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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Harrison Ford defends use of n-word in Jackie Robinson biopic ’42?: ‘It’s historically accurate’

Well…it ain’t Nixon.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Moviegoers will see the hardships Robinson endured during his endeavor to integrate an all-white sport, including repeatedly being called racial slurs like the n-word.

Ford says the n-word was tastefully used in 42, and was necessary in telling the story of Robinson.

“It’s historically accurate,” Ford told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon. “This is a film about a period of time, and about redeeming that period of time in which it was conventional and common to hear that word and others in characterization of people. The characters that we played worked hard to create circumstances in which that word couldn’t be used, but you can’t make a movie about applesauce without talking about apples.”

When asked if he thinks audience members from 42 will be offended by the when they hear the n-word in the film, Ford said, “No. I don’t think they will.”

“Just to hear the word is a powerful emotional reaction from many people… me included. If the circumstances that we’re talking about and the character that I play hadn’t worked with Jackie Robinson to change white baseball, the civil rights movement wouldn’t have happened as quickly as it did. So this is about racism, it’s about civil rights.”

Repoz Posted: March 27, 2013 at 06:30 PM | 230 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: film, history

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   1. puck Posted: March 27, 2013 at 06:43 PM (#4397965)
It would have been a lot different if people in the crowd were yelling instead, "Jackie! You're very articulate!"
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 27, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4397974)
Pee Wee shot first.
   3. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4397976)
How is this even a controversy?
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4397978)
Unbelievable. It's OK for Jay-Z and other "artists" to use these words in a derogatory, insulting fashion, but when a film tries to portray something historically accurate--and I'm sure there was plenty of the N-word going around at ballparks in the 1940s--then the use of the word becomes an issue.

I just hope that the film doesn't Robinson standing at home plate and glaring at the pitcher after a home run, the way that one of the film's trailers inaccurately portrayed him.
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4397979)
Spike Lee was seen marshaling the S1Ws for a protest.
   6. Eric P. Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4397982)
Is it a controversy or is this just one media outlet being ridiculous? Obviously telling this story without using the N word and other racial slurs would turn the whole endeavor into a farce.
   7. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:25 PM (#4397986)
"tastefully used?" Though the word makes me squirm whenever I hear it, I certainly understand using it to tell this story. But I don't think it's possible to use that word tastefully.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4397987)
I watched the clip and Eric P has it. This is just some nitwit trying to ask the question to make something out of nothing. You can almost see Ford thinking to himself "wow that's a stupid question" as he tries to formulate an answer.
   9. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4397988)
Just some points:

a) it's NBC (or something with NBC's logo on it)
2) I didn't watch the video or read the article
d) the headline "Ford defends use of N word" could probably have just as easily been written "Ford discusses use of N word," which transforms this from a controversy to a vanilla interview.

Edit: Coke to 8
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4397989)
I wondered how this would play out for the movie.

I do think it's a tough thing, but I don't see how you can avoid at least one instance.
   11. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4398007)
I think they should go back to the original print of the film, remove all the references to the n-word, and replace them with flashlights.
   12. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4398014)
When asked if he thinks audience members from 42 will be offended by the when they hear the n-word in the film, Ford said, “No. I don’t think they will.”
Not only might they be, but I hope they will be. Robinson had to put up with that crap, and this movie should accurately reflect that.

Also, Han shot first.
   13. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4398021)
I think they should go back to the original print of the film, remove all the references to the n-word, and replace them with flashlights.


