Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why, that two-terming Hawaiian...

The other day, the free local weekly called The Bulletin landed in my driveway, and I brought it inside. Most weeks I forget to read the paper even though it contains plenty of Las Cruces news. But this week I opened to the editorial page and read an opinion piece in which the writer called President Obama a Chicago mobster, apparently for single-handedly shutting down the World War II veterans' memorial.

Although I was pretty sure he was wrong on the facts, I emailed the writer and took him to task for name-calling. He promptly wrote me back, saying I was right, that Obama wasn't a mobster but a thug.

Talk about missing the point. No, I replied. We ought not to slur Obama (or anyone else, I might have added). The only thing we should call him is President. But we could also call him a two-terming Kenyan, or far more accurately, a two-terming Hawaiian.

I really should fess up here, lest I earn the label of hypocrite. Just show me a photo of Rumsfeld, Cheney, or LaPierre, and the invective rises in my throat like bile. It's irrational and inhumane, but most of us do it. Perhaps a fault line exists in our DNA that causes us to hurl insults at nasty, stupid morons.

That two-terming Hawaiian

The trouble is, no one maligns with style anymore. Truly vile sexist, racist and homophobic garbage aside, we still call people fascists, nazis, commies, socialists, and morons, and it's all so damn trite. Churchill called Atlee "a modest man with much to be modest about." Now that was a good one. And Shakespeare had a million of 'em, some of which could be recycled to good effect in Washington:

"All goodness is poison to thy stomach."
"He's a rank weed, and we must root him out."
"Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as this multitude?"
"Idol of idiot-worshipers"
"What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name!"
"Vicious mole of nature."

Source: Shakespeare's Insults

So if you can't wrap your venom in a little wit, don't bother. You'll be just another corrupter of words. Oh, wait. Shakespeare wrote that too.


Cairn Rodrigues said...

I've always been partial to "yellow bellied coward". Even though it's redundant, I still like it. Great post Bob and you're right. Let us all endeavor to call names with more style.

Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, let's not be redundant!

Morgan Mandel

Ron said...

Very well said Bob, and could not agree more. The trick is always to be able to tell someone to go to the devil in such a way that they look forward to the trip.

I don't like to disparage anyone...but when I do...I do it to entertain, not hurt ;)

Well done,