Appeal to ridicule  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Appeal to ridicule (also called appeal to mockery or the horse laugh), is an informal fallacy which presents an opponent's argument as absurd, ridiculous, or in any way humorous, to the specific end of a foregone conclusion that the argument lacks any substance which would merit consideration.

Appeal to ridicule is often found in the form of comparing a nuanced circumstance or argument to a laughably commonplace occurrence or to some other irrelevancy on the basis of comedic timing, wordplay, or making an opponent and their argument the object of a joke. For example, following criticism during the 2008 United States general elections that Barack Obama's policies were "socialist", Obama responded by saying "Next they'll be calling me a communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten.", pushing the "socialist" label to its extreme and presenting a flippant response to the argument, rejecting it as unworthy of serious consideration.

This is a rhetorical tactic that mocks an opponent's argument or standpoint, attempting to inspire an emotional reaction (making it a type of appeal to emotion) in the audience and to highlight any counter-intuitive aspects of that argument, making it appear foolish and contrary to common sense. This is typically done by making a mockery of the argument's foundation that represents it in an uncharitable and overly simplified way.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Appeal to ridicule" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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