Obviously they should replace that word with "blackie". Also, they should always use Phil Hartman's voice saying it.
   14. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4398033)
Jackie Robinson was a nit.
   15. Bob Tufts Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4398037)
No, he said the sheriff was near.....
   16. Jon W Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4398038)
Bruce, Jackie stands at home plate quite a bit in the film, I'm afraid to say.
   17. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4398044)
Nothing like scare quotes around the word artist to really make clear where you're coming from (i.e. 1952)
   18. spike Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4398048)
13, RDF. The "Mr. Black" dub made me laugh out loud at my TV that day.
   19. Morty Causa Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4398058)
That there are some that even take umbrage at Mark Twain's use of the word, or even Harper Lee's, is something worth contemplating very seriously. Many people are so thrown by the word that they can't even see that the work in question is really on their side. I have heard people say that they can't read To Kill A Mockingbird because it uses the word. That's all that matters--they can't deal with anything else. It says something about the force of an emotion, about fear, and about protecting oneself against that fear to an extreme degree. They can't even believe that the word (or a word--which kind of relates to our linguistics threads) may have at one time been used in a different way. That is the other side of virulent racism, and it, too, can be scary.
   20. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4398059)
I'm wondering how the interviewer reacted when he saw "Django Unchained"...
   21. Danny Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:29 PM (#4398074)
Jay-Z and other "artists"


AKA black musicians who need to get off your lawn.
   22. Morty Causa Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4398082)
Jay-Z? Is that variation of Brand X?
   23. Red Menace Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4398109)
Also, Han shot first.

Incorrect. Han shot only.
   24. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:51 PM (#4398129)
He had a trigger with attitude.
   25. Benji Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4398138)
Rick Santorum said Jackie was a "blah".
   26. madvillain Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:19 AM (#4398141)
It's OK for Jay-Z and other "artists" to use these words in a derogatory, insulting fashion


Maybe Q-Tip can explain it:

See, nigga first was used back in the deep south
Fallin out between the dome of the white mans mouth
It means that we will never grow, you know the word dummy
Other niggas in the community think its crummy
But I dont, neither does the youth cause we
Em-brace adversity it goes right with the race
And being that we use it as a term of endearment
Niggas start to bug to the dome is where the fear went
Now the little shorties say it all of the time
And a whole bunch of niggas throw the word in they rhyme
Yo I start to flinch, as I try not to say it
But my lips is like the oowop as I start to spray it
My lips is like a oowop as I start to spray it


No normative essay from me Mr. White Man (younger than Q-Tip's generation though) but there's a reason feminists have a magazine called \"#####\" and hip hop cats slang n-words.
   27. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4398143)
To Quote Dr. Hook: beeyoutifull.
   28. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:48 AM (#4398148)
Except that you don't see too many black faces on the cover of the Rolling Stoooone.
   29. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: March 28, 2013 at 02:37 AM (#4398162)
>>>I do think it's a tough thing, but I don't see how you can avoid at least one instance.

It's not a tough thing if you are dedicated to telling the truth. If, on the other hand, you are more worried about offending someone's sensibilities than depicting what it was exactly that Jackie Robinson overcame in the course of breaking the color line then I guess it would be a tough thing.
   30. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 28, 2013 at 04:19 AM (#4398170)
How is this even a controversy?

Because there are people whose whole raison d'être is to unmask and shun bigots. Oh, and they get to determine what a "bigot" is. Use the N-word in a movie? Bigot. Against gay marriage? Bigot. On the "wrong" side of any of a hundred other wedge issues? Bigot, bigot, bigot, bigot.

And you must be shunned! Shunned, I say!
   31. Dale Sams Posted: March 28, 2013 at 06:17 AM (#4398178)
Nothing like scare quotes around the word artist to really make clear where you're coming from (i.e. 1952)


See #30.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 28, 2013 at 06:54 AM (#4398187)
It's OK for Jay-Z and other "artists" to use these words in a derogatory, insulting fashion

Bruce, you should really read and contemplate Q-tip's response to that in #26. It's not as simple as you're implying.

