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Slips of the tongue injurious
March 30, 2006 4:13 AM   Subscribe

Slips of the tongue are usually a result of the sound structure of an utterance. For example, saying 'Martin Luther Koong Junior', where the vowel in 'Koong' might be taken from either of the two flanking words. Freudian slips are much rarer. Why then, are these two people losing their jobs? [More inside]
posted by fcummins (78 comments total)

 
Robin Lickley of Queen Margaret University College points out "In brief, on 23 March 2006, speaking enthusiastically about Condoleeza Rice, talk show host David Lenihan said:
"She's got the patent resumé of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football, she's African-American, which would be kind of a big coon. A big coon. Oh my God - I am totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that. I didn't mean that. That was just a slip of the tongue"

Lenihan said later that he meant to say 'coup'. It's quite possible that he was accessing the words 'coup' and 'boon'.
It's also possible that the [k]_[n] sequence repeated in 'African', 'American' and 'kind of' primed the production of the [n] in the offending word.....

Anyway, 20 minutes later he was sacked. Apparently his day job as an academic is now also in danger.

And in January 15 2005, Rob Blair, a Las Vegas TV weatherman said:
"Martin Luther koo King Junior day".

In my mind, this is a typical anticipation error (from 'Junior'), with a possibility that the stressed vowel in 'Luther' also had an impact in the tongue twister effect.

Despite the fact that he never even reached the crucial nasal, which could have been 'going to be' velar or alveolar - who knows - he too was swiftly sacked for a 'racial slur'.

The reports that I have seen of this case state that Rob Blair said the word 'coon'. The actual recording suggests otherwise. I wonder if there's also a genuine slip of the ear here."
posted by fcummins at 4:14 AM on March 30, 2006


Here's an even more outrageous example - a (white) member of (black) DC Mayor Anthony Williams' staff was forced to resign after using the word niggardly in a private meeting.

I like the following quote that was lifted from the NY Post on the topic:

"NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond opined that the precipitous acceptance of Howard's resignation was 'niggardly' on Williams' part."
posted by kcds at 4:33 AM on March 30, 2006


In passing: any and all slips of the tongue oare (or wre) considered "Freudian," and not just those that seemed "significant."
posted by Postroad at 4:35 AM on March 30, 2006


They are being fired because they are paid exactly not to make slips of the tongue. They failed to do their jobs. (The 'niggardly' case is as a different and unrelated matter--it is a legitimate, non-racist word.)
posted by LarryC at 4:46 AM on March 30, 2006


Like the paediatrician whose house was attacked for being a paedophile this sort of thing says more about the mental capacity of those who object than it does about the person making the utterance.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4719364.stm
posted by ibanda at 4:48 AM on March 30, 2006


LarryC, I respectfully disagree. If the slips had been in any other direction than an untoward reference to race, there wouldn't be an issue. If, as an example, someone says "truck" and meant to say "trick" - or vice versa - would that be grounds for termination or censure?

Nope, they're being fired because fear that profits will be devastated when the inevitable "PC" movement hits, demanding their heads on a pike, and destroying the profit margins of said media outlets.

This is about political correctness run amok and it's a shame and ibanda has it dead on.
posted by disclaimer at 4:59 AM on March 30, 2006


"Robin Lickley of Queen Margaret University College points out..." - where? It's not in the links.
"The reports that I have seen of this case state that Rob Blair said the word 'coon'. The actual recording suggests otherwise." - got a link to the actual recording of Blair?

You can hear the clip of Lenihan at 1 minute 15 seconds into this clip at NPR (MP3 file) (part of this podcast). And you can see here that the local NAACP is trying to get him re-hired.

About David Howard having to resign because of the "niggardly" comment - I remember that. I'd guess other members of Williams' staff didn't like him, and blew things out of proportion, because he was the type of guy who would use the word niggardly (and not see why people unfamiliar with the word would be taken aback). Williams should've refused to accept his resignation.

(BTW, fcummins - you post your first 3 comments to Metafilter within 6 minutes of each other so you can make a front-page post 17 minutes later? C'mon, guy...)
posted by mistersix at 5:00 AM on March 30, 2006


They are being fired because they are paid exactly not to make slips of the tongue.

