Ands, ifs, buts or maybes (but mostly buts)
After 9/11, Mark Steyn quickly identified the way Western pseudo-sophisticates would expose themselves when trying to sound evenhanded in their sympathy; it was the inevitable "but" that would give them away. As in "9/11 was a terrible disaster, BUT..." "I don't condone terrorism, BUT..." That "but" automatically turned the speaker into a hypocrite and a liar. So I was astonished to read the huge number of comments on Jerry Falwell go something like, "I didn't agree with him, BUT (may he rest in peace, Godspeed and see you in Heaven, etc....)" One or two, I wouldn't have noticed, but when more than half the comments on the StandFirm thread (until the house troll derailed it) took this tack, the effect became something between comical and infuriating. It was like watching a Carpathian peasant reflexively crossing himself whenever he caught a glimpse of Castle Dracula. Is it really THAT compromising to say the usual "Prayers for his family," without adding, "Oh, and here are my bona fides to prove that I can't be tainted by association with the man." In such cases, maybe silence is just the best option.