------------------------------------------------

Nothing like scare quotes around the word artist to really make clear where you're coming from (i.e. 1952)

In fairness to Bruce, his comment seemed more directed against would-be censors of the movie than against artists or "artists". My thought on a movie about any historical figure that aims to go beyond cartoonish "entertainment" is that it should treat any "enhancement" (or softening) of reality with kid gloves. And depicting Jackie Robinson glaring at a pitcher after hitting a home run would be a perfect example of that, since that's something that Robinson himself would have looked upon as being strictly "bush". There are still thousands of living people who were first hand witnesses to Robinson's experience**, and to the extent that the movie's scenes were vetted through some of them, the better the movie is likely to be.

**Not to mention well-documented books such as Chris Lamb's Blackout and Jonathan Eig's Opening Day, which focus respectively on Robinson's 1946 Spring Training in Montreal and his rookie year with the Dodgers.
   33. Leroy Kincaid Posted: March 28, 2013 at 06:58 AM (#4398188)
Bruce, Jackie stands at home plate quite a bit in the film, I'm afraid to say.

Because he's waiting for his intro-music to finish?
   34. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:16 AM (#4398191)
It says something about the force of an emotion, about fear, and about protecting oneself against that fear to an extreme degree.


This is how 95% of people live, whether they've realized and accepted it or not.
   35. Flynn Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:18 AM (#4398192)
If you're white and you want to say the n-word, just say it. Black people aren't going to care that much, although they might think less of you. Ascribing this amazing, physically and mentally deforming power to the word gives it a dignity it does not deserve.

   36. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:36 AM (#4398197)
Well, I'm not sure. Do they say it ending with an -er or with an -AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Inflection is everything. I don't use the word myself but I've become inured to it after 13 years of riding the NYC subways where the black and latino kids use it as much in their speech as white girls use "like".
   37. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:21 AM (#4398211)
The nigga/###### discussion is one of my BBTF favorites.

EDIT: I can't say ###### on here?

EDIT 2: Guess even the nanny draws a distinction.
   38. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:22 AM (#4398212)
It's not as simple as you're implying.


That is choice. (You may want to consider that sentiment as it applies to other matters.) But, yes, that epitaph should be on everyone's tombstone (that or the music producer who wanted his to read, "More Bass".)
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:28 AM (#4398215)
The Italian American players on the Yankees in Joe Dimaggio's era used to call each other "Dago" with a fair amount of regularity, but I don't think that the non-Italian American players would have taken that as a cue that they could start addressing them in the same way. The distinction between Bad Words that people use among their own group and the same words used by outsiders against them is so obvious that it should hardly need to be explained, whether you approve of the former practice or not.
   40. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:29 AM (#4398216)
The nigga/###### discussion is one of my BBTF favorites.


I can see Fred and Ginger now, doing a duet: You say nigga/I say ######/Let's cut the whole thing off.

But, yeah, this thread is much better than the one on illegal immigration, which when it starts reads like a repaste from past attempts. As movie scholar Joe Bob Briggs would say, if you're going to make a sequel, make the exact same movie.

   41. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:32 AM (#4398219)
The nigga/###### discussion is one of my BBTF favorites.

Ha! I'm just being facetious, of course. I think there are a few white guys out there cool enough to get away with saying the word in mixed company. I am not one of them. As an aside, I'm not a big fan of The Office, but the one when Michael "performs" the Chris Rock routine never fails to crack me up.
   42. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:34 AM (#4398222)
I don't think that the non-Italian American players would have taken that as a cue that they could start addressing them in the same way. The distinction between Bad Words that people use among their own group and the same words used by outsiders against them is so obvious that it should hardly need to be explained, whether you approve of the former practice or not.


Yes, it does need to be discussed, because otherwise you haven't taken the first baby step of getting beyond all that.

And I speak as someone who also belongs to a group (Cajuns) that have had epithets (Coonass, now what could that be referring to, when used by those whom my grandfather called Les Americains) designated to them, which they then subverted through humorous/ironic/sarcastic application in that exact same way described above.
   43. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4398225)
The only controversy here is in the fevered imagination of the people who want there to be a controversy because it confirms their views about the evils of political correctness.
   44. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:48 AM (#4398229)
The Italian American players on the Yankees in Joe Dimaggio's era used to call each other "Dago" with a fair amount of regularity, but I don't think that the non-Italian American players would have taken that as a cue that they could start addressing them in the same way. The distinction between Bad Words that people use among their own group and the same words used by outsiders against them is so obvious that it should hardly need to be explained, whether you approve of the former practice or not.


