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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, June 24, 2002
10:53 PM

From ombudsman Michael Getler's Sunday column:

Some readers were angered by the lede on a Post story from Mexico Tuesday after that soccer-steeped nation suffered a humiliating 2-0 loss to the U.S. team at the World Cup. "The gringos have done it again," read the first sentence. Callers said this was derogatory and racist. Well, yes, and no. It can be those things. But this seemed more of a frustrated lament meant to capture the widely used language of a stunned population.

This shows nothing more than the common liberal understanding of the Scale of Ascending Invective. Depending on where you rank on the oppression scale, you have permission to hurl away. Foreigners can insult Americans, blacks can insult whites, women can insult men, but then the saving grace is that Americans can insult the French.

There are many other contexts in which an insult could be described--even accurately--as a "frustrated lament meant to capture the widely used language of a stunned population." Very few of them are pretty.

I blogged this on the 18th. The lede's anti-American rant goes a bit further than el gringo. e.g.:

Americans have been known as land-grabbers here since the 1840s, when they acquired half of Mexico's territory -- at rifle-point.

We're just bad people.

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