Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig (2014): The Shape of Things: "Certainly the expectation is to comport yourself...
...with a certain mannerliness, to perform even opposition within a kind of collegial parameter that suggests, as I have argued before, the equality of positions even when you don’t believe in such a thing. The threat that presents itself when you express yourself in one of the non-friendly, non-gentle, non-civil styles is this: you won’t have a career.
We’ll all stop listening to you, you’ll be seen as a nutty ideologue, or if you’re a woman, just another purveyor of catty ‘snark.’ Ditch the snark; say it like we want you to say it.
Which is another way of putting: discuss this as though it’s ordinary. Some people were upset about the [Ayn] Rand post, saying that the way in which it was written was too mean or too severe, too snarky, bitchy, un-funny; uniformly arguments of bad style. The good style, one concludes, would have all the opposite elements: detached or passionate in the genteel way of friends who debate in pubs; subtle, searching, uncertain, just one proposal among many.
That’s the way people tend to like to read about positions in politics, because that style makes everything seem very ordinary. If we’re discussing Christian attachment to Rand in the way that we discuss things which have merit, which are part of the landscape of valid and legitimate opinions, then it’s perfectly fine that Christian politicians can claim both Jesus and Rand. In that case, the pro-Jesus+Pro-Rand crowd is part of the schema of the normal, a regular feature of the status quo. Nothing to see here, nothing to change.
But it’s madness.
Maybe this is what McCarthy would say about the type of atonal, blithely bland violence you can get out of any old modern marvel that sells the faux-profound non-shocker, “hey man, violence is just a part of nature, it’s just how the world is.” Ordinary, in other words--but this just isn’t the way he sees it, not so far as I can tell. And I don’t think Christian Rand apologia is legitimate or valid, and I don’t want to write as though it might be among those things we can reasonably disagree about, and I don’t want anyone to see it as ordinary. Maybe I don’t have any real control over that (probably not) but I do have to account for how I present what I do, how I play my teensy tiny role in making up the ordinary.
Yeah, there’s a certain careerist impulse not to be dismissed as, y’know, another catty-snarky lady blogger, but I’m comfortable that’s not what I am, and I am aware of the service careerism does for particularly brutal forms of ordinariness. For me certain positions don’t belong in the canon of the regular, and I try to use style to advance that.
Given how strenuously people object to style, it must be doing something.