Michael Smith Suspended for Iran Comments

Mormon Hereticathletics, BYU, Humor, media, missionary, Mormon, racism, sports 56 Comments

Ok, I am when someone who get bothered when someone makes disparaging comments about another ethnic group.  Fox suspended LA Clippers announcers Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith for one game because of one email from “a viewer who e-mailed Fox to complain.”  Give me a break.  Please, what is so offensive about this conversation?

The transcript of the conversation between Lawler and Smith, which occurred late in the game, was printed on the Los Angeles Times’ Web site:

Smith: “Look who’s in.”

Lawler: “Hamed Haddadi. Where’s he from?”

Smith: “He’s the first Iranian to play in the NBA.” (Smith pronounced Iranian as “Eye-ranian,” a pronunciation that offended the viewer who complained.)

Lawler: “There aren’t any Iranian players in the NBA,” repeating Smith’s mispronunciation.

Smith: “He’s the only one.”

Lawler: “He’s from Iran?”

Smith: “I guess so.”

Lawler: “That Iran?”

Smith: “Yes.”

Lawler: “The real Iran?”

Smith: “Yes.”

Lawler: “Wow. Haddadi that’s H-A-D-D-A-D-I.”

Smith: “You’re sure it’s not Borat’s older brother?”

Smith: “If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I’m going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part.”

Lawler: “Here’s Haddadi. Nice little back-door pass. I guess those Iranians can pass the ball.”

Smith: “Especially the post players.

Lawler: “I don’t know about their guards.”

Michael Smith is a former all-American 6′ 10″ forward from BYU.  He served a mission from 1984-1986.  He was a drafted in the First Round (13th overall) by the Boston Celtics, where he played 2 years.  He played 1 year for the LA Clippers before jumping into the broadcast booth.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think this conversation deserved more than a verbal warning.  Suspension?  Give me a break!

Comments 56

  1. Maybe Fox should suspend Sean Hannity for using Glenn Beck’s 9/12 rally footage for Michelle Bachman’s rally. What about all the political commentators that encouraged the bombing of Iran? Or John McCain singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran? Pretty tame stuff compared to lying media manipulation and actual war or the threat of war.

    Political correctness is absurd when it is exercised by the Fox network. Clearly the sports commentators are subjected to a much higher standard than the political commentators. There is no punishment equal to the ultimate Mormon embarrassment — Glenn Beck.

  2. I can’t understand why they would suspend him. Make no sense to me.

    Hey, Ulysseus. I clicked your name-link and decided to accept your warning to see what’s happening. Spent a few minutes on your site. NASTY.

  3. MH,

    What does his height, where he played, when he served his mission have anything to do with the current price of tea in China?

    That said, his, and his fellow commentator’s comments were out of line, unprofessional. Maybe you say that where this Eye-ranian can hear it, to razz him in a male bonding kind of way. But to an audience that cannot reply back? The suspension certainly wasn’t undeserved.

  4. I would agree with those who think this does not meet any reasonable standard for hate speech. These two guys strike me as harmless enough. They may be fine athletes, but they aren’t too sophisticated otherwise. Oh, I forget — this was on FOX where saying nasty things about other people — particularly Democrats, Muslims and foreigners of many different stripes — is the order of the day.

  5. It’s funny that liberals become so irritated that one single news outlet exists outside of their control and agenda. I would think that they’d be satisfied that they control absolutely everything else. I suppose some people’s minds are too delicate to hear any different point of view or observe dissension from the Hussein Clown Posse’s authority.

    These sports commentator’s comments seem out of line to me. I don’t care about the pronounciation of Iran, but the other lines seem quite rude. Then again, I wonder how Americans would be treated if they were part of some Iranian organizations.

  6. So let me get this right. Anytime a joke is made about Borat, censorship is warranted? And if one mispronounces the name of a country, suspension? This is ludicrous.

  7. I guess my point (lost in all concerns over my nastiness) was sure MH, it is ludicrous, but compared to other media behavior by the same network it moves from ludicrous to hypocritical outrageousness.

    But the indignation over a one game suspension is misplaced. A long line of sports commentators have been subjected to censure (not censor) from their networks for racist, sexist or insensitive comments or actions — Jimmy the Greek, Marv Albert, Don Imus, etc. Michael Smith was insensitive and he has a microphone. I have a close Iranian friend who lives here in the United States and racism isn’t all that funny. So let his employer slap his wrist and don’t begrudge a minor punishment for a small offense. Maybe a couple of people can learn some cultural understanding out of it.

