In Our Time

Cultural Notes, in Two Keys

The liberal print media, like all things liberal, are never more themselves than when searching out, discovering, and deploring violence in America—gun violence, police violence, violence against women, violence against children, violence against racial and ethnic minorities, violence against immigrants, violence against Muslims, violence against homosexuals and “transgender people,” violence against foreign countries and cultures, violence against nature—while remaining blissfully unaware of the verbal violence they commit every minute of the day in print and in pixels in their various publications.

So far as I know, the trend began about two decades ago when reporters, columnists, and editorialists discovered and fell helplessly in love with the verb to bash, which apparently appealed to them as le verbe juste, having exactly the connotations of graphic physical brutality, emotional viciousness, and deranged hatred they read into the mildest expression of disapproval or criticism of “gays,” the “gay lifestyle,” and the “gay community.”  Almost overnight, it seemed, “gay bashing” appeared across the media like mushrooms after a spring storm, suggesting wide-eyed devils with teeth like rows of knives smashing in the heads of “gays” with shovels and pickaxes as if they were melons.  Suddenly, the most sensitively phrased...

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