Home/Daniel Larison/Fighting Boors

Fighting Boors

Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. ~George Will

Is Will familiar with the proper meaning of words?  He seems pretty confident about his command of the language, since he makes it his purpose in the second half of this Webb-bashing article an expose of Webb’s allegedly sloppy use of language.  So Will calls him a boor.  Is the son of Scots-Irish dirt farmers supposed to take being called a rustic as an insult, or as a badge of pride?  The word comes from the Dutch word boer, which means farmer or peasant, and refers to a rustic.  Of all the things that Will could have accused Webb of being, I cannot think of one that would probably please him more.  Of course, the use here is one intended to insult and belittle, but it is a telling choice of word for an urban sophisticate from the Beltway to make about Webb.  In short, if he knows what the word means (how could he not–he’s George Will!), Will denounced Webb’s manners here because they are too provincial and not suitable for the metropole and the inner sanctum of the court.  If Will doesn’t know what the word means, then, well, he might ought to be quiet about other folks’ possible lapses in the use of words.

It is all the more entertaining when you consider that the dandified Southern poseur Allen began his long, painful descent to defeat with a speech in which he claimed that Webb had no connection with the “real Virginia.”  That would be the Virginia of the “boorish” folks of the Southside, the Valley and the Appalachians, who, of course, have more hospitality and gentility in their little fingers than George Will probably has in his entire body.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles