“No one can be as calculatedly rude as the British, which amazes Americans, who do not understand studied insult and can only offer abuse as a substitute.” [Paul Gallico]
So, what is the difference between calculated rudeness and abuse? Is it the “calculated” part that separates the “studied insult” from simple abusive language? Can abusive language directed toward an adversary be transformed into not only a socially acceptable form of communication, but, a potent weapon?
I think the answer to the last question is a resounding yes! I have long marveled at the ability of those highly skilled in the art of the “studied insult” to accomplish with humor what can never as effectively be accomplished with debate, or, simple conversation. I believe it is a form of art that has a very long history in the person of Court Jesters and comedians. When deflating the Big Shot is what is called for I do not believe there is a more powerful means than laughter. I do not think anything strikes more fear into the heart of the powerful than the prospect of being laughed at.
So, what stops us from seeing a whole lot more of this… this “studied insult”, this “calculated rudeness”? Why is it we, as a culture, find this business perfectly acceptable on “Comedy Central”, “The Daily Show” and other designated venues for comedy, but, not in our daily lives, or, political debates such as that ridiculous bit of nonsense that took place in Denver last week? If it is such a powerful tool for deflating the overly pompous why is its use limited to venues that are designated as “non-serious”… all in fun….. or, not to be taken too seriously?
I guess what I am trying to ascertain is why, in American political life, the use of the “studied insult” and “calculated rudeness” are to debate & discourse what nuclear weapons are to warfare. Even if we possess them… we dare not use them… AS POLITICIANS. Comedians can use them. It’s funny when comedians do. It’s sometimes devastating when skilled comedians do and everybody I know enjoys it. But NEVER directly into the face of the politician (or, person) being made to look foolish. THAT is considered rude, crude and socially unattractive.
I often wonder who made up that rule. I bet it was the powerful. I bet I know why and I bet you do too.
I think it is a foolish rule and I would like to see it fall by the wayside in the interest of HONESTY!
Lets face it folks…. “If” politicians can lie through their ass every time they open their mouths in a debate SOMETHING more powerful is necessary to counteract the power of the lie. That “something” is the artful application of calculated rudeness.
THIS is the kind of technique President Obama should be boning up on for the next debate. Here is the work of an expert.