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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yglesias Uses Bigoted Slur To Object To Bigotry

Matthew Yglesias is one of the best-known left-wing bloggers who does not hesitate to attack anyone he considers to be bigoted (under very expansive and political definitions). Yglesias blogs at Think Progress, a blog run by the Center for American Progress. Think Progress, much like Media Matters (also started by CAP), scours the internet seeking to find a Republican or conservative who has said a word or phrase which could be construed as or twisted into an insult to some group.

Yet Yglesias resorted to bigoted language in talking about whether Republicans would object to a homosexual nominee to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. Republican Senator John Thune said that nominating someone who was openly gay to the Supreme Court "would be a bridge too far right now." Yglesias called this comment "old-fashioned, un-subtle bigotry."

In that very same post, however, Yglesias referred to a possible heterosexual nominee as a "breeder," which is a derogatory term for heterosexuals. Using that term is the equivalent of calling a homosexual a "fag." Sounds like new-fashioned, un-subtle bigotry. I can't wait to see the Media Matters' press release.

The very same day that Yglesias resorted to a bigoted slur, Yglesias separately attacked Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, minority leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for allegedly making racist comments over 20 years ago. Sessions' two-decades-old offense was attempting to make a joke that he thought the KKK was "OK" until he found out that some of them were "pot smokers," and for describing the NAACP and ACLU as "un-American" and "communist inspired." Sessions claimed the remarks were taken out of context, but Yglesias rejected any such possibility, asking rhetorically, "And on the second [hand] what was the context." (Italics in original.)

So, what was the context of Yglesias using the term "breeder"? Perhaps it's time Yglesias and Think Progress practiced what they preach.

UPDATE: The dog-whistle must have sounded, because the left-wing blogs are in full-throttled attack mode on Jeff Sessions, following the Think Progress theme of "racial insensitivity."

UPDATE No. 2: In a response to this post, Yglesias states that I am humorless, and that he falsely was accused of "anti-straight bigotry," which is not possible since he is a "hetero-American." He misses the point (or avoids it, take your pick). He was accused of using a bigoted word (which he now uses as the title of his response post), which in and of itself would be the sort of thing frequently used by liberals to get people they don't like fired (e.g., Don Imus). Whether he is a bigot or not is irrelevant to the point, as it was to Don Imus.

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  1. Dunno, i am pretty proud to be a breeder. i honestly think this new insult just makes the insulter look stupid.

  2. Ha ha! Good one Dr. Jacobson!

    I see you are once again parodying the stupidity of the right-wing idiots who refuse to see actual issues such as the clear bigotry of Senator Thune, while focusing on trivialities like Dijon Mustard or the use of the term "breeder".


    You have nailed the wingnuts once again! Well done!

  3. Yeah...the real problem is all the bigotry committed by gay people using their hateful slurs. Pretty soon straight children won't feel safe in school for fear of having "breeder" spraypainted on their locker by gay bullies.

    Yglesias calls out a very real example of bigotry--an elected official suggesting that a person's identity, legally recognized as protected class in many instances, might disqualify them from a public position--and you think his joking use of an obscure slur of the oppressed group is somehow equivalent? I'm sure some lame gays have actually used this as a derogatory term at some point, but it has about zero harmful social value beyond maybe the hurt feelings of some REALLY sensitive straight people.

  4. Dennis I would have to dispute that. Perez is an extremist for them (though we can't tell sometimes) but I believe Camille Paglia would be a respectful and excellent Judge.

  5. Alex, why don't the leftnuts ever quote the entire conversation? Because it was out of context. Why was it out of context? Because the original report of his words were -GASP!- TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT. You don't quote a single word, put in a sentence, then finish the quote with three other words if you have the entire damn sentence to work with. Basic journalism, kiddo.

  6. Jordan, is there a longer quote beyond the version from the Hill report that Yglesias quoted in its entirety?

    **“I know the administration is being pushed, but I think it would be a bridge too far right now,” said GOP Chief Deputy Whip John Thune. “It seems to me this first pick is going to be a kind of important one, and my hope is that he'll play it a little more down the middle. A lot of people would react very negatively.”**

    Seems to me Thune's message here is pretty clear: that someone's sexual orientation, not their public views or qualifications for the job, should make people think twice before putting them on the bench. What is the additional context that changes that, or how do you read it differently?

