Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DON'T TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME. Ohdear, The Anchoress again:
Just ran out for a Chai Tea Latte (and to get away from the noise of the non-stop leaf-blowers, around here) and heard this on the radio:
“Mitt Romney is in New York (blah blah) to attend three fund-raisers where he’ll get to meet some supporters (blah blah) paying $2,500 a plate (blah blah) and others on Park Avenue.”
On paper, it looks like the most innocent news report ever generated, doesn’t it?

Over the airways, with the newsreader’s emphasis, what came through was
“Mitt Romney is in New York (blah blah) to attend three fund-raisers! Where he’ll get to meet some supporters (blah blah) paying $2,500 a plate! (Blah blah) and others on Park Avenue!
Message: Moneygrubbing! The One Percenters! The Evil Rich on Park Avenue!

Somehow this same news station manages not to overemphasize or breath exclamation points when the President comes into town to do a number of fundraisers costing thousands of dollars a plate, in ritzy neighborhoods...
Even assuming that this cheapjack mystic actually heard what she says she heard, those of us who actually live in this world will assume that the harried newsreader was probably just trying to make the copy sound like something other than blah blah.

But more to the point: Imagine thinking like this. Imagine hearing 1010-WINS or some damn thing and being offended by the political implications of somebody's tone of voice. It's one thing to be bothered enough to write about something stupid somebody said, but why would you report to your readers on the ideological bias of someone's "breath exclamation points"?

I write a lot here about the spectacular self-pity and eagerness to take offense of modern conservatives, but at this moment in their history I think they're verging into something new. There's always been in their discourse a kind of petulance that seemed to me beyond politics, and in a post like this it asserts itself and overtakes politics almost completely. You see revealed the habit of mind that prefigures all their crackpot ideas about justice, governance, and everything else -- that of the perpetually aggrieved fusspot, the one who thinks everyone's trying to put something over on her -- which is why, whenever she takes an absurd number of helpings from the food sample table, or brings 20 items to the 10-items-or-less line, or stiffs the waiter at the coffee shop, or occupies two spaces at the parking lot, she feels not only justified but righteous. She thinks she's anti-socialist, but she's really just anti-social. And the pinched, miserable blaming blather that pours off the stage of the Republican Presidential debates is not oratory nor statesmanship nor even politics, but the echo of her voice.

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