higher Power, because your own best thinking found your bottom for you. One sweet lady said her higher power was a radiator in the Mustard Seed, “because when I see it, I know I’m sober.” (italics added)”

Let’s parse this one out: the sweet lady’s “best thinking” led her to self-destructive use of alcohol, perhaps alcohol dependence, and then her alcoholic “bottom”.  Something — Ebert doesn’t identify what agency brought her to AA, but presumably it was the grace of some higher power she didn’t quite understand yet — got her to meetings.  Now that she’s attending meetings & sober she’s come to understand her higher power as a radiator at one of her meetings.

Because she ‘sees’ it & knows she’s sober.

Unlike any other material thing she sees in her daily life.

That’s an example of “better thinking”?

Stay tuned, campers.