Thursday, September 17, 2009

New lack of civility is just like the old lack of civility.

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Pete Vonder Haar has a nice piece in The Houston Press, "What Happened To Civility, You Assholes?", debunking the idea that the current lack of public tact is a new and disturbing trend.

"Think (Joe) Wilson's behavior was the bell tolling for civility? Wilson wasn't the one who helped the Jerry Springer Show run for 19 seasons (and counting). Reasoned, well-informed discussion doesn't generate nearly as many advertising dollars or click-throughs as screaming and hyperbole do. And that's the way we want it. It's why when we hear "Clinton" the first thing that leaps to mind is "blow job." It's why Bush's verbal gaffes continue to generate more publicity than the inconvenient fact that there were no WMD in Iraq, and that his administration knew it all along. It's why we've devoted so much effort to agonizing over Joe Wilson's outburst, while treating Obama's speech itself as an afterthought."

To be fair, the level of political discourse has truly gotten out of hand. I mean just last week, The Hartford Connecticut warned that if Thomas Jefferson were elected president, "murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced. The air will be filled with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes." No, wait, that was in 1800. And Jefferson's followers replied by claiming that John Adams was a "hypocritical, bald, blind, crippled, and toothless old fool." They also stated that he would marry his children to those of King George III in a bid to become 'King of America'. Oh, and he was also allegedly a whoremaster and had sent his running mate to to Europe to procure prostitutes. We were so much more civil then, weren't we?

Scott Mendelson

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