And then there is using epithets like this:

I think it was in one of those “When the Grass Was Real” slew of books. I’ll simply tell it as best as I remember reading it. It concerned Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Jackie Robinson in the World Series. Jackie had gone out of his way in a play at second to particularly lay into Rizzuto. Later in the game, DiMaggio hit an infield grounder and the throw to Jackie at first pulled him off the bag, leaving him vulnerable to DiMaggio doing to him something very similar to what he had done to Rizzuto. Observers could see or sense (and the situation called for it) that Joe had in mind to knock Robinson on his ass, but at the last split second Joe kind of just skipped around him and avoided any collision. After the game, when called on this, Joe admitted to some writers (in a this is off the records, boys, comment), that he had been sorely tempted, was set to let Jackie have it, but had a change of mind when suddenly the newspaper headlines, “Dagos and Niggers At It Again,” flashed before his eyes.


Quoting myself from a prior discussion of Jackie Robinson. See post 89.
   45. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:50 AM (#4398232)
The only controversy here is in the fevered imagination of the people who want there to be a controversy because it confirms their views about the evils of political correctness


You mean, political correctness is not evil?
   46. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:58 AM (#4398238)
You mean, political correctness is not evil?

Well, you're free to describe people in any words you want, but you'll have to accept the disapprobation that may come with that.
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:01 AM (#4398242)
I think it was in one of those “When the Grass Was Real” slew of books. I’ll simply tell it as best as I remember reading it. It concerned Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Jackie Robinson in the World Series. Jackie had gone out of his way in a play at second to particularly lay into Rizzuto. Later in the game, DiMaggio hit an infield grounder and the throw to Jackie at first pulled him off the bag, leaving him vulnerable to DiMaggio doing to him something very similar to what he had done to Rizzuto. Observers could see or sense (and the situation called for it) that Joe had in mind to knock Robinson on his ass, but at the last split second Joe kind of just skipped around him and avoided any collision. After the game, when called on this, Joe admitted to some writers (in a this is off the records, boys, comment), that he had been sorely tempted, was set to let Jackie have it, but had a change of mind when suddenly the newspaper headlines, “Dagos and Niggers At It Again,” flashed before his eyes.


And here we've always thought that Dimaggio was a humorless sort of fellow. That's a very good story.

You mean, political correctness is not evil?

Depends on how you're defining it, because it's a term that's as indefinable as an elephant is to a group of blind men. The irony is that left wing "political correctness" was first parodied by a long-time Communist (Jessica Mitford), who did it far more skillfully than 99% of the right wing commentators this side of P. J. O'Rourke. In reality, "political correctness" is a tactic that's employed as a weapon by groups on every part of the political spectrum.
   48. Publius Publicola Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:04 AM (#4398245)
This discussion would have more resonance with me if we were discussing Tarantino's movies, which I believe DO use the n-word gratuitously.
   49. bunyon Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:11 AM (#4398254)
This discussion would have more resonance with me if we were discussing Tarantino's movies, which I believe DO use the n-word gratuitously.

Tarantino movies use everything gratuitously.
   50. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4398259)
Well, you're free to describe people in any words you want, but you'll have to accept the disapprobation that may come with that.


Does that apply to everyone of all persuasions? And if so, how do we go from there? If it doesn't, then, my friend, we are at war, and don't blather to me about where the little finger goes when you drink tea from the Dresden China cup.
   51. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4398269)
Political correctness is mostly about tact and respect, so, no, it's not evil. Of course, some people abuse it, but that doesn't mean the general concept is wrong.
   52. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4398273)
Does that apply to everyone of all persuasions? And if so, how do we go from there? If it doesn't, then, my friend, we are at war, and don't blather to me about where the little finger goes when you drink tea from the Dresden China cup.

