Carlin Alert

[Julian Sanchez]

Loath as I am to even indirectly defend the Moose Queen, Andrew Sullivan's latest reason for outrage at Alaska's half-term governor strikes me as rather odd:

So we now have independent confirmation that Palin, after making a huge song and dance about the use of the word "retarded" by Rahm Emanuel to describe - metaphorically - some Democrats, referred to her own Down Syndrome son - literally - as "retarded" in front of him at home. And yet no one in the MSM challenged her on this point when she launched into her Emanuel nonsense, as if her word is somehow automatically more reliable than Levi's - because, er, she's powerful. No one, in fact, has even asked her to rebut Levi's and Mercede's assertion. And no one has yet found an obvious lie in anything Levi has said, while her lies spew out like Deepwater Horizon.

We all remember our George Carlin, right?  It's context and intention that make words offensive, not some magic property of the words themselves.  Which is why "Andrew Sullivan is gay" is a perfectly benign factual statement, while "Dude, you like that band? They're so gay!" is the sort of idiocy we try to disabuse teenagers of unless they're actually talking about Pansy Division.


Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in National

Just In