I've updated last Friday's post about "Our Godless Constitution" to deal with Jim Lindgren's complaint about my use of the expression "Separation of Church and State." But I want to write a separate -- yeah, separate -- post about his statement that I "fisked" that Nation article. My attempt to Google to a definition of "fisk" first got me to a baby names site, where I learned that Fisk means "fish" -- it's a Swedish name. I guess that's why you're not really running across "Fisk" as a first name. Who names their baby after a fish? (I mean other than the parents of one of our Chief Justices.) I'm trying to confirm my understanding that to "fisk" something is to go line-by-line, making devastating attacks against one thing after another. I'll take this as a confirmation.
Anyway, what I did to the Nation article was really almost the opposite of fisking. I cherry-picked one egregious distortion and based my entire post on that. This approach to a post is probably much more common than fisking, and it suits blogging really well, because you need to try to keep a blog post short. That post wasn't all that short, but imagine if I had tried to go through point-by-point, examining all the many quotes in the article. I picked the ripest mistake I could see and went to town with it. And I admit that is the sort of ankle-biting blogger behavior that makes MSM fear and loathe us! It may unfairly suggest that if I did that to one of your sentences, I could have done it to all of them: I could have fisked, but I just didn't have the time or space. It's a technique that could easily be abused, but I still think it's a good blogging gambit.
So if it's not fisking, and it is something we bloggers do a lot, how about a word for it? "Fisking" got started -- I think -- after a single instance of someone fisking a Fisk article. So maybe I should suggest "Allening," after Brooke Allen, the author of "Our Godless Constitution," the article I allened.
UPDATE: A reader points out something I noticed, but didn't mention. Lindgren only describes me as "effectively fisking Allen," which could be read as recognizing that my allening was as devasting as a fisking. Why bother to fisk when you can just allen?