I don't often play this card, but do you have common sense? Do you think other people have any? What is it exactly you feel you are unable to express due to the tyranny of political correctness? Do you think people can't tell the difference between a descriptive term said out of ignorance or anachronistically--like my grandmother saying "colored"--and a flat out slur? The funny thing about your description of me drinking team with my little finger up is that you're the one that sounds like a little princess throwing a fit because you can't use all your precious denominators in public anymore without people thinking you're a dick. Man up, say what you want, but accept that people are going to feel about you what they want. They may be offended or they may not.
   53. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4398278)
Does that apply to everyone of all persuasions? And if so, how do we go from there? If it doesn't, then, my friend, we are at war, and don't blather to me about where the little finger goes when you drink tea from the Dresden China cup.

Would you have a problem with a co-worker calling you jerkface or a$$hole in real life instead of using your name?
   54. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4398284)
Political correctness is mostly about tact and respect, so, no, it's not evil. Of course, some people abuse it, but that doesn't mean the general concept is wrong.


No, it doesn't have a place in discourse. That it does in family reunions, Kiwanis Club buffets, seduction settings, etc., is something else. The purpose of serious debate and discourse is to get beyond that. If you can't accept that as step one, why are you pretending to engage in reasoned argument at all?
   55. Randy Jones Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4398285)
Political correctness is mostly about tact and respect, so, no, it's not evil. Of course, some people abuse it, but that doesn't mean the general concept is wrong.


Yeaarrgghhhh wins.
   56. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4398287)
Yeaarrgghhhh wins.

Yeah, I think so. Good job you pirate!
   57. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4398288)
No, it doesn't have a place in discourse. That it does in family reunions, Kiwanis Club buffets, seduction settings, etc., is something else. The purpose of serious debate and discourse is to get beyond that. If you can't accept that as step one, why are you pretending to engage in reasoned argument at all?

I don't follow. Of course you can use a word like n***** if we're talking about the meaning and usage of the term. But 99.9% of the time, when people talk about political correctness they're talking about normal conversation.
   58. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4398289)
The funny thing about your description of me drinking team with my little finger up is that you're the one that sounds like a little princess throwing a fit because you can't use all your precious denominators in public anymore without people thinking you're a dick.


No, it's not the same. Suppression and expression are not the same. You don't want me to discuss certain things certain ways. I'm not trying to keep you from expressing yourself. In fact, I want you to. There is a difference. It's like democracy: under it, we can choose whatever we want except choosing to do away with it. Because, then, we're not about democracy.
   59. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4398290)
It's actually a reference to howard dean...a pirate would be more like arrgghhhhh!!!! And I'm offended by your rampant pirataphobia.
   60. Publius Publicola Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4398291)
Tarantino movies use everything gratuitously.


Boy howdy.
   61. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4398296)
It's actually a reference to howard dean...a pirate would be more like arrgghhhhh!!!! And I'm offended by your rampant pirataphobia.

Howard Dean is a pirate? But Vermont is landlocked!
   62. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4398305)
I guess he has pirate blood in him:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5FzCeV0ZFc
   63. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4398313)
The Italian American players on the Yankees in Joe Dimaggio's era used to call each other "Dago" with a fair amount of regularity, but I don't think that the non-Italian American players would have taken that as a cue that they could start addressing them in the same way. The distinction between Bad Words that people use among their own group and the same words used by outsiders against them is so obvious that it should hardly need to be explained, whether you approve of the former practice or not.

Which continues to be entirely beside the point. The worry isn't about people saying the word, the worry is about people -- many/most of whom aren't part of the group saying it -- hearing the word. In other words, when Jay-Z calls someone a "nigga," there can be no assurance that the cracker listener is hearing it in its intended form. Since the word was reborn in public discourse and culture, there have been literally millions of these potentially bad hearings.