If you think livelihoods need to be destroyed because of a momentary brain spazm... well fuck that shit. Maybe you should be told to clean out your desk next time you miss the toilet bowl in the office bathroom. Possession is nine tenths of the law, and intention is nine tenths of social interaction.
posted by Jimbob at 5:02 AM on March 30, 2006


previously
posted by NinjaPirate at 5:03 AM on March 30, 2006


Who says "coon" anymore? Besides Forrest Gump, I mean.
posted by ColdChef at 5:30 AM on March 30, 2006


mistersix, I did indeed post comments in order to be allowed an FPP. I did so at the invitation of Matt Haughey. I have been a member for months, and a reader for years. I'm just not vocal. So whats your point?

Robin's informative tract was made in a professional mailing list. I wanted to give appropriate attribution, not pretend I had made the connection here. Enough ad hominem, please.
posted by fcummins at 5:30 AM on March 30, 2006


Freudian slips are overdetermined, as are most things in Freud. In other words, a Freudian slip is not something that occurs in the absence of some other explanation, such as the linguistic one offered here, it's a slip (or parapraxis in the unfortunate translations of Jones and Strachey) which reveals more about the speakers psyche than intended regardless of it's proximate cause. These are perfect examples of Freudian slips, as is, arguably, the use of the word niggardly, nor do they need to reveal that the speaker in question is racist, they may instead simply reveal an anxiety about race or racism (or even professional competence as suggested by LarryC).
posted by OmieWise at 5:32 AM on March 30, 2006


he was the type of guy who would use the word niggardly (and not see why people unfamiliar with the word would be taken aback)

I agree that anybody is courting trouble if they begin an intentional pattern of provocative phrasings. And maybe that is the case with Howard. But reactionary outrage over the word "niggardly" is just lazy and intellectually shallow. People unfamiliar with a word they hear should go look it up.

A close colleague of mine told me he once instinctively stopped himself from dictating the (fairly common) legal term "renig" to a new African-American legal assistant. Of course she should know what it meant, and she probably did, but the risk to him seemed way too high if she didn't.
posted by applemeat at 5:37 AM on March 30, 2006


Would this also qualify as "political correctness gone mad" and "PC hell?"

I definitely disagree with this guy's being fired, as I'm sure do most people - in fact, I wonder who, if anyone, would ever have actually raised an objection to his mistake? Has "political correctness" become a disembodied chimera, always fearfully fled without ever actually revealing itself long enough to strike?
posted by Drexen at 5:38 AM on March 30, 2006


Although I also think that the rationale for these kinds of slips misses the obverse, which is that people do talk about "Martin Luther Coon" precisely because of the similarity in vowel sounds. That similarity doesn't just lead to unintentional slips, it leads to intentional and mocking alliteration and assonance. This is akin to the traditional morphing of kids names that is the bane of the early years of many many people. I have no idea why any of these people said what they said, but in the absence of other evidence the innocent explanation is no more likely, and given the casual use of racial epithets I've heard in my own life (especially directed toward successful people of color), arguably less likely, than the pernicious one.
posted by OmieWise at 5:40 AM on March 30, 2006


These are perfect examples of Freudian slips, With respect, OmieWise, there is no evidence that these reveal anything other than the vararies of phonological priming. Any linguist worth their salt would reject out of hand an overzealous interpretation of these as revealing anything about the mind of the speaker. It is reminiscent of Victorians covering up the legs of tables: a form of dirty mind that sees threats everywhere.
posted by fcummins at 5:42 AM on March 30, 2006


On R'ingTFA: apparently it was a self-inflicted PC nightmare on the part of the KTRS general manager, one Tim Dorsey: "Dave Lenihan has been let go ... there is enough hate. We certainly are not going to fan those flames. That is not what we're about."
posted by Drexen at 5:44 AM on March 30, 2006


fcummins writes "With respect, OmieWise, there is no evidence that these reveal anything other than the vararies of phonological priming. Any linguist worth their salt would reject out of hand an overzealous interpretation of these as revealing anything about the mind of the speaker." Well, that's a different argument. I see plenty of evidence for Freudian slips all of the time, and, as I pointed out above, that evidence does not contradict the linguistic stance about what's going on. The fact is, most of the time we speak well without making too many mistakes. Even when speaking quickly, or in heated situations. As I said, the question which a Freudian slip raises is not "are there other good explanations for this," it's "why this mistake at this time?" The answer, as I also indicated, is really not for us to speculate on, because we don't have enough information to do so.
posted by OmieWise at 5:53 AM on March 30, 2006


fcummins writes "It is reminiscent of Victorians covering up the legs of tables: a form of dirty mind that sees threats everywhere."

