Cheap Thrills: Mocking the Other Guy
Reading the Sunday editorials, I was struck by the gratuitous insults using a single modifier, usually an adjective. It started with a George Will essay using "gimmick" and "pandering," an easy way to slap down whatever liberal position he focused on. It's easy and frustrating to the injured party. No facts necessary to back up the position, just a categorical statement of disapproval. Why bother to prove a point, when a simple adjective will do the trick? Drop in "bogus," "money grab," "washed-up," "death [whatever: tax, panel, squad]," "big government ______," "billionaire ______." Anyone can do it, about virtually any disagreement. Religious conversations can turn quickly to "Satan," military to "cowardly," politics to "unworthy rich" or "unworthy poor," depending on which party. Ditto for "wasteful spending" versus "blood sucking bankers;" plus "betraying the Constitution" (especially Second Amendment on this one). [Will also uses "crybaby conservative"--this one I like, but pledge not to use it again.]
I don't think I drop to this level of unnecessary insults and I will try harder to not use them (with the possible exception of counter-punching an habitual practitioner). Making an actual case for a position based on research seems a required approach for a moderate position.
Adding additional insulting adjectives might be useful, although it may serve as a future reference for practitioners. Instead I'll be adding examples and why I believe they are offensive. Presumably, the Sunday columnists will refer to their insult thesaurus and I'll be on guard.
We have a current president that uses this and similar techniques to insult ... well, almost everyone. Of course he has a rabid following presumably of extremists that expect exactly this kind of insults. Why rely on facts (Trump is pushing 14,000 false and misleading statements according to the Washington Post) when a single "sleepy," "lazy," "sham," "witch hunt," "deep state," "hoax," "partisan attack," "circus," "scam or sham," "failing," ridiculous," "meritless," problematic," "claptrap," or "stupid" will get a standing ovation.