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Speaking Ill of the Dead

2012 April 25

Hold your tongue at a funeral. It’s the decent thing to do. An unwritten rule of etiquette nearly universally followed.

And then there’s Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone, concerning the recent death of right-wing firebrand Andrew Breitbart:

“So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.”

Of course, Breitbart started it. Soon after Ted Kennedy’s passing, Breitbart tweeted, “Rest in Chappaquiddick,” before unapologetically attacking Kennedy as a “villain,” “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard,” and a “prick.” “Kennedy was a special pile of human excrement,” he concluded.

As Taibbi writes, anyone who write such things desrves — if not expects (or should expect) — similar treatment.

Yet even Taibbi’s funny and well-reasoned attack on the just-deceased Breitbart seems harsh, if not cruel (even if accurate).

Say what you mean, yes. But sometimes it’s best to just not say anything at all.

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