Something that’s long irritiated me is when people excuse their own rudeness or cruelty by claiming to be “blunt” or “brutally honest.” That may be, but more often than not, I find that such people actually just can’t be bothered to put in the effort to be polite to other people by filtering out whatever happens to pop into their head. Phil Christman’s comments on that recent terrible NYT piece about hating one’s spouse offer further insight on a similar phenomenon:
I feel like I run into this assumption all the time, that the meanest take or harshest thought you might have about someone else, the most reductive, one-datum-reflected-in-a-funhouse-mirror-so-it’s-all-you-see sort of vision, is held up as some truth that we’re normally too weak to face. A person who is casually cruel always defends themselves by saying “Well at least I’m honest.” Honesty about what is running through your head right this second isn’t the same as honesty in the sense of actually making the effort to get other people and things right. The second thing takes forever, which is one reason why a marriage does.