Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 Oct. 16, 2013/ 12 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

Redskins: No harm, no foul, Mr. Costas

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Think for a moment about the term 'Redskins,'" NBC Sports commentator Bob Costas exhorted viewers in his halftime tirade during Sunday's Cowboys-Redskins game. "Ask yourself what the equivalent would be, if directed [at] African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, 'Redskins' can't possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term.

"It is an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent," Costas continued.

This is ludicrous. I say this not as someone who has particular love for the Redskins or its name. I say this as a lover of words.

Words are magical things, routinely defying the sort of logic-chopping on display in Costas' tirade. Their euphony can be a siren calling us to dangerous shores. Logophillic pundit William Safire, an unreconstructed paronomasiac, could be so seduced by clever puns, he often crashed whole columns into them. My former boss, William F. Buckley, was often in the dock on charges of aggravated sesquipedalianism, to which he always pleaded nolo contendere, informing the court of public opinion: "I am Lapidary But Not Eristic When I Use Big Words."

But neither big words nor big wordplay are the issues in the largely eristic tussle over the Redskins. This debate is about bad words.

Slate magazine recently announced it would no longer refer to the Redskins by name. "Changing how you talk changes how you think," editor David Plotz explained. "... If Slate can do a small part to change the way people talk about the team, that will be enough."

"In public discourse," Plotz adds, "we no longer talk about groups based on their physical traits: No one would ever refer to Asians as yellow-skinned."

I hope Slate will be similarly brave about refusing to use the "C" in NAACP.


After all, the "Colored" in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People refers to skin color, too. And if I described the president of the NAA[initial redacted]P as "colored," I'd be in huge trouble.

Redskins lawyer Lanny Davis insists the team's 80-year-old name should be grandfathered in, even though he concedes that someone might be offended. Time's Sean Gregory sarcastically responds: "So we have to be sensitive to the one offended person, but can't change the name, because it's been around for a long time. Sorry, offended person. We love the name too much, for too long."

Well, yeah. I'm not offended by the C in NAACP -- which isn't racist for obvious reasons -- but someone out there must be. That's not an argument for changing the name. I am offended, however, that the Philadelphia Eagles are named after the Blue Eagle, the propaganda symbol of the New Deal's National Recovery Administration, which restricted competition and even threw a dry cleaner in jail for undercharging (by a nickel) to clean a suit. But I don't think the Eagles should change their name on my account.

And that's my problem with Costas' crusade. He -- and the editors of Slate -- are simply deciding to be offended about something they don't need to be. According to various accounts, "Redskin" actually has quite innocuous origins. It was probably adopted from Native Americans themselves. And though it obviously took on nastier connotations over time and in some contexts, it strains credulity to believe that the team name was intentionally pejorative or that the fans or the ownership see it that way today.

Words become offensive when we choose to be offended by them. When should we be offended? That's a tough question. "The answer, of course, lies in the context," the late Hugh Rawson wrote in his lovely lexicon, "Wicked Words." "The meanings of words change according to who says them, to whom, and in what circumstances." Rawson chronicled many words that were uncontroversial in Chaucer and Shakespeare but are considered repellent today.

Ultimately, of course, this isn't a fight about words but about cultural politics and the imperative to scrub society of all offensive language (or, often, merely language that offends liberals). That fight will never end, and not just because some people always need to be offended by something. It will never end because words themselves will never cooperate.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast