Naturally, that statement begs the question: As opposed to when?
Really, when was this Golden Age of Civility? Ten years ago? Fifty? One hundred? When the fuck was this time when everyone was concerned about etiquette and politeness? Because, honestly, I don’t think that shit ever existed. Let’s take a quick jaunt through American history, shall we?
div style=”text-align: center;”> Ahh, colonial civility.
That’s Captain John Malcolm, a loyalist and customs official, being tarred and feathered by a Boston mob in 1774. Tarring and feathering, for those of you who don’t know, was a torture inflicted upon individuals by mobs. This incident occurred before the Revolutionary War. Nice and civil, no? I’m sure no one spoke out of turn or used bad words, so that makes it okay, right?
div style=”text-align: center;”> Oh, how we yearn for these bygone days.
That’s Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, the former Secretary of the Treasury and the sitting Vice President of the United States, fucking shooting at one another. Hamilton was, of course, killed in this 1804 duel. I’m sure Emily Post would have approved, as long as they had their pinky fingers extended on their pistol hands.
div style=”text-align: center;”> I say, Sullivan, these morning constitutionals certainly are invigorating!
That’s an engraving of the Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844. That’s right. People in Philadelphia rioted over a fucking rumor about what kind of Bible to use in the schools. Now, there was (surprise!) an anti-immigrant sentiment in Philadelphia. Instead of being terrified of brown people speaking Spanish, people were scared of white people with red hair who were Catholic. And these “Nativists” cared sooo much about the King James Version of the Bible that they just had to go and fucking kill some Irish Catholics. Who, of course, responded in kind. Very civil, that.