The debate about the wars of the past decade are heating up. In the US, there has been much heat between Marcus Luttrell (the Lone Survivor) and Jake Tapper about whether the SEALs and others died in vain [see this very direct piece on this question]. In Canada, Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail and Terry Glavin have been going at it over a piece written by Sean Maloney. And to prove the stereotype that not all Canadians are not polite, Glavin needlessly cites Maloney as referring to "fop intellectuals." This one move makes the entire piece seem even more strident, more pedantic and less credible that it already was.
I don't really know which "fop intellectuals" that Glavin/Maloney are referring to. The key issues are that both "fop" and "intellectuals" are being used here as slurs. The funny thing is that fop seems to be about clothing and not being effeminate (according to the online dictionaries), and that fops are " incapable of engaging in intellectual conversations, activities or thoughts (Wikipedia)." Which makes the joint term an oxymoron.
So, I am confused about fop. I am not so confused about intellectual. Ah, yes, those folks who argue and think and research but do not "do". When it is used as a slur, as it clearly is here, it attempts undermine those who engage in critical thinking. Glavin is upset that people are asking the serious question (more than a meme): was it worth it? It meaning Afghanistan. A serious question that I am currently addressing in the final chapter of my next book (which I would be writing if I was not writing this). It is more than a meme--such as an angry cat. I actually think "it" was "worth" "it" after carefully considering how that question is constructed, so you would think that I would be on the same page as Glavin. But no, I am not.
Any credibility he had popped as soon as he invoked fop and intellectual as slurs. He may think this is less important than the rest of his argument, but whatever importance his argument might have had is covered by a particularly bitter distraction sauce--gamey squirrel? I am not sure. All I do know is that if you want to make a good argument, either come up with better ad hominen attacks or leave them out entirely.