Clive Crook tells us that Americans are ever so much more polite than Brits, and then goes on to complain about blogs.
Jarringly different standards apply in politics, and especially in the political blogosphere. There, “coarsening” is too mild a word. All that swaggering, sneering incivility: maybe I find it disgusting because it’s so unAmerican.
Fair enough if you don’t like it, but I am still at a loss to understand the difference between all this twuly vewy howwid incivility and suggestions that civil liberties types would be perfectly fine with the deaths of millions of their fellow citizens if only they could get their way. Perhaps it isn’t incivil by definition when it’s an FT pundit doing it rather than a nasty little leftist blogger? Or perhaps Crook believes that he’s just telling it like it is? (the rather obvious rejoinder being, however, that the bloggers he detests so much fancy that the same thing is true of them). I’ve previously invited Mr. Crook to explain the difference between the kinds of things that he says about lefty civil liberties types and the forms of debasing discourse that he so deplores; so far, he has unaccountably failed to do so. In the absence of such a clarification, I can only presume that his distinction rests on the Yes Minister theory of irregular verbs – I engage in vigorous yet fair truthtelling, you perhaps say things a little too stridently for your own good, he is a disgusting, swaggering and incivil boor.