NYT Crossword Editor Gets Beaned By the Roaming Outrage Mob
I grew up in a small town in Indiana called Crawfordsville, but that's okay because some cool people have lived there too. It's the home of Wabash College, the alma mater of one of my favorite horror/science-fiction/crime/weird $#!+ authors, Dan Simmons.* It's also where General Lew Wallace wrote the novel Ben Hur, which was made into a movie you've probably seen (and a couple more you probably haven't). Astronaut Joe Allen is from there, and Dick Van Dyke went to my junior high school briefly, back in the 1930s. And it's also where Will Shortz, crossword editor for the New York Times, was born and raised. I don't have the patience for crossword puzzles, or for the NYT, but I've always been proud that a C-ville kid went out and made it in the big city. Local boy made good. And he got hisself famous with book-learnin' and everything!
So I feel kind of bad that Shortz is now the latest victim of the roaming outrage mob. Brian Flood, Fox News:
The New York Times apologized for including a racial slur “beaner” in crossword puzzle on Tuesday, as the editor responsible said his staff lives in "rarefied circles” and was therefore oblivious that the word is considered offensive...
Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz took to Twitter with an explanation of how the situation unfolded and why the slur was included in the puzzle.
— NYTimes Wordplay (@NYTimesWordplay) January 1, 2019
I don't live in rarefied circles, but as a fellow Crawfordsville boy, I believe him. Out of all the racial slurs I heard growing up -- without ever, ever using them myself, because that would be racist -- "beaner" wasn't one of them. The first time I ever remember hearing "beaner" was when comedian Carlos Mencia said it. Remember Carlos Mencia? He hasn't been popular for the past decade, he was never that popular to begin with, and he's the only person I can think of who's ever said it.
The crossword clue in question was this: "Pitch to the head, informally." Like when you bean somebody with a baseball. A beaner. I've never heard it used that way, because baseball is boring, but I can see where it came from. "Ouch, that guy just got beaned. What a beaner!" Nothing racist about it.
But if you're determined to be offended, of course you would see the phrase "Pitch to the head, informally" and think it's just an excuse for those racists at the NYT to hurt your feelings. You know how those people are!
Nobody with half a brain actually believes the crossword team at the NYT is sitting around thinking of ways to be racist. But it's never about the intent of the speaker. That's irrelevant. If you say something that angers someone else, no matter how obvious it is that you meant no offense, the offended party has the final say. You must submit to your humiliation and beg for forgiveness, or else it's just further proof of your bigotry.