But that 'PC' could once again...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

But that 'PC' could once again...

...simply refer to "personal computer." If there's anything that's gotten as out of hand as the national debt, it's "Political Correctness."

The latest example of this type of thinking is tied directly to the "Linsanity" which has surpassed last Fall's "Tebow­mania" in media hype to the extent that this is now a global phenomenon.

The Internet and the blogosphere is a-Twitter... yeah, that too!... with condemnation for ESPN anchor Max Bretos' Wednesday on-air remark and the identical phrase repeat­ed Friday evening on ESPN.com's mobile web site:

Screen capture from ESPN.com's mobile web site.

The "offensive remark," the "racial slur?"

"Chink in the armor," for the love of Pete Klotz!

The phrase, which has been around for 700 years, has a very specific meaning which over the centuries came to mean "a weak spot" in an otherwise strong fortification or skill set.

Both Bretos and the Web Editor were obviously referencing Jeremy Lin's distressing propensity for turning the basket­ball over to the opposing team, and it had nothing to do with the Knicks point guard's Asian heritage.

Yet everyone and their weird Aunt Hettie from Puyallup are all over ESPN for its "racial insensitivity."

There's the Chicago Sun-Times, Forbes, even The New York Times-owned International Herald-Tribune with its "With separate slurs, ESPN stepped over the foul line," oblivious to its fomenting of anti-American sentiments.

Even Australia's Herald Sun piled on with "New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin attracts racial slurs," which story was mirrored in Thailand's Bangkok Post.

For their part, the gutless vanilla wussies at ESPN quickly removed the caption from their mobile Website, and fell all over themselves issuing not one but two apologies:

"Last night, ESPN.com's mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake."

O, get over it before someone has to publicly walk the plank in Bristol, Connecticut!

While every culture has its cranks, the bet here is that the bulk of the Asian community took no notice of any­thing other than one of their own playing exciting if at times sloppy basketball on the biggest professional stage in the world!

Death to Political Correctness!


1. Hampton West said...

It was not intentional; a poor choice perhaps of words but really....

By the way I've passed through Puyallup, nice little town South of Seattle - went through it on a Seattle-to-Portland bike race in 2009.

Of course any slight was unintentional! What was intentional was the media making a big deal out of it, and those pusillanimous wusses at ESPN promising "disciplinary action."

2. Woodstein said...

Dean, I read your blog routinely, and while I often find your unique use of language a satisfying read from entry to entry, I admit to being struck at your thoughts here – not so much regarding your resistance to political correctness, that was no surprise.

But, as you are someone who has worked in print media and who continues to express himself via the printed turn-of-phrase, I have to ask you honestly:

  1. Given the heritage of the subject of the article, do you really think the slur would go unnoticed?
  2. Do you really believe that the readership of ESPN would make no association with the slur and the adage{sic?} that they made as headline?
  3. And perhaps most importantly, is the phrase that ESPN originally used the only possible headline for the story?
I find it troubling that, given your reaction, the answer to all three would be "yes." Applying the appellation of "gutless vanilla wussies" to those who oversee a level of sophistication on the tone of their product says as much about your attitudes towards the power of print as it does ESPN's.

It's regrettable – you are certainly entitled to your opinion and I’ll "defend to the death your right to express it" (to paraphrase a misattributed Voltaire), but if this is the philosophy that guides the tone and expression of your words – that it is "okay" to use a racial slur in the guise of an archaic phrase – it tilts the scales and your commentary falls to the side of meaningless provocation (read: "tabloid") rather than considerable, informed opinion. That’s a real shame. You are a major source of information for our community and your words helps guide those who need more than what appears on the surface of what goes on around here. Treat these readers, of all heritages, with the respect that they deserve.
Interesting and provocative, sir.

For openers, based on the public statements of the two men sanctioned by ESPN, I reject your assumption that either of them considered it a "slur." If they did, and each having been in the employ of ESPN for a number of years, do you really think they would have attempted to slip "a chink in the armor" over the outside corner of the plate like that, just so they could quietly snicker to themselves and intimates, "Look what we pulled off!?"

In respect to #3, of course it's not the only choice to be made... but this again ties in to your items 1&2; do you truly believe that either man intended to be offensive? You must, given your own characterization that it was intentionally "a racial slur in the guise of an archaic phrase." Can you actually believe that?

You cut me with the comparison to "tabloid..." too cruel! I cannot castigate the soulless odds and sods in Bristol harshly enough!

But I find it far less offensive than the actions taken by corporate ESPN... a head rolling somewhere in an alley in Bristol, a man pilloried for a month to reflect on a now notorious utterance that no one would have even noticed but for the subsequent posted headline! I unequivocally reject your... dare I write this... haughty interpretation.

But I must tell you how much I appreciate your unwillingness to continue the perpetration of a misattribution. I'm confident that the heirs and assigns of M. Voltaire's biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, appreciate it as well.

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