Godwin’s Law, Justin Bieber variant

April 14, 2015

A time-honoured principle of Internet discourse is Godwin’s Law, which declares an argument lost the instant that the opponent resorts to a comparison to Hitler and/or the Holocaust.

Last week at the trial of Canadian Senator Mike Duffy the prosecuting attorney Mark Holmes attempted to badger his witness, former Senate Clerk Mark Audcent, on the topic of Duffy’s highly questionable claim of residence in Prince Edward Island.

Holmes suggested that becoming a senator doesn’t suddenly make you a resident of that province, you need to have already been a resident. To further his point, he raised the Senate requirement that a senatorial candidate must be at least 30 years old to be a senator. And this is when he brought up Bieber.

“(Justin) Bieber,” Holmes said, “is 21 years old. If the Governor General (were) to appoint the Canadian singer to the Senate tomorrow, would he become 30?” 

“Of course not,” Audcent replied.

Our language cries out for a word for this fatuous use of the beguiling Bieber’s name.  Bieber’s Law sounds more like a TMZ headline, followed by photos of police lines and luxury cars in seedy places.  Bieblaw won’t stand the test of time.  Perhaps it should be deliberately obscure, like Godwin’s.  We’ll have to name it after the prosecutor, or maybe even Duffy’s Law.

No, it has to be Holmes.  But the apostrophe’s placement (Holmes, Holmes’, or Holmes’s) would use up all of the air in the discussion, lessening the term’s value.  How about The Law of Holmes?  The Holmes Law?  Reductio ad Bieberium?

Feel free to offer alternate suggestions as comments below.


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