27 August 2006

ESPN Hasn't Gotten the Memo

ESPN failed to read the memo regarding phrases and expressions that will set off the language police.

The screenshot below is of their lead in to get you to click over to the AP story about Team USA's demolition of Australia in the knockout round of the FIBA World Championships in Japan



Innocent enough, right?

Not anymore, 'cakewalk' is on the list of unacceptable terms. They must have forgetten this bit of idiocy from Prof. Patricia J. Williams writing in The Nation after the fall of Baghdad
First, one should never enter a fight announcing that it will be a "cakewalk." A cakewalk was a dance contest popularized during the days of black minstrelsy, for which the prize was, as implied, a fluffy confection. Debussy, as our well-educated senior advisers ought to know, wrote a funny little piece of musical condescension to this effect, Golliwog's Cakewalk. (A golliwog, for the uninformed, is a charmingly old-fashioned word for "nigger.") Such are the amusements of colonialism. But in the so-called postcolonial era, such references do tend to rankle.

That paragraph encapsulates so much antiaintwrongness that I'm forced to resurrect the term just to approach how ridiculous I find this expression of an overwhelming desire to find offense anywhere and everywhere (strange that in complaining about the 'offense' of using the term cakewalk Prof. Williams uses far, far more offensive terms).

Will ESPN escape the language police?

(I suspect so, the whole anti-cakewalk movement didn't get anywhere. Prof. Williams was just using it as a hook for her generally incoherent screed against whitey militarism and its effects on various darkies (if she can use offensive terms to express her offense at ideas she finds offensive, so can I), read the rest of the linked piece and you'll understand what I mean)

Maybe the punishment should fit the crime. The offending editor who used the offending term at ESPN should be forced to read Charles Chesnutts The Marrow of Tradition (link goes to the summary of the online electronic edition, read the whole thing yourself, if you dare).

It's an awful book. Plus there's actual cakewalking in it! The book was inspired by a tumultuous time in the South and is an important document as a fictionalization of the problems of the times, but as a novel, it's nearly unreadable.

1 comment:

Pastor_Jeff said...

It's funny -- I really thought the offending term was going to be the caption: "world domination."

At least they didn't say macaca.