Speaking Ill

blue lettering from a Prudential sign spelling only rude

“It is permissible to have an unexpressed thought”

No one is loved by everyone. Well, maybe Terry Fox was, but there is probably somebody, somewhere who feels the need to criticize him, too. Oprah is beloved but she also has detractors. There are people who wish God wouldn’t save the Queen. The Pope isn’t popey enough for some, and he’s too popey for others. (Popey isn’t in the dictionary yet, but just wait, it will be!)

I was not a fan of Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who died not long ago. But what good does it do the world for me to say so on the day he died, in a public forum? Twitter was full of fans mourning his death, and those who really hated the guy, proudly saying so.

I have no problem with speaking ill of the dead, when it’s earned. But I do have a problem with being deliberately rude to the living. Rush Limbaugh can no longer read negative comments about himself, so those comments must have been meant for his fans, right? All they did was further widen the human chasm.

I won’t defend Limbaugh, but I do want to allow people the human right to feel bad and mourn when someone they liked died. The fifth anniversary of Rob Ford’s death just passed and the first for Christie Blatchford’s. There was no shortage of those piling on to say they were both crap, while their families marked the solemn day.

Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

Bernard Meltser

We are all on this spinning rock together. Yes, there are people who act like turds. But there are also plenty of folks who need to realize they’ll never change those people with a clever little barb. Especially once they’re dead!

A guy I knew from my radio days died young a few years ago. He was, on more than one occasion and over a span of many years, horrible to me. Arrogant, belittling – and those were his good qualities. But when he died, our mutual friends were hurting and describing him in a way that I never saw. Kind, fun, loyal. I did not, nor have I ever, shared my experiences with him by naming and shaming him. What would be the point? There isn’t one. It doesn’t help anybody and it only creates a chasm between me and his friends. It just proved to me that everyone can have good qualities, if they want to. Sometimes they only show those qualities to a select few.

If Rush Limbaugh’s car had broken down near my house, I would have invited him in for a coffee and called a tow truck. We wouldn’t have talked politics. But he was a human being. People were rejoicing in the man’s death. What kind of person does that? For a genocidal maniac? Okay, I get it. For a man whose politics differ from yours? That seems extreme and unnecessary.

And please don’t tell me how Limbaugh gathered the kindling to create the fire of division in America. That divide has been there since before the Civil War. Their political history includes the same themes coming up over and over. Outrageous, unprovable accusations, fear of “the other”, and outright lies are nothing new.

The quote at the top has been attributed to everyone from Monty Python to several writers. Remembering it has saved me many times from an ill-timed or poorly thought out social media post. I wish more people would take a breath before they spewed, that’s all.

5 thoughts on “Speaking Ill”

  1. This is very interesting. My husband, shortly after Rush Limbaugh died said basically the same thing – that he (Limbaugh) couldn’t defend himself so what was the point? He had a lot of people making rude comments about his comment!

    Love the quote, by the way.

  2. Thank you! Very well written and thought out.
    I am posting that quote on our Welcome board at the office.

  3. Boy, was I thinking about your blog on the weekend as I was reading everyone’s two cents (pence?) on Prince Philip. Yes, everyone has an opinion on the relevancy of the monarchy and so on, but c’mon. I just wish some folks would ask themselves if they’d say these things to the loved ones of those who’ve passed on. There’s an awful lot of false bravado packed into those little keyboards….

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