    A censure does not a censor make.

  8. pardon me, but there’s no racism in smith’s comment. I don’t view suspension as a slap on the wrist, and I don’t think smith’s comment is any where close to don imus remarks. the comment was not mean-spirited at all, and not racist. it is not comparable to rush limbaugh’s comment about donovan mcnabb.

    a censure is a form of censorship. I support actions against limbaugh and imus but smith’s comment barely raised an eyebrow, except for one email. we don’t normally suspend a person for offending a single email for mispronunciation (which is what the emailer seemed to have significant offense) do we?

  9. But so what? You again ignored my point. Where is the outrage over bombing other countries? Where is the outrage over decidedly racist attitudes that still permeate the country? Where is the outrage over the nutty things Glenn Beck says — Obama a racist?

    If you are an employer you have every right to censure an employee for upseting a customer — even just one. Sports commentators are supposed to entertain, but not offend and utilizing Sacha Cohen and Borat creates a chance that you are going to offend.

    This isn’t censorship in the least, it is business. In the case of Glenn Beck, the business is upseting people, so he is rewarded rather than punished for being outlandish. I bring Glenn Beck up, because this is after all “Mormon Matters” and I’m guessing that is the peripheral connection to Michael Smith, that and he played at the Zoo. Whose comments do more damage to the Mormon image — with or without a suspension? What was Michael Smith doing watching Borat anyway? That show was NASTY. Which commentator should Mormons really want to apply the duct tape across the mouth?

  10. Glenn Beck says worse stuff every day and Faux seems to love that. But I guess I see why someone is offended by the stereotyping, with the Borat jokes and all. I would have just told Smith to stick to sports without any ethnic commentaries.

  11. Surprisingly I’ve found many Mormons to be ignorant bigots, the culture of white supremacy runs wild within many states in the US but you hope for more from the True Church with access to the Holy Ghost.

    The eye-ran, eye-raq mis-pronunciation is just due ignorance and the dumbed down media , the Borat jokes are just bad taste, however the entire tone of the commentary i.e “That Iran?” fits with the isolated Red – Neck stereotypes.

  12. I think comparisons to glenn beck are appropriate. frankly I can’t stand the guy (or rush, olbermann, etc.) there does seems to be a double standard when beck can call obama a racist with impunity while smith gets suspended for a bad taste borat joke.

    I will say that fox sports are locally owned and operated, while fox news is national. so, the double standard is attributable different owners with different standards. what you have is a local california station where political correctness is taken too far verses a national station who disregards political correctness when it fits their ratings goals.

  13. MH,

    The thing is that Smith was covering a basketball game, and not politics. He and his buddy made some crude remarks that were out of line with the work they are in. If they were on Glenn Beck’s show and making those comments, I don’t think anyone would care one whit.

  14. oh and MH,

    I’d still like an answer to my question. 🙂

    What does his height, where he played, when he served his mission have anything to do with the current price of tea in China?

  15. Dan, you obviously don’t listen to Dan Patrick’s radio show. “Hi, this is Mormon Heretic, 6-4, 230 pounds. {Ding}” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.)

    Dan, I added the info for those who might remember Michael Smith when he played at BYU. Obviously Michael Smith is a pretty common name, and I expected some would know who he was if I added some information identifying him. I don’t recall tying anything to the tea in China, so I don’t know where you got that tie-in. 🙂

    I’m sorry if you found that crude–obviously you have a wide definition of crude: “He [Smith] and his buddy made some crude remarks” and apparently you think suspension is the same thing as a slap on the wrist. So tell me Dan, are you suspended frequently? In all my years of employment, I’ve NEVER been suspended, and if I was, I certainly wouldn’t view a suspension as a slap on the wrist.

    I haven’t checked out your website, but judging from Jared’s comments, and your own definition of crude, perhaps you should be suspended from Mormon Matters. 🙂 If Smith was truly as crude as you say, then I suspect that most of us here should be suspended–certainly you for sure. You’ve admitted worse on your website “I guess my point (lost in all concerns over my nastiness)….”