The Yankees in Joe D's day were regularly hearing Italians slurred with the word "Dago." The speaker's "authorization" to use the word is irrelevant.
   64. formerly dp Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4398331)
Thought I'd link to Lamb's most recent book on desegregation, Conspiracy of Silence, in case anyone's interested.
   65. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4398341)
The Italian American players on the Yankees in Joe Dimaggio's era used to call each other "Dago" with a fair amount of regularity, but I don't think that the non-Italian American players would have taken that as a cue that they could start addressing them in the same way. The distinction between Bad Words that people use among their own group and the same words used by outsiders against them is so obvious that it should hardly need to be explained, whether you approve of the former practice or not.

Which continues to be entirely beside the point. The worry isn't about people saying the word, the worry is about people -- many/most of whom aren't part of the group saying it -- hearing the word.


Now that's a "PC" justification for speech suppression, even if it's offered with good intentions.

In other words, when Jay-Z calls someone a "nigga," there can be no assurance that the cracker listener is hearing it in its intended form. Since the word was reborn in public discourse and culture, there have been literally millions of these potentially bad hearings.

What of it? Make your own judgment about this type of usage, and if it truly offends you, buy yourself a pair of earplugs.

The Yankees in Joe D's day were regularly hearing Italians slurred with the word "Dago." The speaker's "authorization" to use the word is irrelevant.

It's not a lack of "authorization" I was getting at in that Dimaggio era reference. It was more like not wanting to get your lights punched out.
   66. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4398346)
What of it? Make your own judgment about this type of usage, and if it truly offends you, buy yourself a pair of earplugs.

I already have, and support free speech and free artistic expression. Accordingly, the concept of "authorized" and "unauthorized" speakers is anathema.

Thus, it isn't that Harrison Ford gets to make 42 the way he wants to, because after all Jay-Z uses the n-word in his works; it's that Harrison Ford gets to make 42 the way he wants to, period.
   67. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4398350)
it isn't that Harrison Ford gets to make 42 the way he wants to, because after all Jay-Z uses the n-word in his works; it's that Harrison Ford gets to make 42 the way he wants to, period.

I completely agree, and Jay-Z's point in this case has nothing to do with it. Though to the extent that Ford sticks to Robinson's actual rookie year experience and avoids cinematic "enhancements" and "greater truths" for the sake of current "entertainment" expectations, the more credible the movie is likely to be as history.
   68. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4398358)
I already have, and support free speech and free artistic expression. Accordingly, the concept of "authorized" and "unauthorized" speakers is anathema.


Ta-Nehisi Coates has a good response to this:

A month ago I was giving a talk at a college where someone asked my why it was wrong for white people to use the word \"######\" in a friendly way. I responded, as I always do, by pointing out that the names people use depend on their relations. That I should not expect to call another man's wife "honey" by pointing out that he calls her the same thing. That my wife and her friends use the word \"#####\" between them, but that is not a name I should expect (or want) to employ. That whatever they say, I have no desire to address my gay friends as queer. If you respect the humanity of black people, then you respect that they get to do what other humans do--ironically employ epithets in a communal way.
   69. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4398366)
Ta-Nehisi Coates has a good response to this:

It's a "good response," just not to "this." No one's talking about Harrison's Ford's "rights" with respect to directly addressing other people.
   70. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4398368)
Man, i played that ATCQ album constantly as a young man. (Um, like a few million other kids.)

No one (well, very few) people think that you shouldn't be -allowed- to use certain words. That does not preclude you for being criticized for doing so.
Coates nails it here, I think.

For that matter, I presume that I'm not the only person who self-censors when singing/rapping along with music... if the greatest "racial injustice" I suffer is not being able to fully recite Tha Carter III, that's not so bad.

