Think Progress hugs the tar baby

Sure, they know what Tony Snow meant. But what would you idiots do if they weren’t around to explain it to you? And what’s with the name “Snow,” anyway?

Jeff Goldstein has details, and muses:

TP’s argument seems to be that it doesn’t much matter what Snow meant by the term (given the context, it is certainly just as appropriate to allude to Robert Anton Wilson’s “Tar- Baby Principle”– which posits that one is attached to what one attacks”—as it is to allude to Joel Chandler Harris’ “Uncle Remus” tales, though it doesn’t much matter which you choose). Instead, because his words have been used “occasionally as a derogatory term for black people”—and because “some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context” (presumably, the same kind of people who are affecting outrage here)1—TP is arguing that the expression should be off-limits to people like Snow, using as a justification for this (incoherent) linguistic argument the possibility that someone somewhere (and it bears noting, this hypothetical “someone” is necessarily being posited as one who is less astute then the good folks at Think Progress, who had no problem whatsoever understanding Snow’s intent), might misinterpret Snow’s remarks. In short, they are using as a justification for demonizing his speech the possibility that someone, somewhere, might either 1) misinterpret Snow’s meaning, believing him to have intended to use the phrase as a racial slur; or 2) misinterpret Snow’s meaning, because they believe that, regardless of what he may or may not have intended, the words themselves carry with them the necessary social taint of racism.

Me, I’m just glad TP is out there policing for this stuff. Based on the sort of e-mails my “chink”/“gook”/“slope” boss tends to attract from progressives, we need all the help we can get.

Spruiell has been following this story too and shows that it’s not just the likes of Think Progress that’s been flinging this crap. Although, admittedly, “the likes of Think Progress” is a pretty big circle on the media Venn diagram these days. And getting bigger by the moment.