    I’m not sure you are a very good judge of crude Dan, or at least it appears you don’t practice what you preach.

  16. “This is Ulysseus, weighing in at 190 lbs, 6’0” {Ding}”

    MH, you’ve conflated me with Dan and that was painful.

    I’m an excellent judge of crude and understand it well — even appreciate it and all its nastiness. Sarcasm and satire have a place in dialogue (and on my personal blog), but that doesn’t mean people don’t always understand the message in that format. I make sure I’m self-employed so that I can suspend myself whenever my crudity gets the best of me, just so I can tell the prudes I practice what I preach.

    And yes, in my regular employment days I have been suspended. Not a fun experience, but it takes a special kind of person to have fun with discipline.

  17. Jettboy,

    You are sadly misinformed and logically inconsistent.
    1. Fox News is thriving saying only good things about Palin and Republicans, even though a good chunk of it is made up.
    2. Political correctness is a form of free speech — free speech for the compassionate, understanding and those folks who love their neighbors and pray for those that despitefully use them.

  18. MH,

    I don’t recall tying anything to the tea in China, so I don’t know where you got that tie-in.

    that’s sort of the point of saying what does X have to do with the price of tea in China. 🙂

    I haven’t checked out your website, but judging from Jared’s comments, and your own definition of crude, perhaps you should be suspended from Mormon Matters.

    Um, yeah, I’m not Ulysseus and don’t ever link to his blog… While I may swear a little on my political blog, it’s not anything crude. so… yeah…

  19. Dan, did you read the comments at YouTube? It seems nobody really agrees with you. Let me quote:

    MrReubenr101 (1 hour ago)
    i ont get it ??????????

    BanzaiSushi (3 hours ago)
    I heard the guy who complained about this being offensive on the radio..dude is a complete joke..I’m not offended by this at all.

    heffyz (5 hours ago)
    this is nothing  IVe heard alot worse from chick hearn ralph and mike shouldint have been suspended

    NocturalRyte (5 hours ago)
    LOL. I’m not offended at all.

    Now Dan, you say, “While I may swear a little on my political blog, it’s not anything crude.” That could get you suspended and could result in an FCC fine if you said those things on network television depending on what it was. Smith and Lawler said nothing the FCC would be upset about, and I don’t recall the FCC looking into this matter.

    Please point out the crude remark that either Smith of Lawler said. Specifically, what was crude? Is the mere mention of Borat an FCC violation? I think not.

    Look, I don’t think Lawler should have been suspended either. Since this is Mormon Matters, and Smith is a Mormon in the public eye, I’m more interested in talking about him than Lawler. However, I don’t see anything terribly wrong in Lawler’s comments either. As I said before, it is nowhere near Limbaugh’s comments about McNabb, or Imus’ comments about the Rutgers basketball team. A private apology to this fan would have been fine. Perhaps a public apology, if one is that sensitive about Iranian fans. Suspension? No way.

    Have you bothered to apologize for swearing on your blog? I’m sure it must have offended at least one reader. (If not, I’ll register a complaint for your swearing and see if you suspend yourself–I’ll take your word for it if you post something on your blog suspending yourself.) As has been pointed out many times, Glenn Beck referring to Obama as a racist is much worse than anything Smith and Lawler said, and Beck not only doesn’t apologize, but doesn’t get suspended either. I don’t believe Beck swears on air either, even though the FCC has more lenient rules about swearing on cable tv.

    So why are you supporting Smith’s suspension? Is it because he is a “former all-American 6′ 10″ forward from BYU. He served a mission from 1984-1986.”

    (In case you’re wondering, I’m a Utah fan, and I can’t stand BYU. I’m also a Celtics fan, and I couldn’t believe they drafted him because I didn’t think he was very good. I booed when he was drafted. Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, BJ Armstrong, Vlade Divac, and Blue Edwards would have been better picks, and they were all picked after him.)

  20. MH,

    1. Their comments during a basketball game about Eye-ranians were out of line and deserved whatever punishment they got. They were offensive attempts at humor that fell very flat and cringeworthy. Hence why I think the suspension was deserved. Should they have received something less? Probably, but I’m not going to cry that he was suspended for his remarks. They were not in good taste and certainly not appropriate for the venue.

