Ed Driscoll

Kathy Shaidle: "Racist" Is The New "Commie"

At Pajamas HQ, Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet Of Fury writes that when Canadian author Howard Rotberg was accused of being a racist by a Canadian book chain’s p.r. firm(!), he sued:

Rotberg believes that his suit is a much-needed challenge to the current neo-McCarthyesque climate, in which “racist” has replaced “commie” as the charge, judgment, and death sentence of choice. Like “commie,” the word “racist” is so overused that its meaning is becoming lost; look at one judge’s recent assertion that “devil’s food cake” is “racist.” And, like “commie,” the word has become a source of amusement. (The blockbuster, Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q features an upbeat song entitled “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.”) With each passing day, Peter Brimelow’s definition — “A racist is a conservative winning an argument with a liberal” — seems more apt than ever.

And yet, the word still has the power to make even the powerful tremble. Witness the “first black president” himself, Bill Clinton, feeling obliged to insist to ABC News that he’s not a racist.

Rather than tremble in the face of accusations of “racism,” Rotberg is fighting back.

Read the whole thing. And speaking of neo-McCarthyesque, it’s worth flashing back to James Lileks’ 2003 take on how the M-word has had its own meaning inverted for a new century.