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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 5, 2013/ 25 Nissan, 5773

The AP's complicated word-association test

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In what may be the greatest victory to date for the sophisticatedly asinine organization "No Labels," the Associated Press has embraced a new policy against "labeling people." For instance, its widely used and influential style guide is being purged of such terms as "schizophrenic" in favor of "diagnosed with schizophrenia."

Most of the chatter about the AP's move has been over its decision to drop the term "illegal immigrant." AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained that the change on "illegal immigrant" was based on the no-labeling policy. "We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance," Carroll said.

This was the AP's first mistake. Consistency is an impossible standard to apply to the English language. I myself wish people would write about a "feckful foreign policy," or an "ept remark," or "ert" gasses.

"People of color," last I checked, is an accepted term to describe non-white minorities. But grammatically and stylistically it is a long-winded way of saying "colored people." But none save the ignorant or the ill-willed would bend to the demands of consistency and use the latter term unless writing about the anachronistically titled National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The AP advises that, "Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant." Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission."

But if consistency is the AP's lodestar, what are we to say about "criminal defendants"? Or, for that matter, what to do about jaywalkers, plagiarists or pedophiles? If a schizophrenic must be called a person "diagnosed with schizophrenia," shall we now refer to everyone as someone whom someone else has described as something? Where does that end?

Context matters. "John Smith, a jaywalker, cured cancer today," is an idiotic lead. "John Smith was the latest jaywalker to be hit by a bus on Main Street today," makes more sense.

It's absolutely true that it is unfair to summarize a person's life by his status as an illegal immigrant. Illegal immigrants can be fathers, mothers, artists, comedians, scientists, etc. But in a discussion of illegal immigration, it's hardly preposterous to describe someone as an illegal immigrant.

Activists and others in favor of banning "illegal immigrant" say the term tarnishes all immigrants. As Sergio Martinez, a 25 year-old resident of Detroit and a noncitizen, told the Michigan news site MLive, "I definitely felt like it was very derogatory and created a stigma for immigrants."

Well, maybe not for immigrants so much as for illegal immigrants, which is sort of the point, right?

In my experience, legal immigrants in particular respect the "stigma" against illegal immigration, which helps explain why they came here legally in the first place. If I were to write about a "pedophile football coach," I suspect that very few people would assume I was stigmatizing all football coaches.

Moreover, "stigma" is the wrong word. Stigma implies social condemnation, a public disgrace or reputational stain. "Illegal" is a legal term, meaning, er, illegal. For some reason, a lot of people insist that the "illegal" in "illegal immigration" is in effect an unfair slander. But we live in a country where illegal and immoral only occasionally overlap in the popular mind. How immoral it is to immigrate illegally to the country is debatable, but that it's illegal to do so isn't debatable, it's axiomatic.

Ironically, if we actually erased the difference between the legal and illegal immigrant, the result would be to stigmatize legal immigrants unfairly.

That won't happen, of course, because we'll still need a word for people who move into the country unlawfully. And whatever term we choose will soon enough be denounced as "stigmatizing."

Which brings me to the No Labels crowd. As far as I know, they haven't sounded off on this particular issue at all. But they do represent an approach to public policy that says our disagreements are the result of getting too caught up with ideological "labels." Put the labels aside, they say, and look at all of the problems we can solve! Invariably what this really means is, "If you drop your principled objections to what we want to do, we can finally do what we want to do."

Among the myriad problems with this insipid sophistry, the simple fact is that we need labels to think clearly and make distinctions. To its credit, the AP Stylebook still recognizes this. It just made things a little harder for everyone.

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