moral equivocation

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Dec 22 21:30:05 UTC 2005

>From a article about backlash towards Steven Spielberg's "Munich":

Joshua Neuman, editor of HEEB magazine, says although he hasn't seen
the movie, he feels caught in the middle of the debates.
"Jews need to chill out, basically, because they're treating Spielberg
as if he's the new Bobby Fischer," he says, referring to the ex-chess
champ who has publicly attacked Israel. "The big buzz word is moral
equivocation, and that's idiotic. The Jewish community likes to put
everything into these two neat categories, 'good for the Jews' and
'bad for the Jews.'"

Is "moral equivocation" a simple malaprop for "moral
equivalence/equivalency"? ("Moral equivalency" is used by another
commentator elsewhere in the FOX article.) Or has it moved into
eggcorn territory, with the suggestion of hedging or evasiveness over
moral issues?

11,100 Ghits for "moral equivocation", as opposed to 267,000 for
"equivalence" and 97,100 for "equivalency". Hmm, one of the hits is
for a quote from Bill Bennett about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
"The time for moral equivocation and moral equivalence should be

--Ben Zimmer

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