Having said this, I imagine 42 is an entirely valid place to use slurs - given the nature of the story. Verisimilitude matters.

I'm quite curious as to what the future of this word will be. I've heard suggestions that it will die away - others think that it would be completely recontextualized and become commonplace, race independent slang. I doubt either of those scenarios will come to pass...
   71. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4398370)
others think that it would be completely recontextualized and become commonplace, race independent slang.

That's pretty much what's already happened.
   72. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4398371)
I don't think we're there yet - or we wouldn't be having this conversation.
   73. Blastin Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4398373)
We're definitely not there yet.
   74. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4398374)
Imagine the reaction when the historically accurate Lenny Dykstra biopic "4" comes out.
   75. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4398389)
Elvis Costello used the term "white n##ger" (*) in Oliver's Army, 35 years ago.

(*) To describe the doomed and exploited cannon fodder in Britain's imperial wars and engagements: "Only takes one itchy trigger // One more widow, one less white _________."
   76. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4398392)
Thankfully, EC has zero history of using that word inappropriately...
   77. rr Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4398399)
I doubt either of those scenarios will come to pass...


At least not for a couple of more generations, IMO, given the long history of the word.


You don't want me to discuss certain things certain ways.


One of the reasons you bring this repeatedly into these discussions is that you don't appear to get the differences between free speech rights and being called an asshat who is full of shitt, as Shooty more or less pointed out, and you also don't seem to be able to apply the ideas of context, time, audience, and place to various types of utterances, particularly if these utterances are tied to issues that are personal emotional hot buttons for you. The Coates quote in 68 is a good example of a better way to look at the issue.
   78. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4398400)
The Avengers had a song called White N---r around the same time, but I suppose their profile was rather lower than Costello's.
   79. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4398402)
Elvis Costello used the term "white n##ger" (*) in Oliver's Army, 35 years ago.


A historical reference to historical epithets about the Irish.
   80. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4398403)
I'm quite curious as to what the future of this word will be. I've heard suggestions that it will die away - others think that it would be completely recontextualized and become commonplace, race independent slang. I doubt either of those scenarios will come to pass...


Why not? Steven Pinker makes the incontestable (to me) point that it isn't the word, it's the feeling. Even if you could magically eradicate the word, as long as the feeling exists, a word will be found, and it will be taken vehement exception to.

And ###### didn't always mean what it does today.

I know someone who I introduced to P. G. Wodehouse (which I'm always ready to do). He loved him, but for some reason he read other of the Jeeves/Wooster books before he got around to the first novel, Thank You, Jeeves. Published 1934. In that novel, Bertie and Jeeves are estranged because Bertie has taken up the incessant playing of the banjole (whatever that is), and Bertie moves to a cottage in the country. He learns of a nearby group of \"###### minstrels" (Bertie's term), and wants to meet them in hopes that they'll give him some tips. He admires the \"###### minstrels", speaks glowing of them, and the word \"######\" in 1934 in England did not mean what it did in America, yet my friend the reader couldn't take it. Not only didn't he finish the novel, he never read another word of Wodehouse's. See Amazon and the comments on the novel for similar sentiments.

I have to admit that overreactions like that just boggle my mind (as does the candyass nanny that won't countenance the use of the word). It goes a long way toward explaining how we revising history according to our precious sensibilities.
   81. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4398406)
One of the reasons you bring this repeatedly into these discussions is that you don't appear to get the differences between free speech rights and being called an asshat who is full of shitt, as Shooty more or less pointed out, and you also don't seem to be able to apply the ideas of context, time, audience, and place to various types of utterances, particularly if these utterances are tied to issues that are personal emotional hot buttons for you.


There are no meritorious differences as to debate and serious discourse--it's not a respectable position to hold in debate. And the reason you pull this out of your, er, sleeve is that you don't want to discuss anything except within your parameters, which is because you have nothing else. Which means you have nothing. #### that.
   82. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4398409)
There are no meritorious differences as to debate and serious discourse--it's not a respectable position to hold in debate.

