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What is Incivility?

An friend is defending a client who is facing a frivolous lawsuit.  There is no debate that the lawsuit is frivolous.  My friend has written very polite letters.  Imagine, though, that he wrote the following:

Hey f--k sticks.  This lawsuit is s--t.  You are worthless f---s.  You ruin lives.  I hope you die.

The other lawyer would file a motion with the court.  The judge would be upset.  There would be a lot of drama.  That makes no sense.

What is more uncivil: a) making someone hire a lawyer and lose sleep due to stress because your rich client likes to pay you lots of money to file frivolous lawsuits; b) cursing people who file frivolous lawsuits?

The law needs to reconsider it's definition of civility. Civility is not form; it's substance.  Saying please while raping someone does not make the act civil.  

And we all need to reconsider why manners exist.  Do manners exist because they are good in themselves?  Or do they exist to restrain individuality as a way to benefit the power classes?  (Manners originated as conspicuous consumption.  Witless French ladies needed to show everyone how much money they had.  So they created manners.)

I have a weird relationship with manners.  I am exceedingly polite.  If I bump into someone, I am the first to apologize.  I do not cut in front of people in lines.  I help little old ladies walk across the street.  Yet manners is a one-way street.

I am often lectured about my "anti-social" or "embarrassing" behavior.  E.g., I curse people out who cut in lines.  I am told that this is impolite.  I disagree. 

Cutting in a line is wrong.  It is the ultimate sign of disrespect. Moreover, it means that whatever I am waiting to do will take me longer.

Yet when people cut in line, what's the response?  A few people groan.  Everyone knows that line cutting is wrong.  Yet no one says anything.  Why not?  Because that would be rude.

How bizarre.