Matt Yglesias and a shocking breach of protocol

Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead

That\’s just scumbag horrible. A despicable breach of good manners.

It\’s just fine to think that the world\’s a better place without a certain person or people in it. It\’s even just fine to say so. But there is this little convention that human beings have found very useful over the centuries.

We wait until the body\’s actually in the grave before pissing into it.

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum

This does not apply to all the dead. It applies only to the recently dead.

Various reasons can be given for this social observance. Allow the weeping widow a day or two at least to try and come to terms with her loss. A reminder that we\’re all headed that way perhaps and a little bit of solemnity about one who has preceded us is a good idea. I\’ve even heard it said that as hearing is the last of the human senses to fade the origin is that you don\’t want someone\’s last memories of this Earth as being \”well, I never liked that scumbag anyway\”.

But whatever the reason we really should wait until the body\’s cold and in the ground before dropping our pants and indulging in a willy waving contest over who can be most dismissive of that societal convention.

30 comments on “Matt Yglesias and a shocking breach of protocol

  1. I have to say I’d never heard of Mr Breitbart before today and will make no comment on his life, never mind his death.

    But if this is a decent photo of him at 43, then, as they don’t say in these parts “he must have had a damn hard bike round.”

    His twitter background photo does him slightly more justice but you’d expect that to have been carefully taken, possibly even “adjusted”.

  2. It’s all of a piece with smooth left-wing ‘Metro’ attitudes, arising from a mix of green eyed envy and a chip on both shoulders. One only has to glance at any ‘alternative’ comedy programme or achingly trendy chat show to see this constant vitriolic attack-dog stance of the participants towards any section of society that does not agree with their world view. It is always more noticeable during periods of Conservative Government, as to pour acid on fellow socialists is seen to be bad form. TNo doubt, if seriously challenged on this he very best targets are, of course, those who can’t answer back: the dead, the Royal Family and such.
    No doubt, if seriously challenged on this appalling outpouring of vitriol, he would defend himself with the usual, ‘ It’s all a joke, can’t you even see that?’.

  3. Nick Luke: Did you see what Breitbart wrote about Kennedy? This isn’t a left/right thing, it’s a basic humanity thing.

  4. Ted Kennedy left a woman to die in his car- he was loathsome.

    Breitbart was a confrontational journalist who did a lot of good.

    Big difference.

    As he said at the time he wouldn’t have said things like if it had been someone equally liberal like Jimmy Carter- but Kennedy was vile.

  5. Was this little statement actually made on twitter.. where the @___ means that it is actually directed at the dead chap, or anyone who might be reading the feed?

    Because that would particularly not classy.

  6. PaulB: “If ever there was a case for an exception to this rule, Breitbart would be it”

    Hey, if only Breitbart had got p****d, given off a bridge and left a young woman to drown in his car, eh?

  7. Matthew L
    This is precisely the attitude that I was trying to outline. Nasty, vicious attacks on someone who does not agree with your own way of seeing the world is ok if expressed by a hip post-modernist socialist, but unacceptable if expressed by a neo-con.
    The Kennedy clan, from Joseph and through his children, was a blot on humanity. The kid glove treatment of Edward K was in the worst tradition of Tammany Hall.
    From Wikipedia: ‘The presiding judge, James A. Boyle, concluded that some aspects of Kennedy’s story of that night were not true, and that negligent driving “appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne”.

  8. Not to mention the dreadful way in which Kennedy treated those women who managed to survive his ministrations.

  9. I’m not defending Ted Kennedy, I actually agree with Breitbart’s criticism of him. I just don’t think that while the body was still warm was the right time to express that criticism.

  10. To be fair, the Rolling Stone article linked above is actually fairly reverential if you read beyond the opening line.

  11. When Osama Bin Laden, who murdered thousands, was himself killed we heard a lot of tut-tutting about the indecent “bloodlust” and “hate” of those who celebrated.

    It would be interesting to look back and see if any of that enlightened outrage came from the same people who are jeering over Breitbart’s death now. I would not be surprised to find a large overlap. After all, Breitbart committed an intolerable outrage against the left – he was the puckish prankster who upset the establishment. Only they are allowed to do that.

  12. “Ted Kennedy left a woman to die in his car”: that’s the kindest possible interpretation you could put on it. Maybe he murdered her. Who knows?

  13. I can’t help wondering whether Andrew Breitbart’s primary service was as a kind of plaque discloser, in that he managed to reveal what so many of his opponents – who affect a default moral and intellectual superiority – didn’t want seen. As illustrated here, with comments on the man’s death by leftist academics.

  14. If enough public figures die perhaps we’ll come to realise that people of all political persuasions act like wankers when people they’ve disliked snuff it.

  15. ““Ted Kennedy left a woman to die in his car”: that’s the kindest possible interpretation you could put on it. Maybe he murdered her. Who knows?”

    Unlikely, he was a scumbag, but not a brave one. And it takes a certain amount of bravery to plan and execute cold-blooded murder.

    Also, he wasn’t that bright, frankly…

  16. BenSix: Precisely, and what was once muttered to like minded friends is now announced publicly.

  17. “to plan and execute cold-blooded murder”: who said cold-blooded? Maybe he tried it on with her, she resisted, he drunkenly thumped her and then decided to drive off the bridge to cover it up.

  18. but…even so…you can let people bury their dead before gloating. You can be Achilles dragging Hector round the walls of Troy in your chariot but sooner or later some upstart will sink an arrow into your weak point

  19. And let’s not forget Polly Toynbee’s savaging of Auberon Waugh the second he was safely dead.

    Much of the Left thinks that it is so morally superior the normal rules do not apply to them. Some more than others. This is just the end result of thinking you’re better than other people.

  20. BenSix – “If enough public figures die perhaps we’ll come to realise that people of all political persuasions act like wankers when people they’ve disliked snuff it.”

    Perhaps. But the old cliche goes the Right thinks their opponents are stupid, the Left thinks theirs are evil. Mostly because virtually everybody on the Right used to be on the Left while those on the Left have not grown up yet.

    I think that means there are differences in the way they treat their enemy dead. Not in kind perhaps but in degree at least.

  21. SMFS: Mr Breitbart provided a counter example to that theory, which is why Ted Kennedy came up.

  22. Matthew L – “Mr Breitbart provided a counter example to that theory, which is why Ted Kennedy came up.”

    Leaving a girl to drown is evil. Even stupid people can be evil. It is a mistake to think every Leftist is like Charlie Manson, but some of them are.

  23. What I’ve learnt from this thread:

    1) Leftists who made unkind remarks about Breitbart shortly after his death, thinking that he was a bad person, are scumbags.

    2) Rightists are more mature than leftists, and generally morally superior.

    3) It was ok for Breitbart to broadcast insulting tweets about Edward Kennedy shortly after his death, because Breitbart thought Kennedy was a bad person.

    No, that can’t be right. The truth must be that you all think Breitbart was wrong to behave as he did when Kennedy died, but you’re unable to say so because that would be to speak ill of the recently deceased.

  24. PaulB

    No, that can’t be right. The truth must be that you all think Breitbart was wrong to behave as he did when Kennedy died, but you’re unable to say so because that would be to speak ill of the recently deceased.

    Yep, that is pretty much it. Except there must be a limit where someone behaves so badly that the normal social conventions do not apply. It was wrong, to break Godwin’s law by using the obvious example, for the Irish government to extend their regrets to the German government when Hitler died for instance.

    I happen to think that leaving a girl to die in a car meets that limit (although of course not remotely close to Hitler’s crimes). While reporting the news in a way that upper middle class liberals do not like does not.

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