I just read a review of "Kill Bill," a movie which is so saturated with blood and gore that even the reviewer was repelled. The reviewer, Kenneth Turan, says:
"As someone who would give a lot to be among the ignorant [of "Kill Bill"] but is compelled by occupation to sample these wares...."
Violence sells. Violence is part of our competition-drenched society. We are constantly admonished to compete. We are told competition is best for everything. However, competition leads to boasting and resentment, and then to aggression and violence. In sports. In movies. In life.
In intellectual pursuits as well. First, conservatives claim the media is liberal. Then the liberals respond that this is not so; it is conservative. Conservative pundits attack liberal pundits on some mistatement, and then liberal pundits return the favor. Names (I'll not use any) are exchanged. Petty gossip about liberal and conservative politicians and pundits is exchanged. There is charge and countercharge, back and forth like ping pong balls. And the intellectual vigor of ping pong balls.
All to what purpose? You would think that intellectuals would not be so violent in their "discourse" with one another. But they, and all of us, live in a harsh competitive environment. Intellectuals fight the same way other people fight.
As a result of all this slugging, few people discuss the issues. Is it any wonder why so few people bother to vote? Of course, there are other reasons. But I believe the rhetorical violence between those on the left and those on the right obscures the real issues and drives many away from the ballot box.
It is time to tone down the left-right intellectual violence. Merely because someone disagrees with your point of view does not make him your enemy. Let's discuss the issues; not people. Let's assume that the fellow on the other side of the issue is just as smart as you and as good a citizen as you.