the perils of accidental blending

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Mar 24 04:32:27 UTC 2006

St. Louis sports radio host Dave Lenihan got fired yesterday for using
the word "coon" while discussing the possibility of Condoleezza Rice
becoming NFL commissioner. But given the context, it seems he
accidentally blended "coup" and "boon":

"She's been chancellor at Stanford. I mean she's just got the patent
resume of somebody that's got some serious skill. She loves football.
She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon ... A big
coon? Oh my god. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally
sorry for that. OK? I didn't mean that. That was just a slip of the

Full story, with audio link, here:

Bloggers are arguing quite a bit about whether the firing was justified...

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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