    2. Limbaugh was fired from ESPN, if I recall correctly for his offensive comments. And not only that but he will not be allowed to be a part owner of an NFL team particularly for those comments. Again, worthy punishment for that racist fearmonger.

    3. Swearing on my blog is perfectly appropriate for that venue, thus no apology needed. It is a private blog that has no rules it must abide by except plagiarism.

    4. I support Smith’s suspension because his comments were inappropriate and he deserved punishment. That kind of language is not acceptable in this society.

  21. They cover at least 82 games, so a 1-game suspension means they lost about 1/82 of their salary. I don’t think that’s a big deal if it helps them remember the simple rule “Don’t make fun of other countries/ethnicities.”

    Also, Smith should have been suspended anyway just for being such a terrible NBA player. And MH should be suspended for being a Celtics fan.

  22. #24: “Limbaugh was fired from ESPN, if I recall correctly for his offensive comments.”

    Limbaugh was fired, specifically, for suggesting that Donovan McNabb received publicity all out of proportion to his performance, as measured by his statistics (true), and for speculating that the reason for this is that the press is anxious to see an African-American quarterback succeed (which it does).

    Whether Limbaugh should have piped up with that little gem, I have my doubts. Some things are true that are not very useful. There should be some places where we can be free from political animosity. Sports should be that kind of “safe place.” (Not that left-leaning sportswriters — or classical music conductors, or dramatic directors, etc. — pay much heed to that advice. That’s no excuse. Being better than the standard-issue obnoxious leftist is way too low a bar for decent people to aspire to surpass.)

    Limbaugh was prevented from buying into an NFL team, in significant part, because of things he never said, but which people like you instantly credited.

    I am happy to be called a racist by leftists, because their use of the word no longer has its actual (ugly) connotation. It simply means that I don’t buy into their mendacious fantasy world. Am happy to be called heretic by McConkieite Mormons for the same reason.

    As for Smith, I’ve got no problem with the Eye-ranian pronunciation (the Persian associate next door to mine pronounces it that way herself), but that “Is he Borat’s brother” was lame and discourteous, and there should have been consequences.

    As for item #4, when the President of the United States is using the slur “teabagger” for dissenters, I’ve got little patience for prim declarations of what kind of language is “not acceptable in this society.”

  23. Limbaugh was fired, specifically, for suggesting that Donovan McNabb received publicity all out of proportion to his performance, as measured by his statistics (true), and for speculating that the reason for this is that the press is anxious to see an African-American quarterback succeed (which it does).

    Limbaugh was fired for bringing his personal racial obsessions into an arena that had nothing to do with race except in his mind. McNabb was hyped because a) statistically he was good — not great, but good, and b) he was a winner in a big city. Winning quarterbacks always get hyped, and McNabb is a winner (except for Super Bowls).

    There was no evidence that the press cared one way or the other about African-American quarterbacks. You had to be over 40 to even remember the days when they didn’t let black guys play QB in the NFL. People younger than that weren’t even thinking in terms of “black quarterbacks” and “white quarterbacks” anymore. They’re all just quarterbacks these days. Nobody even cares anymore, except racial obsessives like Limbaugh.

    As for item #4, when the President of the United States is using the slur “teabagger” for dissenters, I’ve got little patience for prim declarations of what kind of language is “not acceptable in this society.”

    The teabaggers started out calling themselves that. They only stopped after people started laughing at them and somebody explained why.

  24. Kuri, we’ll respectfully disagree. I defer to no one in despising real racism (see my comment in the Elder Holland thread re: Mormon racist folklore). But the idea that liberals do not see the world through race-tinted glasses is risible. Limbaugh was pointing out their race obsession, not indulging in his own.

    “As for item #4,” your history is wrong. Short version, a couple of Tea Party protestors did make a “teabag” double entendre (which was totally tasteless), but they absolutely did not call themselves “teabaggers.”

    I, for my part, had to look up what the phrase meant. Ew.

  25. Thomas,

    But the problem was that it wasn’t a question of liberals and conservatives and their views on race, it was a question of football: “How good is McNabb/are the Eagles?” Limbaugh turned it into a question of racial politics. Nobody else on the show brought up race; there’s no sign that anybody else was even thinking about it. Because who would even think that it’s relevant? But that was the first place Limbaugh went, because that’s the way his mind works.

