Thursday, 1 March 2007

It’s not the way that they say it

It’s a great mistake to assume that the kind of language in which an opinion is expressed is always some sort of guide to the value of that opinion. It is true that an urbane, well-thought-out, moderate piece of writing often indicates that the view being put forward is one which any reasonable man might be inclined to accept, but sometimes such a piece can be written by someone who has acquired a skill with words but who is actually a bigot of the vilest kind. Many a clever politician or preacher can speak with what sounds like a voice of sweet reason—unless you listen carefully to what he is actually saying; not all people who ought to be locked up give themselves away by foaming at the mouth.

Of course rabidly right-wing commentators do often express their views in illiterate, intemperate, abusive and obscene prose. This is not a political statement, for such prose is by no means confined to right-wing polemic, but most left-wing comment tends to be gentler in style: in America, right-wingers would say that this is because what they call “liberals” are mealy-mouthed wimps who have no real convictions to shout about.

The lie to this is given by a website called Annotated Rant. I cannot give extracts from it here because everything it contains is couched in language which would be utterly unacceptable to my readers, most of whom grew up in the days when swear-words were used sparingly. Also, I know that my posts are regarded fondly by many Catholic Mothers’ Reading Circles, and I would be sorry if Other Men's Flowers were to be blacklisted: I give top priority to decorum, propriety and simple decency in all my writing and try hard to use only words which will not offend even the most sissy-arsed of pisswits.

I will not observe my usual principle of making posts self-contained, and will give only the link above. But most people who follow it will see at once that in spite of the heavy sarcasm and foul language these are witty and salutary comments and that the general viewpoint of the writers can only be heartily endorsed by any sensible person.

Subjects covered to date are of interest mainly to Americans. They are: The South, Christmas, The New York Times, The State of the Union, South Dakota, Tax Day and President Bush.


Minerva said...

Can't think of any remotely witty urbanities today but, by God, I laughed...

eric said...

As an afficiando of effing & blinding (perhaps the best phrase I learned in my three years of living in England; but I'd never heard "sissy-arsed pisswit", which is pretty effing good), I will be eternally grateful to Tony for introducing me to such a wonderful site. Sadly, as recent events (which may not have received attention in Britain) demonstrate, the author of annotated rant will never be hired as official campaign blogger by any U.S. presidential candidate. But s/he damned well ought to be.

Tony said...

Eric: Glad you enjoyed Annotated Rant and liked the phrase I coined specially for the post.
Afficiando was new to me; is it variant of aficionado for Hispanophobes?

eric said...

Oh my, that's pretty bad even by the standards of my usual sloppiness.

Corey V. said...

I haven't been on Annotated Rant since it was just the "F*** the South" post. And so I'm sorry that I missed "F*** South Dakota."

As a resident of South Dakota who is very against any of the overbearing abortion bans we keep trotting out through the gov't, I have to say AR is right on base. I'm only sad I didn't find this earlier.