During the recent eruption of a national obsession with civility in the wake of Jarod Loughner’s shooting rampage—odd, because his actions had nothing whatsoever to do with civility—it became disturbingly evident that most journalists have only a vague sense of what incivility is. For example, using shooting or death metaphors and imagery are not uncivil. Criticism, even strongly-worded criticism, is not uncivil. Calling lies lies is not uncivil, nor is suggesting bad motives for official actions, if the critic believes that bad motives are involved. The fact that intense and passionate condemnation of an individual’s or a group’s actions angers or inflames others does not necessarily mean that the inciting words were uncivil, or even inappropriate.
3 thoughts on “Now THIS Is Incivility…”
Let’s say for the moment that he is a reasonable man, and reasonable people are capable of unreasonable behavior. I’ll bet that if someone had asked him if he would place a flaming bag of poo at the door instead, that most immature treatment of an entrance, he would immediately snap out of it and the unacceptable nature of this would become perfectly clear.
Or am I giving him too much credit?
No, you are 100% right: that would make the ethics alarm go off. His was malfunctioning, and needed a good bash. Yours would have done the trick, I’m certain.