This Claire Berlinski jeremiad isn't aimed specifically at The Dish, but she does offer a "pox on both your houses" argument against the way the discussion about the Arizona shooting has unfolded:
What is not normal is the now-monomaniacal focus of the entire American media, on both the Left and the Right, on the question, "Whose rhetoric is most hateful and unpleasant?" The question is in the first place irrelevant and in the second obviously unserious. If you show me a well-constructed, longitudinal study of young schizophrenics, half of whom have been exposed to the Sarah Palin's crosshair-chart and half of whom have not, and mutatis mutandis, a statistically significant number of the second group go on to commit an act of political violence, maybe it might be worth talking about. But absent that, this is pure hysteria.
It's just as self-indulgent for those on the Right to preoccupy themselves obsessively with the grave insult offered their amour-propre by the suggestion that their rhetoric has been intemperate, and to spend hour upon hour collating and cataloguing examples of equally intemperate Leftist rhetoric--as if it was some kind of competition with a prize at the end--as it is for those on the Left to do it. Surely no one doubts it possible to find examples of rudeness and vitriol all over the spectrum of American political opinion?
And here is Will Wilkinson:
At this point, there is simply no sound reason to believe this deranged young man was fired up by "toxic" or "eliminationist" conservative rhetoric from Michele Bachmann or whomever. Why are we even having this conversation? It's nuts. It's offensive. Is there any, you know, evidence that political rhetoric is now more vitriolic or incendiary than usual? Maybe there is, but I know of none. A feeling in Mr Krugman's gut doesn't cut it. Doesn't it seem at least as likely that a 22-year-old would be inspired to an act of high-profile atrocity by violent video games or films? As far as I know there's no evidence of that, either.
Mr Loughner's obsession with language as a form of control seems rather less like Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin than Max Stirner, Michel Foucault, or even left-leaning linguists such as George Lakoff and Geoffrey Nunberg. Our own Johnson discusses speculation about the possible influence of one David Wynn Miller. But nobody's going to try to smear Max Stirner, George Lakoff, or David Wynn Miller in the pages of the New York Times by recklessly associating their teachings with the tragedy in Tucson because, well, that would be completely bonkers and, more importantly, Max Stirner, George Lakoff, and David Wynn Miller didn't just recapture the House.
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