Did New Yorker’s John Cassidy just call Ted Cruz ‘uppity’?

Did New Yorker’s John Cassidy just call Ted Cruz ‘uppity’?

Yes, but you’d never know it by linking to Cassidy’s article today because the adjective, which appeared in the second paragraph, has been scrubbed. (You will be at least aware that the word was in the story but not precisely how or where it was used because Cassidy appended an “update,” appearing after the story, which reads:

In describing Senator Cruz’s aggressive actions during his first year in the Senate, I originally used the word “uppity,” which means, according to Webster’s, “acting as if you are more important than you really are, do not have to do what you are told to do, etc.” However, the word also has some disturbing historical connotations that I overlooked, and in applying it to a Latino politician, I goofed. If I gave any offense, however inadvertently, I am sorry.)

Unfortunately for the New Yorker and Cassidy, one of the higher-visibility commentators that noticed the slur was the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, who starts out being refreshingly open-minded in his criticism. Calling the update “vague,” he points out that “’uppity’ has a tendency to be uttered in close proximity to the ‘N’ word, which might go a ways toward accounting for its ‘disturbing historical connotations.'”

Then Wemple does himself the disservice of concluding his own article with this:

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As an experienced commentator — a staff writer at New Yorker since 1995 — Cassidy should know what he’s up against here — the great American pastime of examining, parsing and dismembering the meae culpae of media people. Get ready for the avalanche of outrage over this sorry-if-anyone-took-offense formulation.

Yes, there is plenty of “gotcha journalism” in practice nowadays on both sides of the ideological divide, but so much of the self-righteous indignation emanates from the left, which after all is the progenitor of political correctness, that people like Wemple are scarcely in a position to grouse about the “avalanche of outrage” likely to ensue over Cassidy’s “goof.” (By the way, saying “I goofed” — a formulation Wemple is willing to accept, writing “Good on Cassidy for admitting that he ‘goofed,’” — makes it sound as though it was a clumsy error rather than what it was: The deliberate use of a carefully chosen pejorative adjective whose first known use was in 1880 but has since become taboo for the reasons Wemple notes.)

It turns out that Cassidy needn’t have bothered about taking back the insult because a press release sent out today on behalf of Arturo Carmona, executive director of Presente.org, a Latino advocacy group, reads:

Sen. Ted Cruz is unapologetically anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-woman, and anti-Latino. His candidacy ensures that Latinos will continue to flee the Republican party, as his current and impending policies are merely an exemplification of adopted extremism. Such extremism has allowed the tea party declare an all out war on Latinos and immigrant working families, and it is my strong belief that Sen. Cruz’s only real purpose is to push the Republican constituency further into the depths of radical factionalism. If Cruz was to represent the Tea Party in the primary presidential election, it would only continue to push the Republican party further to the right, a tentatively disastrous reality for Latinos nationwide.

Shorter Arturo Carmona: Ted Cruz is the GOP’s “house n*gger” (or whatever the equivalent is among Hispanics), and the left is free to dump on him in any way they see fit.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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