Is There a Word for This? (Part ∞)
May 29, 2014 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Is there a word for the "argument" people use that someone has no right to criticize because s/he is unable to perform the action/make the object in question?

I'm sure it's been around for a while now, but lately I find myself more and more seeing people bring up the "You've got no leg to stand on in criticizing, because you can't do X," which is obviously beside the point. Is there an actual word for this? TVTropes has "Let's See YOU Do Better," which has the right idea, but I'm wondering if there's a more widespread (rhetorical) term or phrase.

Bonus: Do you know of any insightful breakdowns of why this argument is weak?

posted by xenization to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.
posted by HotToddy at 9:00 AM on May 29, 2014

Tu quoque.
posted by katrielalex at 9:04 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

May be Appeal To Accomplishment?
posted by Naib at 9:05 AM on May 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

(Your fallacy is...)
posted by katrielalex at 9:06 AM on May 29, 2014

It's an appeal to authority, just phrased a different way.
posted by Thing at 9:06 AM on May 29, 2014

I think appeal to accomplishment is it! Thank you.

I'd still love an analysis of the problems with this strategy if anyone has relevant links.
posted by xenization at 9:11 AM on May 29, 2014

As to why it's weak: Analyzing the reasons why someone does a thing (or the reasons why s/he does it in a particular way) is not the same skill as actually *doing* the thing.

An example: I can criticize the way Roger Federer deals with high-bouncing backhand shots without myself being able to hit that same shot. The skills needed to see what's happening there and the consequences that follow are not the same skills as I would need to actually hit that shot.

It's also the reason why a lot of elite gymnastics coaches (esp. men) are unable themselves to execute the skills their athletes can.

Analysis does not require a first-person perspective.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:52 AM on May 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

"You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables." --Samuel Johnson
posted by johnofjack at 1:33 PM on May 29, 2014

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