A recent essay on Gawker opposing appeals to civility has provoked some response. Two interesting ones:
Malcolm Gladwell points out that Being Nice Isn’t so Awful.
And Megan McArdle adds some thoughts on why writing bad reviews might be a bad idea.
The responses seem closer to on target. I really don’t think our era is being overwhelmed by niceness; snark too often obscures real arguments. I can think of several recent examples (this is the stuff of in different ways Jon Stewart and Redeye [both of which I generally find funny when I watch]). It is easy to be critical; I sometimes see this in students. Being constructive is harder – and better on your soul (an insight from virtue ethics).