Lynching redux

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Aug 2 19:15:10 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
>>>>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
>>>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

Well, there was Thurgood Marshall of sainted memory (and I don't
intend that figuratively)...
(And if a Yalie was required, Drew Days III would have been a pretty
nifty choice.  Too bad Clinton evidently didn't agree; not much hope
that a Bush would have seen fit to appoint him.)


>  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.
>>>If I say, "Laurence, you're killing me with your posts," have I
>>>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
>>>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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