It would be difficult to take Percy Aaron to task over his argument regarding the sometimes-vicious prose that finds its way onto The Nation’s Letters page.
He writes of “about a dozen letter writers” whom, he believes, disfigure this column with toxic swipes at others. He is, of course, correct about this to an extent. I am obviously one of that number. Mea culpa.
I too started out as an “innocent” contributor, but was moved to bluntly intervene when I read some of the execrable tripe that passed for “serious” content, notably the unabashed racism I found here. So, here we are now. I do not, however, need to “probably” rush to see my name in print, having been published for several decades as an established (former) academic. I am on the record, though, for rightly levelling the same charge at others here.
With reference to the naming and shaming that Mr Aaron writes of, I have come across this on innumerable occasions, albeit with varying degrees of sophistication, from the genteel to the downright sulphurous. Such pejorative writing has a notable if not edifying vintage, but I do take his point.
By commenting, however, about the “smallness of their (unnamed, but glaringly obvious culprits) existence” I would humbly suggest that Mr Aaron falleth not into the same deprecatory trap. Honi soit qui mal y pense, eh?