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.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

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

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in National

Just In