It wasn't all that long ago on this site that I voiced strong opposition to the election columns of Mark Shea, most recently here. I did this on the basis that I found his writing, taken in the context of his being a Catholic Apologist employed by the National Catholic Register, morally questionable in regards to his urging voters to vote for Clinton in the Fall while also condemning the Democrats as immoral. Shea clearly sympathizes with at least some Democratic positions, but the problem here is that you can't argue its moral imperative to do something without fully weighing that out. Shea's scale seemed to be broken in those regards.
He was let go from his position at the NCR a couple of days ago, which doesn't surprise me. But what does surprise me is that there was also a vocal set of people urging that Simcha Fisher be let go as well.
Now, I don't follow all of Fisher's writings, and indeed I rarely read Shea. Of any of those columnists I'm most likely to read Jimmy Akin, who is a prolific writer, but if I stopped in to read the blogs on that site I would always check out Fisher's. I really like her writing and found it to be uniformly interesting.
Well, what occurred in regards to Fisher (which isn't to say that anything really occurred, as she's still a columnist at the NCR) is that she resorted to really vulgar language on her Facebook site in the context of criticizing Trump.
From reading it, what appears to be the case to me is that she did what a lot of decent people do, she got mad and lost it linguistically. Rarely does that make a person's argument better, and indeed it tends to reduce it to the junior high level. If Fisher were a secular columnist I wouldn't have thought much about it (which is my point, I'll get to it in a second), but frankly, if I did publish the NCR, as much as I like Fisher's writings, and I do, I'd have canned her. Indeed, Fisher, whom I have no doubt is devout, should have taken counsel of the fact that the Apostolic writers and their fellows counseled several times not to use vulgar language.
And as a writer who writes from the prospective of a mother with a large brood of children, it's all the more shocking and inappropriate. I think some of the reaction to her writing may be a bit much as well, but I also think that if one of her kids ran in the house spouting the same things she said, he'd be getting the soap in the mouth treatment, although probably only figuratively. So what was she thinking?
Well, there's a lot of that talk around anymore.
And that's the point of this entry.
There are writers and columnist who resort to argument that's not really appropriate all the time. I don't follow Ann Coulter much, but her satire is very sophomoric for example and has no place in an educated decent society. But she's hugely popular. In the Republican campaign the candidates had a surreal episode when they were discussing the size of their hands but not at the same time. None of the candidates who engaged in that conversation should have made it past the electoral bar. On popular television shows vulgar topics are discussed constantly, dropping the standard of acceptable conversation as well as the moral standards down with each passing year.
And in average conversation vulgar speech has spread like wildfire. It's everywhere. It's tolerated.
Well, it ought not to be.
This blog is at least ostensibly about the early 20th Century and seeks to track changes that have occurred in that time. Well, one such change is the decline in speech. It's massive.
And that's a trend that society would be well served by reversing.
It turns out that Fisher was also let go. For some reason, her blog entries remain up on their site, while Shea's were pulled, perhaps reflecting the degree of discomfort that the publisher had with them, or not.
Shea wrote a very nice and well reasoned statement about his being let go, but really lambasted Fischer being let go in a separate item. That latter entry reflected poorly on him, in my opinion, but it is perhaps understandable.