Our friend William Teach, over at The Pirate's Cove has penned an interesting and thought provoking piece this AM on civility. I am going to quote from it extensively, and if he doesn't like it he can just kiss my... (Take a deep breath! Civility! Ommm.) ah, then, we can simply discuss it like gentlemen! Teach writes:
Should media and other outlets avoid publishing material that upsets others? Not just Muslims, but the targeted group? We’re not talking about forced censorship, but personal censorship. Civility. Respect. Responsibility. In Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein wrote
“A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”
...that always made quite a bit of sense to me. Too often people are willing to forgo civility. With free speech comes responsibility. Much of the world has forgotten this as an attitude that makes everything not just about “me me me”, but infused with an attitude that everyone else is simply an ant. What does that mean? Do you think about all the ants and bugs you step on? No. You almost never notice them. You’re just doing your own thing without regard to the bugs. This is the way so many people think today. When they’re driving along and cut people off, it’s more than just selfishness, it’s a complete lack of regard for what can happen to other people. The fender bender behind them is of no regard as they drive off without knowing they are responsible for causing that accident.
Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Was it appropriate when cartoonists were penning cartoons portraying Condi Rice in a horribly racist manner, many which were published in major American newspapers, such as the Washington Post and NY Times. When we do, we should be responsible for doing, be it speech, actions, the pen. We may not be to blame, we we can bear responsibility.
I commented along the lines of: "You cite the racist portrayal of Condi Rice. Those cartoons were vicious and meant to demean her. Isn’t there therefore a difference between those who would use a drawing to ridicule Mohammed as opposed to one that simply portrays him?
(To the non-Muslim, at least.)"
Is it not civil to point out something in someone else's religion that you believe is wrong or in error, or should that topic be off limits? I disagree with Mormons on matters of theology, but I generally do not air them in public. During the 2012 election, some liberal trolls (am I being uncivil in identifying them as such?), mocked Mitt Romney for his "holy underwear", referring to a practice of Mormonism, yet they had never leveled any such criticism at Democrat Harry Reid, also a Mormon.
So, for the case of both Condi and Mitt, the incivility seems to be primarily partisan in nature. Is partisan incivility exempted from other norms of civil behavior? Is it fair game to practice incivility towards one's political opponents? I doubt that the cartoonist or editors for the Post or NYT would have been so gauche as to mock Condi to her face or Mitt to his. And the trolls hide in their mother's basement, sniping at some whose boots they are unfit to lick.
So, how or where do we draw the line? Coincidentally, I woke up this AM thinking along these same lines. Am I being too harsh on those I criticize, and sometimes mock? Michael Moore drew the ire of many on Twitter yesterday, when he tweeted that Chris Kyle, subject of the movie "American Sniper", was a coward. Michael Moore is, on his better days, a vile disgusting human being. Is it not civil to point this out, or is it merely the degree to which one goes to point it out that might violate civility?
Moore spoke about an uncle in WWII who was shot by a sniper. And while I did refrain from asking him if his uncle was also his father, I did ask him if his uncle was shot by an American sniper?
The pudgy, ubiquitous Seth Rogen and a number of other brain dead liberals* (but I repeat myself) took it upon themselves to try to stretch Godwin's Law and compare American Sniper to the ersatz Nazi propaganda film featured in the movie Inglorious Basterds (sic).
Both Moore and Rogen have tried to walk back their statements, to little success, I might add. Michael Moore (Zip Codes 48501-48507, & 48550- 48557)* tweeted:
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worseAfter a little bit of blowback, he tried to claim that he never mentioned Chris Kyle by name, so, his comments were just somehow generic "snipers are cowards" remarks that had nothing to do with the fact that American Sniper is setting box office records and is very much in the forefront in the mind of the general public.
Possibly too, the fact that his fauxumentaries, lying dreck that they were, were never a fraction of the box office success of American Sniper, would never cause a noble soul like Moore to be jealous of that success.
Rogen, whose latest movie by nearly all accounts was dreadful, but generated a great deal of support across the country nonetheless after an attempted ban by the North Koreans, gave the following excuse:
I just said something "kinda reminded" me of something else. I actually liked American Sniper. It just reminded me of the Tarantino scene.To which I replied:
If the critics say your movies remind them of dog vomit, then, they're not actually comparing, right? Just reminded. Right.I also posed the question over at Pirate's Cove:
Should I self censor if what I write or draw offends a certain group? Do we extend this courtesy to skinheads, 9-11 truthers and the KKK, or is it merely religion that we exempt?Does anyone get a free ride? Liberals gave liberal Mormons a free ride, but not conservative Mormons. A commenter at PC posited out that 'Islam is not an "evolved" religion', bringing up the point are the less informed or benighted among us free from civility? May we mock headhunters, but not Presbyterians? Radical Islamists but not moderate Muslims? People who are mistaken or downright entrenched in their ignorance??
In a polite society, is it ever correct to be intentionally rude? Even if someone, in your humble opinion deserves it?
Someone once said of George Bush (and obliquely of Barack Obama), that Bush never unintentionally insulted the Europeans.
Consider too, the latest Papal dispensation to civility. Pope Francis responded to the Paris slaughter by suggesting that "if someone curses your mother, he should expect to be punched".
Well, I realize that the whole "turn the other cheek" thing is so 33 AD, still do we get a "one free punch" exception to civility, like the "one free grope" rule given to Bill Clinton to shield him from sexual harassment laws?
I realize this post raises more questions than it answers. I've got a couple of Photoshops coming up on Wednesday and Thursday AM this week. The first is rather tame, mocking the current administration (in quite a clever way, I might add!), but the second, Thursday's, is a little more biting, directed solely at the President. Let me know if you think I'm being less than civil.
BTW, anything in my blog I am more than willing to tell to the face of subjects of these posts.
Addendum: (Not so much an update as something I meant to reference earlier when I was rudely interrupted by work.)
Last week after Andrew Roman's excellent Before You Argue the Point, Know Your Bible First post, we had a brief discussion about how people forfeit their rights, and that capital punishment was in no way was inconsistent with a pro-life viewpoint. Just as one can love liberty and favor people forfeiting their liberty through any number of acts, one can be pro life and favor capital punishment for those who forfeit their own right to life by unjustly taking the life of another. Which got me to thinking, in this context, do people such as Moore and Rogen (And Obama, and Biden, etc. etc.) forfeit their right to civility by being less than civil? By lying or being duplicitous?/ By being snot-nosed, lying crapweasels*???
*Was that uncivil?? Yes, but pointedly so!