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

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

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 »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
 

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