  26. #32 — I wrote above that Limbaugh shouldn’t have brought politics into the debate. Sports is sports; politics is sports for guys who can’t jump, and ne’er the twain should meet. Of course, that makes one wonder why Limbaugh (or Keith Olberman) were hired to do sports in the first place. Just like I don’t want an anti-Bush lecture by the conductor before I hear Mahler, I don’t need critical race theory when I mean to watch football. I got enough of that crap in school.

    Who would even think that it’s relevant? This guy, for starters: http://www.slate.com/id/2089193/

    I stand by my perception that Limbaugh’s target was not McNabb and his race, but commentators and their racialism. Limbaugh is far less concerned with race than the vast majority of his critics, who are completely obsessed by the subject.

  27. We agree that Limbaugh was wrong to bring it up. Where we disagree is on whether he was right about what he said. The “overrated” part is certainly arguable. With the exception of a couple of (post-2003) years, McNabb’s efficiency stats weren’t (aren’t) great.

    But on the racial part, I don’t know who Allen Barra is, but I think his comparison of McNabb with Brad Johnson makes my point better than it does Limbaugh’s. Johnson went to the Pro Bowl twice, in the only years when he won at least 10 games as a starter. McNabb has been five times, each in years when he won at least 11 games (except one year when he was injured and went 7-3). When his team stopped winning he stopped going to Pro Bowls, even though his efficiency stats were as good or better than all but one of his Pro Bowl years.

    And that’s my point: winning quarterbacks get hyped. Johnson got Pro Bowls when he won; McNabb got Pro Bowls when he won too. There’s no need to think race has anything to do with it; it doesn’t explain anything that winning doesn’t already explain.

  28. This strikes me as similar to much of Book of Mormon apologetics: If an alternative explanation of potentially inconvenient circumstances can be articulated, it is accepted as authoritative — regardless of the actual relative strengths of the various alternatives.

    There may be no “need” to think race has anything to do with the (arguably disproportionate) attention paid to Donovan McNabb, in the sense that there is no plausible alternative. But must race be excluded as a possibility, just because alternative explanations also appear? At the least, isn’t the possibility that the sports media are being influenced by racial considerations a reasonable one? If so, why is that reasonable alternative among alternatives unfit for mention in polite society?

    We desperately want to believe that America has moved beyond race and its associated complications. The world we create in the media reflects what we want the world to be like. I find it hard to believe that this kind of wishful thinking never affects what is emphasized. I would rather this not be the case — I would rather we were not so obsessed with race, that it affects how we let ourselves see the world. But the idea that it’s the person who calls attention to the racialism of others is himself the only one who cares about race, is not realistic.

  29. LOL @ that hypocrite Dan that {edit} told me to watch my language in a comment on his blog in response to one of his ridiculous comment! Hey Dan!

    {edit by Mormon Heretic. WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE. Your moniker is bad enough, and I will personally delete any comments by you that have questionable language if I find them. I have merely removed the offensive words here, but filthy language is not acceptable here. Future messages with filthy language will be deleted from this point forward.

    I have been uncomfortable with your moniker for quite some time, and your offensive language is not welcome here, nor is the name-calling which I edited out.}

  30. Thomas,

    Limbaugh’s explanation violates Occam’s razor. It adds an “entity” — race — when we already have a well-known, widely-accepted, simple explanation (quarterbacks get disproportionate credit for wins and blame for losses). That’s an explanation that has applied to most quarterbacks (at every level, not just the NFL) for more than half a century. Why do we suddenly need a different explanation when a black QB wins a lot of games and gets (arguably) over-hyped?

    But the idea that it’s the person who calls attention to the racialism of others is himself the only one who cares about race, is not realistic.

    In this case, it was to the imagined racialism of others. Limbaugh imagined that’s what the press was doing, but there was no evidence for it. And I think that the idea that when nobody else is talking about race, the one guy who brings it up is only doing so because other people somehow “made” him is very dubious.

  31. Thomas,

    As for item #4, when the President of the United States is using the slur “teabagger” for dissenters, I’ve got little patience for prim declarations of what kind of language is “not acceptable in this society.”

    Hey man, that’s the label they choose themselves. It’s not the president’s fault that there is a double entendre to that word. Maybe they should have thought of that before jumping in and calling themselves that.

  32. #38 — Absolutely not true. To be precise, the tea party protestors absolutely did not call themselves “teabaggers.”

