In the United States, Hillary Clinton calls half the supporters of Donald Trump “a basket of deplorables.” At first, the remark impressed me. I approved of Clinton for her courage and honesty, while reflecting on her curious choice of words. “Basket of deplorables” almost sounded like a phrase from Dr. Seuss: It would be typical of him to put deplorables in a basket, for the moral amusement of his young readers. A sack or a box of deplorables wouldn’t be the same thing at all, and a swamp of deplorables is too Dante-esque; but a basket is just the kind of zany, cheerful container that makes light of the deplorables while still putting them in their place. It quickly became clear, however, that as a public utterance, the phrase was malfunctioning. The basket began to speak, to distinguish itself: Inside it were a number of offended individuals. Clinton had made the mistake of being rude. The “basket of deplorables” wasn’t Dr. Seuss after all. It was the snobbish language of the liberal elite, caught committing the elemental moral crime of negating individual human value. Yet Clinton’s adversary regularly committed this crime with impunity. Were Clinton’s and Trump’s two different kinds of rudeness?
Rachel Cusk, “The Age of Rudeness”, The New York Times Magazine (19 February 2017), 42-43.