Sorry, just to come back to this. Your contention is true only if you see thought as dirty, or as evidence of guilt. That may be your view, or, indeed, the popular view, but it isn't how Freud described slips working. Freudian slips simply suggest that mental life is frequently concerned with more than one thing at a time, and those things sometimes reveal themselves when speaking about something else. That's it, that's all. There's no implied witchhunt behind the theory, and no a priori value attached to either the intended speech or the slip. As I indicated above, the slips in this case could as easily be because the people in question were trying not to make the mistakes that they made for perfectly honorable reasons.
posted by OmieWise at 5:59 AM on March 30, 2006


OmieWise, if there is a parsimonious explanation, and there is, it should be preferred. These slips appear entirely reasonable given the phonological context. There is no need to appeal to semantics. As ColdChef points out, even if these people were primed to produce racist epithets, 'coon' is an unlikely one. If however, one is convinced the world is full of racists, as the Victorians felt about sexual temptation, then one will see it, whether there is evidence or not.
posted by fcummins at 6:06 AM on March 30, 2006


Fcuumins is right about the science. Slips of the tongue are best (most of the variability) explained by linguistic principles not unconscious substitutions of words based on repressed emotions. This does NOT mean that unconscious substitutions of words based on repressed emotions (Freudian slips) don't occur - it simply means that the likelihood of such an explanation is very low. That Robin may lose his academic position over this is outrageous.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:07 AM on March 30, 2006


Who says "coon" anymore? Besides Forrest Gump, I mean.

I thought the same thing, but a friend at work who loved down south assured me that there are sections where the slur is still in use.
posted by illovich at 6:13 AM on March 30, 2006


Who says "coon" anymore? Besides Forrest Gump, I mean.

Well, a possible derivative is still in use. Hell, you probably know more people than I do who proudly call themselves this.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:18 AM on March 30, 2006


I agree with fcummins. Unintentional vowel harmonization like this is not uncommon and is a much more plausible cause of these utterances than deliberate racism.
posted by darkstar at 6:22 AM on March 30, 2006


Of course I agree that neither of these people should lose their jobs. Although I find unpersuasive the "no one uses coon" argument about the MLK day incident because I've heard people refer to MLK as Martin Luther Coon. Regretable but true.

My point about Freudian slips is precisely that they are an explanation in addition to the linguistic one. Not that they trump it, not that they are the simplest or the most explanatory, and certainly not that they can be used to draw any conclusions about the people involved in these incidents. I think we're talking about two different things, fcummins, or that there are two parallel threads here.

On the one hand, I agree completely that it's ridiculous for these folks to be fired, especially in the face of the linguistic explanations that suggest that these might have been innocent utterances. On the other hand, these were mistakes that had the power to get these guys fired, indicating that there is a lot of anxiety about these kinds of things (not from me) in the industry, in our society, maybe in these guys minds. I cannot imagine an adequate explanatory framework, except one promulgated by a computer, which would dispense with the obvious and evident (negative) psychological power of those statements and that anxiety without taking it into account. The linguistic explanation is fine as far as it goes, but it does little to account for the furor over these statements, and, I would submit, relying on it makes this a more confused rather than a less confused situation. Again, I'm not suggesting any specific reason for them saying what they said (although, also again, I think the MLK comment was probably rooted in a racial epithet I've heard more than once), but I am suggesting that one cannot on the one hand say that this a purely linguistic phenomenon, and on the other, account for the anxiety that it produces.
posted by OmieWise at 6:23 AM on March 30, 2006


I find it perfectly reasonable that an educated professional would put their lives at risk by taking the opportunity to insult a famous black man, in a public forum... you know, just slipping a little 'coon' in there. I'm surprised that it doesn't happen more often.

I'm pretty sure I heard Doreen Gentzler call Jim Vance an Aunt Jemima one night. But I don't think anyone else caught it.
posted by Witty at 6:24 AM on March 30, 2006


His mistake was apologizing. TV people make slip ups all the time. Just move on like nothing happened and most people will ignore it.
posted by GuyZero at 6:28 AM on March 30, 2006


"Has "political correctness" become a disembodied chimera, always fearfully fled without ever actually revealing itself long enough to strike?"

Somewhat, though there will always be those with more passion than brains who exhort from the fringes.

I've never heard Martin Luthor Coon Junior. Martin Luthor Kong Junior would make more sense to me, as was reportedly also said by the weatherman.

