I was reading the Op-Ed section of yesterday’s New York Times, which features, among other things, the most grammatically and linguistically aware letter writers of any paper I’ve ever read. The letters we get ’round here are usually a bunch of screaming heads and drowned-out rational folks.

That doesn’t mean that no morons write to the NYT, they’re just more eloquent. Take, for instance, (yo yo) Philip Serpico:

To the Editor:

While many aspects of the accidental shooting of a fellow hunter by Vice President Dick Cheney evolve, it seems that one being displayed is shameful at best. And that is the one of schadenfreude.
Late-night comics, cartoons and other expressions about this event are far below the benchmarks of decency and good taste.
Try trading places with the vice president and consider the way he must feel after this event.

Philip A. Serpico
Kew Gardens, Queens
Feb. 15, 2006

Try trading places with the Vice President. Imagine how bad he must feel in this situation. Don’t, you know, imagine how the guy he shot in the face feels.

This whole situation is ass-backwards. Yeah, Cheney felt so bad that he went home, had a cocktail, went to bed early, had lunch the next day, and then visited his victim in the hospital. I’m sure it just ate him up.

Actually, that’s unfair. I’m sure Dick Cheney felt bad about this, but not for shooting the guy. He felt bad for injuring a donor, that’s for sure, but I think he felt worse that he screwed up and caused a story that he couldn’t cover up or spin toward his own benefit. He certainly tried both, only accepting blame when it became clear that it would be political suicide not to.

Yeah, poor Cheney, imagine how bad he must feel. “Below the benchmarks of decency and good taste?” So is outing a covert CIA agent, so is going duck hunting with a judge on the Supreme Court before he hears your case, so is trying to cover up and spin your foul-up to benefit you. Jon Stewart and his ilk gave America some laughs; Dick Cheney has spent the last five years endangering our country and bleeding our wallets dry. I think the line of “decency” was crossed long, long ago.

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