I'm a corn-fed Midwestern boy, but I've picked up some bad habits along the way. I say things about public figures I wouldn't say about private citizens, and that's not quite entirely justified by the fact that most private citizens I know are not scum-sucking megalomaniacs. I once caused (inadvertantly) a local reporter to receive a lot of insulting emails (apparently) by posting something she'd written on Salon's Table Talk. And I was profoundly sorry and told her so.
It's easy to snipe at people from a distance that won't get your teeth shoved down your throat. It is to the credit of the left side of the spectrum that many people objected to the language aimed at Michelle Malkin yesterday. In disagreeing with them I in no way meant to imply that I find gutter talk a good idea. I do think that Malkin, as a paid provocateur, ought to be above mentioning it in her column or seeking in out in another site's comments or on men's room walls.
We North Americans are particularly impoverished when it comes to cursing, and it's gotten worse in my lifetime. Not the volume, I mean, though maybe that's true as well, but the sort of mindless "Fuck you, you fuckin' fuck" stuff, the substitution of charged words for something that might require a bit of thought. But then what passes for thought has toyed with the poverty level lately, too.
Personally, I don't like anatomical curse words. I didn't join in in fourth grade when "asshole" took over the playground. But it is part of our common currency, and as such it can be used well, even artistically. There's a big difference between reflecting Life As We Know It and repeating something for its conventional effects, like there's a difference between a Stieglitz portrait and one of those disposable snapshots your grandma takes at family gatherings.
I guess what I'm saying is, in this age of polarized public discourse there's a great need not only for more precision in our language, even when expressing anger or outrage or schadenfreude, but for some more creative ad hominems. I hope you'll join me in searching for some. If not, you suck.