Lynching redux

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Tue Aug 2 18:59:51 UTC 2005

On Aug 2, 2005, at 1:54 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Lynching redux
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> --------
>>> Thomas called it a "high-tech lynching".  I wouldn't agree he
>>>  was justified in the usage, which I considered to be an
>>>  insult to the memory of all those who were actually lynched
>>>  in the usual low-tech way.
>> Do you make the general assertion that if a figurative usage is of
>> less
>> significance than the literal usage, it demeans the literal usage?
> Not particularly.  I don't disapprove of metaphor or figurative
> language and have even been known to use it on occasion.  What I
> didn't like was Clarence Thomas using the phrase to deliberately and
> misleadingly bring in racism as a motive for objecting to his
> nomination, and for that matter to accuse his questioners of being
> unfair, which (as I watched the proceedings) I don't think they were.

What frosts my balls (as so often spake the police-commissioner
character on Hill Street Blues) is that practically the entirety of
Black America seemed to go for the okey-doke, with respect to that
claim, They reacted as though, in the whole of the American judiciary,
there was only one black person, Clarence Thomas, with the
qualifications to be a justice of the Supreme Court and we all had to
back his play, whereas that ignunt-assed black bitch, Anita Hill, for
some unfathomable reason, was doing The Man's work in tri-nuh brang the
bruthuh down. It was long after he had become a justice that blacks
woke up and turned against The Yard Jockey of the Republican Right,
when it was much too late. Personally, I thought that the fact that he
was a fallen-away Catholic who had divorced a black woman to marry a
white woman would have been enough to derail him. But even The One True
Faith - I write facetiously - backed his play because he followed
Catholic theology in accepting the claim that an egg becomes a full
human being at the instant of its fertilization. [Damn! This is way off
topic! But y'all a give a bruthuh a break, right!]


> If Anita Hill had accused her enemies (in particular the senator who
> claimed she was "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty", not to
> mention that guy Brock who wrote the hatchet book (_The Real Anita
> Hill_, or something like that) attempting to destroy her and then
> recanted afterward, of a high-tech lynching I wouldn't have batted an
> eye.  But of course she never would have done so.
> Larry
>> If I say, "Laurence, you're killing me with your posts," have I
>> insulted
>> people who have really been killed?
>> If the Sierra Club says that the Bush administration is raping the
>> environment, what about people who've really been raped?  Have they
>> got
>> a legitimate beef with the Sierra Club?
>> I don't know exactly where I stand on this, I'm just asking you to
>> expand on your opinion.

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