Favorite

Words, April 24 

“Richard Land, chief lobbyist for the Southern Baptist Convention, recently sparked controversy for calling U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) a ‘schmuck' during a speech. … In Yiddish, ‘schmuck' literally means a reference to ‘male genitalia.' ” That's the literal meaning, all right, but schmuck is also commonly used to mean “jerk,” and Land said that was the only meaning he knew at the time he made the speech. He issued a short statement after the controversy broke out:

“In reviewing these criticisms, I have learned some consider the word crude, if not obscene. … If I had known that, I would never have used the word.” 

I'm willing to accept a plea of ignorance from Land — on this, and other issues — but some of his fellow Baptists are not. Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics wrote:

“When a Baptist preacher slurs a senator of Jewish faith with such a degrading word in a lecture to theology students, he discloses a hostility towards Jews and may communicate that using Yiddish insults against those of the Jewish faith is acceptable for ministers.” 

Whether Land did or didn't know the original meaning of schmuck, he knew that it was an insult and he intended it as such. Did he choose this particular insult because the target was Jewish, or would he have used the same word on Sen. Mark Pryor in similar circumstances? In other words, is there a touch of anti-Semitism here? Only Land knows for sure.  

What offended Land was Schumer's sharp questioning of John G. Roberts after Roberts was nominated to be chief justice of the United States. More dutiful than schmucky, some would say. 

Gratuitous plurals are being put into play (“behaviors”), while necessary plurals are omitted. 

“A referral by a federal judge prompted an investigation of Sullivan's representation in a bankruptcy involving John and Mary Parks … Sullivan listed assets for the Parks that they did not own … Sullivan did not keep the Parks properly informed … The judge canceled the contract between the Parks and Sullivan.” If one is Parks, two are Parkses.

 

 

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Not leaders

    As soon as I saw the Notre Dame graduates walking out of their own commencement ceremony as Vice President Mike Pence began to speak, I thought, "Oh no, here we go again."
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • .... and having a beer with Gene Lyons, who gave the cutest clumsy curtsy before…

    • on May 27, 2017
  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • Are you saying Karl Marx has left the building? The New York Times denies it…

    • on May 27, 2017
  • Re: Conspiracy theorists

    • Yes, Lyon's thinks it is Fox Network that promotes the lies that the West has…

    • on May 26, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation