Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Doesn't Anyone Have Good Manners Anymore?

The Anchoress asks this plaintive question while discussing Ann Coulter's Today Show rant about 9/11 surviving wives using their husbands death to legitimize a political position.

Ed Morrisey over at Captain's Quarters compares Coulter with Ted Rall.

Glenn Reynolds says:

My general strategy these days is to ignore Coulter (Ted Rall, too), and if everyone did that things would be better. But yes, this deserves to be condemned. Of course, she's managed to troll Hillary into condemning her, probably assuring a bestseller slot.

First of all, I am more interested in content than delivery. Is the message true? It might be given by someone whose politics seems suspect, who uses expletives when two-syllable words would do, who is inarticulate or immoderate, but that does not say anything about the veracity of the opinion. Is it true?

For example, I personally think it is impolite to use a loved-one's death to forward a political campaign. The act feels sleazy. What civilized person would criticize a woman who has lost her husband or child to a horrific death even if the same person is spewing utter garbage. Her content might stink, but her package has "absolute moral authority" so everyone else must use good manners.

My premature son died nine years ago. Does that insulate me from criticism if I use my son's death to claim to speak for all people who have lost a child and espouse some kind of inane policy--mandatory bedrest with full pay for all women pregnant with twins beginning the 18th week of pregnancy, say. Well, I have lost a child, I have been pregnant with twins, does that not give me authority to say that?

Sure, I'm welcome to my opinion, but if I use my child's death as a shield to deflect any and all rational discourse not only should my policy opinion be attacked but my unseemly use of my son's death, as well. Wouldn't using my son be, well, bad manners?

The principle: You draw more bees with honey is nice. In fact, I enjoy regularly reading The Anchoress. You'll notice that she is in my Blog Roll in the right-hand column. My Blog-Link list isn't long. I'm rather picky. She has a sweetness and thoughtfulness in her writing style. She is self-exploratory without seeming narcisstic. If her talent stopped at style and had no substance, I'd quit reading, though. Polite or not, truth matters.

My previous post listed Left-leaning blogs that simply attacked Ann, calling her names. Most weren't sanctimoniously demanding apologies--most felt Ann was beyond apologizing. She was a worthless, contemptible human being. Her views weren't even worthy of mentioning.

Ann enjoys arguing. Ann enjoys stirring it up. Ann knows how to put forth an inflamatory sound-bite. So do lots of people--few of them Republican or Conservative, in fact. Paul Begala and James Carville come to mind as very smart, sputtering, inflammatory Kings of soundbite. The only difference between them and Ann? Their content is rarely true. It is the untruth that makes me crazy. Their delivery is secondary.

Back to the content. Ann had the temerity to take some of the 9/11 Widows to task for using their husband's deaths as shield against criticism of their politics. I find their actions shameless and quite lacking in manners. When does the statute of limitations on "victim criticism" end? It has been five years. And while five years feels like a long time, we all know, having all experienced a tremendous loss (maybe not as directly) on 9/11, that it also feels like yesterday. But time is marching on and decisions are being made and taxpayer dollars are being doled out and weepy emotionalism tends to cloud vision.

So, while Ann may have not been polite and nicey-nice about it, she does have a point. Have we all become so squishy that hearing someone clearly articulate a view using sarcasm and a cutting tone that we lose the message?

Update: Ha! I suppose this will negate my chances of being Blog Rolled on The Anchoress's or Captain's Quarter's or Instapundit's blog, huh? It's a shame, too, 'cuz I really, really like them and I would like more traffic. Maybe if I were nicer........


Chalmers said...

Sis, I know that I am quite daft (and a moron liberal), but what exactly is correct about this statement:

"And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy. . ."

Ann Coulter is probably correct about as often as Carville. To give her more credit for accuracy is merely wishful thinking.

prying1 said...

Dr. Melissa - I can see your point (and Coulter's) about hiding behind tragedy to push an agenda. Wrong thing to do.

I can hear it now. "You can't disagree with me. I'm dressed in black."

I will agree with Hugh Hewitt who thinks that Ann went way over the top by saying that the women in question were in essence 'glad' their spouses died.

"I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much" -

That I think is a statement that cannot be backed up with true knowledge because Ann would have to be able to read minds. Last I heard Shirley MacLaine is on the other side of the aisle.

Dr. Melissa said...

She is implying, correctly, I think, that they are using the 9/11 Tragedy and their personal loss to get their Five Minutes of Fame. Like aging actors, or B-list players, Playboy is the natural choice to revive interest. She is using hyperbole to illustrate the point.

The Anchoress goes after the media for using those touched by tragic losses, when they are in the emotional throes of a huge loss that they have yet to put in context--these people are revictimized by the press. And, to a certain extent, I think she is right. The handling of Cindy Sheehan is a case in point. Her grief and sorrow made for compelling media. At a certain point, I believe that the relationship mutated from parasitic to symbiotic. She got as much out of the relationship as the press. It started one-sided.

The point with Ms. Sheehan and the Jersey Girls is that what started off as exploitation became this weird use-use situation. That is Jim-Dandy fine if you're Brangelina. They clearly use the press. The press clearly uses them. It's a BUSINESS. Even the aging actor is using their body to sell--themselves.

Selling your story on the back of the dead, your husband, your child? Granted, this is a subtle argument in this coarse day and age. Plenty of people have transformed their loss into meaning and inspired many. The America's Most Wanted guy comes to mind. But the Jersey Girls and Cindy Sheehan aren't the only ones who lost family and yet they claim to speak for all and the Press loves this because the story they sell is the story the Press wants to sell. Who is the face of parents who have lost a child and support the War? Who are the faces of the families who lost family at the World Trade Center? Good luck. I can't think of a name either. Not that I want to. That's just the point.

Prying1, at what point will it be acceptable to use humor to attack a Public Personality? They are public personalities afterall, for quite some time, by their own choice. I don't think Ann was attempting mind-reading and I don't think she seriously believes this (although I can't read minds and don't know). I take that statement as crass humor.