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Introduction and Table of Contents

Were I but King of Anglophonia

With All Appropriate Disrespect

There was an era long, long ago when Republicans were a fairly acceptable species. Respectable, even, in an old sense of that word. That was before their party was taken over by a gang of vile, sleazy, amoral opportunists. Nowadays, when they're not being scary, they're laughable, and rarely so much so as when they affect a tone of moral self-righteousness. During the GOP's attempt to use the impeachment process to dislodge America's last competent and legitimate President, some of them, referring to Bill Clinton's actual and supposed sexual history - which they did as often as they could - kept saying in horrified tones that his behavior was "disrespectful to women."

Now, the whole world knows that the Republican party puts the rights of women on the same high pedestal on which it places the rights of religious and racial minorities and indeed the civil rights of all non-rich Americans. But let's put that aside and talk instead about that tricky word respect.

If you are about to respond to an idiotic statement from a crazed buffoon - say Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity or Anne Coulter or George W. Bush or Robert Novak or . . . Well, the list could go on endlessly. If you feel that you must respond to the feces spewed from the mouth or pen of such a creature, then why in the world would you preface your remarks by saying, "With all due respect to that slime-covered madman/woman . . ."? What respect is due to such a creature?

Even if a perfectly likable person tells you that he believes we are regularly visited by UFOs or angels, or that an invisible being in the sky directs human destiny, why should you treat his views as though they were on a par with reality? Why should you respect them?

Other people have a perfect right to listen to obnoxious music or read badly written books, but why should you respect their taste and pretend that their music and books are on the same artistic level as those you prefer? In all of these cases, respect is being used, not as a respectable word, but as a rhetorical club. It is a weapon with which the club wielder intends to shut up those he disagrees with or who might expose the shakiness of his own positions.

Therefore, the King bans the use of respect and its mirror-image rhetorical club disrespect. That includes any short form of the latter.


Those who violate this rule will be banished to a virtual world where they will be forced to listen to the most absurd opinions ever expressed in English, constantly repeated - Fox News.

Queen Leonore's Additions

If you disagree with a person, just say so. Out with it, man! Don't dilute your expression of disagreement with the pretense that you feel any respect for your opponent. We all know that you do not.

Here are some fine and manly beginning statements, in ascending order of contempt for the other person's absurd statement: "I disagree with that statement." "You're wrong." "That's nonsense." "What idiocy!" Feel free to escalate the verbal hostility according to your imagination and your bravery.

Disrespect is a noun, not a verb. It's a somewhat weaker synonym of the word contempt, and I certainly hope that you would never be guilty of saying, "Those snooty girls just contempted me."

People can show a lack of respect. They can show disrespect toward others. They can insult or offend or denigrate others. But no one either disrespects others or is disrespected by others.

If you misuse the word disrespect in the hearing of those who know that it is a noun, you risk losing their respect.

Introduction and Table of Contents

Main PageBusiness Secrets from the StarsEssaysNovels & Short StoriesAnother Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor's JourneyTell a friend about this pageE-mail