URLs du Jour

2020-07-11

  • David Harsanyi warns: Here Come the Speech Police.

    Recently, I ran across a piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer that lays out four racist words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. It begins like this:

    “Editor’s note: Please be aware offensive terms are repeated here solely for the purpose of identifying and analyzing them honestly. These terms may upset some readers.”

    Steel yourself, brave reader, here they are:

    • Peanut gallery.
    • Eenie meenie miney moe.
    • Gyp.
    • No can do.

    OK, I kinda knew about the middle two, but had no idea about the first and last one.

    David goes on to note the actual purpose in all this pearl-clutching: "Attempting to dictate what words we use is another way to exert power over how we think."

    And I can't go for that. No can do.


  • As a WSJ editorialist notes, there's a brand of hate speech that is A-OK with the people who pretend to be against hate speech: Hating Clarence Thomas.

    Even by Twitter standards, the response to Thursday’s two Supreme Court decisions on President Trump’s tax records was revealing. For much of the day, Clarence Thomas was “trending,” as they say, and not in a nice way.

    The reason for the Twitter fury appears to be Justice Thomas’s dissents (along with those of Justice Samuel Alito) in Trump v. Vance and Trump v. Mazars. Both cases dealt with efforts—one by Manhattan’s district attorney, the other by Congress—to gain access to Mr. Trump’s personal tax and business records. […]

    Many critics limited themselves to expletives, but many featured an ugly focus on his race. “Clarence Thomas believes he’s still a slave, and he’s fine with it,” ran one. Another declared, “Uncle Tom was a real Clarence Thomas.”

    Others focused on his interracial marriage. A self-described Ivy Leaguer cited Justice Thomas’s originalist legal principles to imply he’s a hypocrite because “the laws in 1776 did not allow a Black man to get an education, become a lawyer or marry a White woman.” One tweet that now seems to have been deleted along with the account was this: “Clarence Thomas—the one black life that doesn’t matter.”

    The progressive definition of "hate speech" specifically allows hating conservatives and libertarians.


  • Reason goes back into time for a history lesson: The Stolen Land Under Dodger Stadium. And until our lame 2020 baseball season gets underway, you'll have to make do with…

    On July 24, 1950, the city of Los Angeles sent a letter to the residents of the Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop neighborhoods. Their homes would soon be purchased by the city, and their neighborhoods, which would come to be known collectively as Chavez Ravine, would be demolished to make room for a public housing project. This was made possible by the expanded eminent domain powers provided to municipal housing authorities by the Federal Housing Act of 1949.

    While the city's housing authority cajoled the area's residents—predominately Mexican-American, largely poor and working-class—into selling their homes for prices well below market value, the political winds in Los Angeles shifted against public housing, leading to a 1952 citywide referendum banning such projects. But the Los Angeles Housing Authority still controlled the future of Chavez Ravine; soon, many civic leaders became convinced the area would be a good place for a professional baseball team.

    I was out in Pasadena for nearly four full years, and I never once got to Dodger Stadium. The Rose Bowl, either.


  • [Amazon Link]
    And finally some language thoughts from Kevin D. Williamson about Capitalizing 'Black': Good Manners & Media Conventions.

    In explaining its adopting the trendy new racial convention — capital-B “Black” and lowercase-w “white” — the New York Times explains that “white doesn’t represent a shared culture and history in the way Black does.”

    That is not true, of course.

    If it were true, then to what would the word “white” in “white supremacy” refer? If there were no such thing as a “white” cultural group, then would be no such thing as “white supremacy,” either. But, of course, there is such a thing as a shared white culture — that’s why jokes about white people are funny, which they wouldn’t be if the word “white” simply described skin tone. But the Times must have some plausible rationale rather than telling the truth, which is that it is capitalizing Black because the people whose opinions matter to the editors of the Times wish it. They aren’t wrong to wish it, and the Times isn’t necessarily wrong to accommodate the wish.

    It's complicated: "Uppercase Black alongside lowercase white looks jarring and affected, but uppercase White looks creepy, a kind of armband in print."

    I like Thomas Sowell's solution: Pink and Brown People.