Photo cropped in an alarming spirit of rudeness and incivility: Getty

Hark... what tis upon the horizon there? An angel? No—it doth a piece of shit phoned-in column by a lazy worn-out media guy. Hail!

Civil discourse in America: It’s in decline? Interesting. Interesting topic. A topic explored, verbatim, here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. This epidemic of “Civil Discourse in Decline” as a topic of extremely predictable columns raises important questions for our civic society. Namely: Do you think maybe as people age they tend to perceive the world as less friendly, based on anecdotal evidence, notwithstanding things like advances in basic human rights? Also: Should old people learn to Google their column topics in advance?

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These and many other topics are important for us all to consider, in a civil way. If we fail to do so, we risk ending up like Gerald Seib, who is the Washington Bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, which is a pretty good job, right? [Update: Seib is now “executive Washington editor and chief commentator.”] Yeah, better than your fucking job. It is Gerald Seib’s professional accomplishments and Washington insider access that allows him to conceive column topics like, let’s see here... “Civil Discourse in Decline: Where Does It End?”

But is there a string of recent anecdotes that a newspaper guy could read in the newspaper to support this overly broad underlying assertion?

A Republican congressional candidate body slams a reporter. A Democratic party state chairman hurls obscenities at both the president and dissidents in his own party at a public meeting.

Speakers are chased off college campuses by those who disagree with them. Lawmakers in both parties find they can barely hold town hall meetings in their own districts because they are so likely to be shouted down by hecklers. Social media has become a forum where insults are the norm and outright threats not uncommon.

Is there a concern-trolling thesis pronounced in the tone of a patronizing kindergarten teacher?

Such is the state of (un)civil discourse in America today. Politeness, decorum, respect—all seem to be endangered ideas. Anybody who isn’t troubled isn’t really paying attention.

Can we throw in something about those thugs in the NFL, celebrating their touchdowns, and whatnot, shaking buttocks?

More than that, though, the trend has spread more widely in society. Athletes ostentatiously celebrate their achievements—even the most routine ones—by mocking their opponents. It used to be called bad sportsmanship. It’s now normal.

And false equivalence? Please don’t forget the false equivalence.

But now it isn’t just Mr. Trump. In their new “resistance” mode, Democrats have become just as nasty. Tom Perez, the Democrats’ new national chairman, has already earned notoriety for his use of profanity at rallies. At some of them, he has trouble speaking because the anti-Trump heckling is so loud.

We now have almost all of the ingredients necessary to file a full column on a stale topic that says nothing of note and which is so cliched and trite that the columnist would be ashamed that he wrote it if he possessed the humility necessary to feel such an emotion. All we need is one quote, from a pillar of Traditional White Guy Respectability containing a useless platitude that neither informs nor inspires...

The bigger question may be: What can be done about it? Father John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, has thought and spoken more than most about the trends in civil discourse. “The first thing is to recognize that it’s a problem,” he says. “My worry is that conversation has deteriorated to a point where we’ve just become accustomed to it.”

Writing Shitty Columns About “Civil Discourse in Decline”: Where Does It End?