What's an example of a usage in serious discourse that you feel would be prohibited or at least frowned upon?
   83. formerly dp Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4398414)
a word will be found,
Denny's decided on "Canadian" for a while. Didn't work out well for them once someone figured out the code.
   84. formerly dp Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4398419)
One of the reasons you bring this repeatedly into these discussions is that you don't appear to get the differences between free speech rights and being called an asshat who is full of shitt
IOW, Morty's mommy and daddy never taught him the difference between "can" and "should."
   85. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4398421)
"You sounded a lot ... taller ... on the radio."
   86. rr Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4398422)
sleeve is that you don't want to discuss anything except within your parameters,


What do you think my "parameters" are, Morty? Where have I specified them, and in what way do they suppress your ability to express your opinions?

I also note that you didn't touch the part about your personal emotional hot buttons. Very telling, as you like to say.
   87. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4398427)
Verisimilitude matters

You definitely need to add that to your handle
   88. Greg K Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4398432)
Verisimilitude matters

You definitely need to add that to your handle

Is that like Natitude?
   89. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4398434)
80/Morty: I don't get how the vast majority of people would stop read Wodehouse or Twain or whomever because they encountered a now taboo word.
I totally get why websites employ web nannies to scrub those same words 80+ years later in a setting where the webmasters have far less control over the context in which those words are used.

Is that like Natitude?

So long as it's not raditude.
   90. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4398435)
So long as it's not raditude.

Even if we rasta it up another 10%
   91. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4398441)
Even if we rasta it up another 10%

That would leave it at zero.
   92. Manny Coon Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4398448)
Ha! I'm just being facetious, of course. I think there are a few white guys out there cool enough to get away with saying the word in mixed company.


I think mostly only white people were upset when Gwyneth Paltrow made the Niggas in Paris comment last year.
   93. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4398449)

I have to admit that overreactions like that just boggle my mind (as does the candyass nanny that won't countenance the use of the word). It goes a long way toward explaining how we revising history according to our precious sensibilities.


Bowdlerization has been going on since the 19th century (Bowdler himself died in 1825). In fact, it's hard to even find an un-bowdlerized version of any classic novel, not because of PC run amok, but because of the actions of editors in the 1890s who created mass-market editions that have been reprinted over and over.
   94. Greg K Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4398454)
I think mostly only white people were upset when Gwyneth Paltrow made the Niggas in Paris comment last year.

I must have missed this. I'd ask what this incident was all about, but I suppose if I really cared I'd google it. [EDIT: which I just did!]

Really, I was just taking this opportunity to link to Gwyneth rapping "Straight Outta Compton", which is always a welcome sight in my books.
   95. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4398455)
.
   96. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4398464)
Why not? Steven Pinker makes the incontestable (to me) point that it isn't the word, it's the feeling. Even if you could magically eradicate the word, as long as the feeling exists, a word will be found, and it will be taken vehement exception to.

Pinker would probably also make the point that the increased focus on politically correct language is evidence of our increasing levels of empathy, and that in turn has led to a decrease in violence.
   97. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4398474)
More episodes in the long-running story of White People Being White:

When Katy Perry covered “Niggas in Paris” during a BBC television performance in March, she replaced the word nigga, which appears several times in the verses, with ninja.

-- Slate, on the Paltrow contretemps.
   98. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4398502)
[97] I know quite a few black people who use ninja. I can't stand it. Either say it or don't.
   99. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4398562)
Ninja please.

The nigga/###### discussion is one of my BBTF favorites.
EDIT: I can't say ###### on here?
EDIT 2: Guess even the nanny draws a distinction.


The nanny is a well-known nigga lover.
   100. OsunaSakata Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4398566)
Gwyneth Paltrow rapping is nothing next to an original rap by Brian Wilson. No, I'm not talking about the heavily bearded reliever.
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