But yeah, the left has their authoritarians and fascists too.
posted by klangklangston at 6:35 AM on March 30, 2006


Hell, you probably know more people than I do who proudly call themselves this.

I do, in fact, know many white people who proudly self-identify as "coon-ass." Which is pretty funny. I wonder what would happen if I just called them "coon."
posted by ColdChef at 6:39 AM on March 30, 2006


If the slips had been in any other direction than an untoward reference to race, there wouldn't be an issue.

Nuh-uh. If the slips had made them say something else similarly offensive (ie, a heavy swear word like "cunt"), they'd likely have been sacked.

I likewise have heard people use "Martin Luther Coon" before. Same sorts of jackasses that call MLK Day "Nigger Day."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:47 AM on March 30, 2006


Google search for "Martin Luther Coon". Some results are about the LV weatherman, but there are many which suggest that it was commonly used as a derogatory term even in the '60s.

Again, I feel like I have to keep stressing this, I'm not suggesting that the weatherman really wanted to call MLK a "coon," or that his slip reveals some dark secret about his psyche. But given this history, the simple linguistic explanation comes to seem even more attenuated.
posted by OmieWise at 6:49 AM on March 30, 2006


Some pretty good on-air slips of the tongue here (especially number two, although none of these are about race). And the now-classic Philip Roth book on the subject.
posted by rottytooth at 6:52 AM on March 30, 2006


The linguistic explanation is not really a simple one. It is a fairly sophisticated explanation that takes account of linguistic structure and principles of articulatory planning. The point is that the linguistic explanation accounts for more of the data,
posted by bluesky43 at 6:57 AM on March 30, 2006


Anyone who hasn't speaklexic'd a few words is a DALMNIAR.
posted by HTuttle at 7:48 AM on March 30, 2006


Yet racist Gumbel walks FREE!
posted by HTuttle at 7:49 AM on March 30, 2006


to my lasting shame, i was initially one of the voices calling for the head of that lv weatherman on a platter after his incident. fortunately, cooler heads -- here on mefi, in fact -- presented some facts that helped me to see that i was overreacting.

since that time, i'm very much of the opinion that we (by which i mean blacks and liberals) need to chill, hard, about things like this. if the person keeps on making such slips, a closer look into their lives and continued employment might be warranted, but one slip up, no matter how public the forum or distniguished the person being "slurred", is no reason for sacking.

(that said, i do PC'ify my own speech: i try, for example, not to use the phrase "chinks in the armor" around asians :-/)
posted by lord_wolf at 7:50 AM on March 30, 2006


This is educational. I had no idea 'coon' was anything other than short for racoon. </naive canadian>
posted by blacklite at 7:59 AM on March 30, 2006


T Rex isn't niggardly.
posted by I Foody at 8:08 AM on March 30, 2006


Freudian slip: When you say one thing, but mean your mother.
posted by matthewr at 8:10 AM on March 30, 2006


In my opinion it doesn't help the cause of togetherness to give such unbelievable weight and power to slurs. It only serves to hide racism where we can't see it.

The problem with political correctness is that it is more concerned with people's feelings than it is about actually combatting a given issue.
posted by glenwood at 8:22 AM on March 30, 2006


"Paraprax" would make a great MeFi screen name.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:24 AM on March 30, 2006


stopped himself from dictating the (fairly common) legal term "renig" - applemeat
What's that term? Do you mean renege? If that's the word you mean, then I think he was being hypersensitive paranoid.

This is educational. I had no idea 'coon' was anything other than short for racoon. /naive canadian - blacklite
Yeah, I only learned that when MeFi first discussed the weatherman's slip. /fellow canuck
posted by raedyn at 8:25 AM on March 30, 2006


we're all doomed, aren't we?
posted by es_de_bah at 8:25 AM on March 30, 2006


How come no one ever gets fired for using that awful term "ethnic cleansing"? It makes it sound like the victims were cleaned with Windex or something.
posted by zek at 8:46 AM on March 30, 2006


This shit's the new McCarthyism, folks.
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:47 AM on March 30, 2006


we're all doomed, aren't we?

Sometimes I think there's no hope for us. Even when we're "trying to do the right thing" (political correctness), we're dumb and superficial and self-absorbed. Which brings me to:

The problem with political correctness is that it is more concerned with people's feelings than it is about actually combatting a given issue.

