Defining Rude

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has been, since President Truman or thereabouts, an opportunity for the Press and the President to share some self deprecating humor and improve relationships.

The most recent one got much of the wacko left in giggles but is causing others to consider the propriety of the behavior of one of the presenters. Richard Cohen is one of those who thought it So Not Funny. In doing so he defined rude:

Rude is not the same as brash. It is not the same as brassy. It is not the same as gutsy or thinking outside the box. Rudeness means taking advantage of the other person’s sense of decorum or tradition or civility that keeps that other person from striking back or, worse, rising in a huff and leaving.

Why is it worthy of note?

Because he [Colbert] is representative of what too often passes for political courage, not to mention wit, in this country. His defenders — and they are all over the blogosphere — will tell you he spoke truth to power.

So the first issue was that of abusing a privilege by being rude and behaving as a bully. This is an insensitivity to civility.

The second issue is that of integrity. Many believe Colbert was funny because they believed that his assault on civility was based in reality and putting it to those in power. They have even used columns such as Cohen’s as proof positive that the MSM is in the President’s pocket. The problem is that their view of reality is not fully in line with facts. It is a constructed defense.

The key is in the behavior and the acceptance of that behavior. Funny or no, you have to wonder about people who do not value civility and consider lambasting others personally a good thing.

UPDATE: Dr. Sanity has an interesting analysis on Colbert’s form of humor and where it is usually found.

Comments are closed.