    What did happen was this: At one of the first tea party protests, one protestor carried a sign reading “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” Ha-ha. Another slogan was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” — i.e., send representatives a tea bag. I suspect the person with the sign with the first slogan knew the urban meaning of “teabag”; I’m less certain about the second, and I can guarantee that the vast majority of the protesters wouldn’t know a teabag from a Cincinnati bow tie. (Which I only know about from “The Forty-Year-Old Virgin.”) Jeanne Garafalo and some other losers picked up the slur, applied it to the whole tea party movement (none of which referred to themselves as teabaggers) and it was off to the races.

    I find this absolutely typical of a certain kind of smug and juvenile leftist — the kind that reads snarky “alternative” publications like OC Weekly which are amply filled with advertisements for cannabis clubs and escort services. Fine. Let those Dirty Sanchezes have their fun with the “teabag” insult. But the President of the United States is supposed to be above this. Unfortunately, the President’s emotional age is about seventeen, so I suppose it goes with the territory.

    #37 — I disagree that there is no evidence that McNabb didn’t receive disproportionate interest — that is, more interest than the usual winning quarterback — because of his race. I don’t think Limbaugh should have raised the point in that particular context — again, I think (unlike most leftists) that there should be safe spaces, untouched by politics. But I think it’s telling that this is the best leftists can do to demonize Limbaugh as a “racist.” Calling attention to others (perceived) racialism is simply not racism.

  33. Calling attention to others (perceived) racialism is simply not racism.

    If you’d said “not necessarily” racism, I might agree with you. (I’d have to think about it.) But it can also easily be used as a method of dog whistling or race baiting. Then it is most definitely based in, or at least meant to appeal to, racism.

  34. #40 Sigh, Dan.

    What do you mean “they”? One old guy in Colorado suddenly becomes representative of everybody who ever attended a Tea Party? By that logic, everybody who ever attended an anti-war rally must endorse all those anti-Bush “Snipers Wanted” signs, etc.

    You’re fighting a losing battle here, chief. The “teabagger” slur is overwhelmingly the property of the Left. If that old Colorado guy, who I strongly suspect doesn’t quite understand the vulgar connotation of the phrase the young whippersnappers have given it, is “running” with the term, it’s in the nature of trying to take an originally-insulting epithet (like “Whig” or “Tory” or “Christian” and owning it.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that the “teabagger” slur is an attempt to discredit the Tea Party guys, and avoid discussing the substance of their movement, by mockery. Fools mock.

  35. Thomas,

    Do you really think “teabagger” is a slur? It seems more like just a nickname to me, like “wingnut” or “moonbat.” Or are those slurs too?

  36. “Smith: “You’re sure it’s not Borat’s older brother?””

    Actually they were suspended for their ignorance.

    Borat’s Kazakhstanian!! 🙂 And Sacha is English -and Jew.

  37. Dan,

    “As a white boy myself, I can call someone else a white boy”

    Dude! you’re such a racists!!! 🙂

    #51, Wikipedia?? wouldn’t it depend on who wrote the paragraph?? I mean I’ve written some wild stuff in wikipedia too, 🙂

  38. you really think “teabagger” is a slur? It seems more like just a nickname to me, like “wingnut” or “moonbat.” Or are those slurs too?

    Wingnut and moonbat are usually slurs. Teabagger has a very common useage, anyone who plays first person shooters or on-line games with any frequency knows exactly what it means.

    Definitely a slur. Kind of like the “call a spade a spade” business or “eenie, meanie, minie moe” which has a clear history these days, ever since the top forty song.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teabagger if you have any question about the term …

  39. Stephen,
    I know the term, although I was not familiar with its use in gaming.
    But why is calling a spade a spade a slur? It refers to a shovel. And little kids have been catching tigers by the toe since the 1960s at least.

  40. #44: “Dog whistle” — oh. In other words, a mechanism by which left-liberals may classify objectively non-racist speech as “racist,” in order to avoid having to refute an inconveniently strong argument.

    “Wingnut” and “moonbat” have their place, I suppose, in the Moss Eisley cantina of Internet message boards. I don’t want the President of the United States using either one; we’re supposed to be a deliberative democracy. And “teabagger,” because of the vulgar sexual connotation the term has that the former two terms do not, is worse.

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