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  • RSS Taking Offense

    • Wilder Evicted
      Contrary to the fears of some, the little house on the prairie has not vanished. Well, perhaps the house itself, but not Little House on the Prairie, or any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s other prairie books. What’s missing, as you may have read fleetingly a month ago, is her name, which until then was attached […]
    • Turtles, but not all the way down
      Offense of the Month July 2018 Probably not the most offensive display this month, probably not even by a longshot, but it’s the quirkiest that has come to my attention. To be sure, it’s the dog days, so I’ve been slacking off. But now right to it. The honors (that is, as offender of the […]
    • Spiteful Spittle
      The interesting thing about ABC’s defenestration of Roseanne Barr two weeks ago when she gratuitously tweeted a racist remark about President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, is that it wasn’t the first time the comedian let loose. Her reputation preceded her. Why was she hired in the first place, only now to be fired because […]
    • Dying anyway
      Offense of the Month, May 2018 Kelly Sadler and the White House communications team take dual honors. I declare two winners of the coveted title this month because the offense was compounded by an unwillingness to disavow it. The flap began with Ms. Sadler, variously described as a junior staffer in the White House Office […]
    • Mum’s the Word
      The Mum in this case is Barbara Bush, who died April 17. The word, in case you’ve already forgotten, was “racist.” It was uttered by Randa Jarrar, a professor of English at California State University, Fresno, previously unknown outside her community. Describing herself as an Arab-American and a Muslim-American woman, Jarrar signaled her dislike of […]
    • A Slur on the Slab
      Words have power. The official story (the story, that is, that we forward-looking, empirically-inclined, reasonable rationalists like to tell) is that their power stems from the ideas that our words express, and usually not one at a time but in concert, as they depict and explain. But it turns out, as any fair-minded, forward-looking, empirically-inclined […]
    • Pardon my Procrastination
      At first I thought I’d tiptoe around my procrastination these past three-plus months, pretending that it was some dark lump you wouldn’t see if I aimed the spotlight elsewhere. You might never have noticed my silence, since no doubt you’ve been as wrapped up in the bizarre events of daily public life as I have, […]
    • Taking a Knee
      If you’ve been hoping I could make sense of the passing scene, lo these many weeks, your long wait is over. At last, events have crystallized and I can now take on the most important issue confronting the nation (as President Nixon, Watergate raging, famously said to his Cabinet about inflation three days before he […]
    • My Slant on Matal v. Tam: Welcome to My T-Word X-Word G-Word O-Word Z-Word Co., Inc., or Death to the Happy-Talk Clause
      It’s old news now, having happened about 30 hours ago as I write, but my long absence from the blog this spring shows that this first day of summer I’m moving at superluminal speed. I do so to bring you important news about the legal status of raw offensiveness: The Supreme Court, presumably once and […]
    • The Winter of Our Disconnect
      My Trump Timeout has timed out. It’s high time to get on with things. A few of my more daring friends are way ahead of me, and one or two never tuned out. They’ve actually been reading the papers every day. The president, they tell me, has reassured us all: things couldn’t be better. (The […]