The expression “the great unwashed” has been attributed to many but was probably first used by Edmund Burke in the 1700’s to refer to the common man, the lower classes, the hoi polloi.
But today I think the expression is more appropriate to use for the majority of commenters on on-line news items or blog posts, particularly those of a political nature. The level of commentary belies the fact that we are supposedly an intelligent race, capable of rational thought and is often more suited to the gutter than public discourse. Of course one of the problems is that it is not public and that posters can happily wallow in their ignorance and share their ever-so-brilliant comments without ever having to stand to account for what they say. But that’s a reason and not justification.
By now everyone has heard of Bev Oda’s latest ethical lapse, and I’m not referring to a $16 glass of OJ but rather the fact that she only felt the need to pay for the incremental costs of her London accommodations when she was publically shamed into doing so. She is being pilloried in the press, and rightly so in my opinion. Even Adrienne Batra of the Toronto Sun has jumped on the bandwagon and, to prove my point, here is a brief selection of some of the 130+ comments left on her online article (typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors included) .
We know she is not spending any money on plastic surgery! Yuk!
Beyond her flagrant disrespect to taxpayers, OMG, is she ugly or what?
did roy orbison have a sex change?
The ONLY positive thing I can say about this "women?" is: She definitely DIDN'T sleep her way to the top!
Isn't she lovely ? NOT ! Its time to can this bitch !
Affermative action in all it's glory
Harper keeps her on because she once got herself laid by the Ayatolllah Khomeni and he's been a pussycat ever since.
She looks like a crack ho,why do WE put up with this crap??
Tired of making fun of her looks? Then lets throw in a few racist comments.
Bev Oda heap big injin
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction is a big problem in her neck of the woods. Not a good place for Children.In other words thay are all drunks or dopers.
And then there’s the requisite adhominem Liberal attack.
Bob Rae likely put up Adam Carroll to slime and sleaze our public safety minister.
While the media generally decries the lack of engagement of Canada’s youth in the political process you would be hard pressed to convince me these comments weren’t written by pre-pubescent males from the privacy of their bedrooms at 4AM when mom and dad are asleep, dreaming of the day little Johnny finally grows up but little appreciating that 30 years hence he will still be living in their basement expecting mom to pay for his Pepsi habit and wash his underwear, soiled at the mere sight of the Sunshine Girl.
It’s actually quite depressing.