Nowadays, fighting words can be anything that upsets you or me. Thankfully few actually fight, but the intensity of emotion now gets expressed over targets beyond family or religion or state – including insults directed at people totally unrelated to you (like, say, members of your favorite sports team).
I see this in the Chris Kyle kerfuffle. People who never met him love him — and hate him.
As someone who saw the unsettling, nuanced movie, and remain bemused at the way in which turned into an ideological football — I also saw how any criticism of the film became blasphemous.
But it was worse among tone-deaf leftists: to them any film that portrayed an American soldier humanely was equally blasphemous. It was the left who started this game of political ping pong – but both sides transformed criticism into monotonous outrage.
If you’re slightly critical of say, fabulist Lena Dunham, or quirky Sarah Palin – or any woman with a fervent following, you will come face to face with hordes of angry people. A commentary on such role models is an attack on their supporters. It’s far worse coming from young angry libs with lots of free campus time – but the right are guilty of this too.
I wish we’d stop, but we won’t.