On January 31, as practically everyone who scans headlines will recall, Whoopi Goldberg, the actor, comedian, and conversationalist, waded into a racial identity tsunami. The tsunami won, though unlike many casualties of such encounters, she suffered only a drenching, from which she has now dried out. Continue reading
Offense of the Month, January 2022
Our designated offender of the month is Ilya Shapiro, the once-about-to-be-and-perhaps-future-executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, an arm of the law school at Georgetown University in Washington. He was placed on administrative leave one day before he was to start his job on February 1. In a tweet five days earlier, commenting on President Biden’s statement that he would look to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court seat being vacated when Justice Stephen G. Breyer retires this coming June, Shapiro hurled this thunderbolt:
Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. Even has identity politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American. But alas doesn’t fit into latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?
Srinivasan is now chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, perhaps the most significant judicial post below the Supreme Court.
But don’t bother looking for Shapiro’s tweet. It (and one or two that followed) has been deleted (the London-based Daily Mail usefully reprinted the original here).
Within a day, Shapiro offered the ritual apology. The original offending tweet was, he said, “inartful.” That’s one way of putting it. It was inartful, but anyone could have predicted the uproar that followed. How often have we seen supposedly smart people give offense by being careless at their craft? Is there something in the disposition to tweet that gets offenders in trouble or does Ilya Shapiro manage this effect wherever his words land? Continue reading