April 9, 2010

Picking at nits, I suppose–but words matter!

Posted in Language, News, Politics at 3:47 pm by The Lizard Queen

This headline just about caused me physical pain: Obama Sasses Palin on Nuclear Policy.

Now, you know and I know that journalists often have no control over their headlines.  And indeed, I don’t claim to know much about Newsweek’s “The Gaggle” blog in the first place.  And furthermore, I know some folks have gotten awful sensitive when it comes to calling verbal attacks against the President “racist.”

All that said: we’re going to say that the Black dude sassed the white lady?  Seriously?  Y’all have noticed that he’s the President of the United States, right?  Or is he still supposed to “know his place” in spite of that little detail?

Good grief.

[Tip of the oh-so-post-racial tiara to Sadly, No!]

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4 Comments »

  1. mightydoll said,

    No, I don’t think that’s nitpicking at all. That’s dreadful.

  2. snobographer said,

    Isn’t “sass” more typically associated with women? I know black women get that crap a lot, but I’ve never heard (or read) somebody say that about a black man before.

    By the way, that Newsweek blog post (and I do think the author has control over titles of blog posts) links to an article at ABC News. Check out the healdine on that one:
    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/exclusive-president-obama-slaps-sarah-palin-expert-nukes/story?id=10321775

    “EXCLUSIVE: ‘Not Much of an Expert’ — Obama Slaps Sarah Palin for Nuke Policy Criticism
    (emphasis mine)

    I mean that’s offensive AAAAALLL the way around.

    • It’s interesting: I’ve always heard “sass” applied to kids, the idea basically being that it’s something a person low on the totem pole does to an authority figure — like, “don’t you sass me, young man/young lady” and “don’t you talk back to me, young lady/young man” are interchangeable in my head. But when I was talking about this with my partner, his immediate impression was that “sass” had a feminizing aspect to it, too — so I don’t know if it’s regional, or if being female just made me less aware of the feminizing aspect, or what, but long story short, you’ve definitely got a point there. :)

  3. snobographer said,

    Not to minimize the point you made about using the word “sass” in reference to a black man. Rereading my post, it might look like that’s what I’m doing.
    My point was just that the offense in that reportage just goes on and on. If this had been a conflict between two white male pols, the media would have said, “Obama and Palin clash over nuclear policy” or something like that.


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