One possible solution to the growing acidity in communications, including political columns and increasingly rude bloggers, is to bring back honorifics: Mr. for men; Miss or Mrs. for women; and Ms. on those doubtful occasions when good manners is likely to get you castrated by a radical feminist in full fury. Public discourse without honorifics sounds too much like a bar brawl. As anyone who has ever been involved in a bar brawl will know, there is a world of difference between saying 1) “Smith is an ass,” and 2) “Mr. Smith is an ass,” even when sorrowful bad news is brought to Mr. Smith in a bar. (As an aside, it should be noted that the absence of honorifics in bars has become especially troublesome since smoking, a much frowned upon habit that seemed to have had a calming effect on inebriated patrons, has been criminalized.) The only thing that might upset bar patrons more than the prohibition of smoking would be the criminalization of hard liquor – not an impossibility when one c
go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you;
may your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"