  7. I'd seriously dispute that "breeder" is currently a slur, if it ever was a slur. Especially after the ever-so-great Breeders took it up as their band name, it's more used a a term of endearment, or at most it's a way of joshing someone in a playful way, like calling someone a hipster, or like calling you "grandpa," as in the usage, "'Breeder' is a slur? Uh, okay grandpa."

  8. Miss equivalizing is all the rage among the loony. If you really think that a straight man using the word "breeder" is akin to a straight man using the word "fag", then you have some serious issues to work out.

  9. Per your update, I had no idea that Don Imus was a black woman and therefore it should have been OK for him to use the phrase "Nappy Headed Hos."

    Thanks for your insight and clarity. French's mustard forever!

  10. You guys are so obsessed with being accused of bigotry that you don't even pay attention to actual bigotry. It does exist, but you act like white guys getting called bigots is worse than the actual bigotry.

    Anybody who gets offended by "breeder" is a moron anyway. You poor poor wealthy hetero white people. It's all just so stacked against you.


  11. I have never heard "Breeder" used without a heavy does of irony. I have also never heard "Breeder" used in an attempt to upset a heterosexual. This is what makes "Breeder" so different from actually bigoted slurs. Please work harder next time you want to generate faux outrage.

  12. I feel really sorry for conservative white men. It must be hard being so vulnerable as to be hurt by such tiny, tiny slights.

    Black people and gays are generally tough enough to brush off much worse insults on a daily basis.

  13. Wow. How little do you have to understand about the way systems of widespread prejudice operate in order to construe "breeder" as a slur on par with "fag"?

  14. And Yglesias's second post title is a direct reference to the band the Breeders. It was pretty much just an excuse to post a video of "Cannonball." I guess you didn't read all the way through, or perhaps you missed the band back in the 90s?

  15. Mr. Yglesias is frequently ironic and/or sarcastic in his writing. His use of "breeder" is no different than AA's being self-referential with "reggin", although former has considerably less bite than the latter.

  16. Is this site a parody? I was here the other day for the dijon story. I honestly can't tell. If it is a parody, then my hats off to you. Nicely done. If it's not, then I'm really disturbed that Columbia Law School has you as a law prof. You're like the poor man's John Yoo.

  17. This is unbelievable. You think "breeder" is a serious slur that is even faintly equivalent to Imus's offenses (or, more specifically, "fag")? I've never heard it as anything other than a joke.

    I'm not sure which possibility is worse: that you're actually deranged and out-of-touch enough to believe this, or that you're desperate to level opportunistic charges of "bigotry" even when it's obvious that they're inane.

  18. Wow, as a hetero-sexual I think I might never truly recover rom the trauma of being called a breeder by fellow-hetero Yglesias. I think it probably stings just about the same as for that gay kid in high school who took all sorts of abuse.

  19. You must have a lot of insensitive gay friends who don't shy away at all from calling you names based on your abnormal, unusual character traits - ya know, being straight. I just can't believe you've been able to put up so long with the anti-straight bigotry being thrown out there by all those teh gays. It's just infuriating.

  20. Hey guess what... it doesn't really matter what color your skin is, what your sex is or what your sexual preference is. The liberals wish to imprison us with their silly, hypocritical rules, letting us know who can and cannot say certain words and phrases. They can all suck it, since I say what I like, and am not bound by their petty mores.

  21. First of all, "breeder" is in no way whatsoever on a par with "fag". It's almost like you think there is some bizarro universe (the San Francisco of your imagination, perhaps) where gay bullies scrawl "breeder" on some poor misunderstood straight kid's locker and beat him up after school. Do you know even one gay person? If so, I double-dare you to go up to that person and ask him what he thinks of your breeder=fag theory, and report back what he says on your blog. That would be interesting.

    Second, and more importantly: Matt Yglesias is straight. That means he gets to use all the anti-straight slurs he wants (such as they are). Don't you know this basic rule? Or do you think that Jackie Mason is a huge anti-semite for making fun of Jews, and Snoop Dogg is racist because he says the n-word every two seconds?

    In any case, it's this second point that logically separates the Yglesias case from, say, the Imus case: even if we grant that "breeder" is a legitimately bigoted term, Yglesias is a member of the group he is supposedly denegrating; the same cannot be said for Imus.

  22. Going by the title of the post, it appears that we at least agree that Thune is a bigot.

  23. Let's not allow "breeder" to be turned into a term of bigotry.

    All breeders stand up and be proud (and hope the teenagers move out of the house soon.)