No, the problem is that it's not concerned with people at all, it's concerned with finding ever more recondite occasions to prove one's own superior sensitivity and moral worth. "My GOD, he said renege/niggardly/chinks in the armor! KILL HIM!" They're perfectly willing to destroy an innocent person's livelihood in the process. (And don't give me this "it's his job not to make slips" crap—I've heard many, many on-air broadcasters make slips, often apologizing for them, and nothing ever happens, as indeed it shouldn't. Nobody's perfect.)
posted by languagehat at 8:48 AM on March 30, 2006


Clinton once said "The United States is a good citizen. We don't welsh on our debts."
Amazingly, he was not fired.
Maybe he needed to spice it up a bit:
"The United States is a good citizen. We are not niggardly Indian givers who welsh on, nor try to jew down, our debts."
posted by iconjack at 8:53 AM on March 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


He didn't get fired? What a gyp.
posted by OmieWise at 8:55 AM on March 30, 2006


They tried to fire him though.
posted by I Foody at 9:01 AM on March 30, 2006


Don't touch that subject.
posted by hank at 9:15 AM on March 30, 2006


We are all so hypersensitive that people bend themselves in knots about things like "niggardly" but still say "gypped."

I taught a guest lecture to college students studying children's literature and briefly touched on avoiding stereotypes when choosing books. Afterwards a member of the class rather proudly told me she'd rejected a possible book for her preschool class because it was not "PC" and was stereotypical. It was a beautiful book about a family in a village in South Africa. The white student was sure that the images of the women carrying water on their heads and wrapped in colorful cloth were somehow harmful. And the illustration of the mother breastfeeding her baby? "I couldn't show that to kids!"

We live in strange times, man.
posted by Biblio at 9:17 AM on March 30, 2006


Those are nothing...check this out

http://youtube.com/watch?v=cQIwT4PdRa4
posted by rbf1138 at 9:18 AM on March 30, 2006


This shit's the new McCarthyism, folks.

So where's the guy with the list of 500 Freudian racists employed by the government?
posted by teece at 9:20 AM on March 30, 2006


rbf1138, did you notice the name of the newsman in the video?
Nigralli !
posted by iconjack at 9:38 AM on March 30, 2006


I just know that I'll be spending next MLK day in bed, because after reading this thread the possibility of me accidentally referring to "Martin Luther Kong/Coon Junior" is now exponentially higher than it was 10 minutes ago.

I'm heading off to do a few beer bongs to try and destroy the offending brain cells.
posted by wabashbdw at 9:55 AM on March 30, 2006


Call me weird, but Martin Luther King Junior is not exactly a tongue-twister. I have never, to my knowledge, mis-pronounced it, nor heard anyone else do so. It should make no difference that I’m not a USian unless you folks really do have a big paranoia on about race and that’s causing some of these slip-ups.

I have heard a lot of people say “sherbert” though. And they should all be fired. Out of a cannon.
posted by dreamsign at 9:58 AM on March 30, 2006


He's blind and he covered his eyes like that?
posted by emelenjr at 10:01 AM on March 30, 2006


Dr. Evil: Uh oh! Someone has some daddy issues.
Austin: Nothing could be my father from the truth.
Dr. Evil: Oop! You said "my father."
Austin: No I dadn't.
Dr. Evil: Hawoh!
Austin: Didn't! Did not!
Dr. Evil: Shebah!
Austin: For me, this is a dad issue.
Dr. Evil: Hooh!
Austin: Dead issue! Dead dad! Dead beat dad!
Dr. Evil: Oha!
Austin: Daddy didn't love meeeee!
posted by jenovus at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2006


Oh and isn't it "renege" not "renig"?
posted by Julnyes at 10:33 AM on March 30, 2006


I agree that, unfortunately, his mistake was apologising. I doubt it would've been a sacking offense if he hadn't sounded so contrite. Though I'm glad that there's far less tolerance for casual racism nowadays (well, certain types of casual racism, anyway) I feel sorry for the guy. I mean, unless there's evidence of his being a closet xenophobe, then I don't think he deserved this at all.
'Stay classy, San Diego.'
posted by RokkitNite at 11:21 AM on March 30, 2006


Remember, "politically correct" started off as a joke in Berkeley, circa 1965, used to poke at those who were embarassed by such hypercautious nonsense. It was adopted by the dark side as a term of oppobrium.

Oops. "Dark side" isn't PC.

What a dummy one can seem as the language changes. Even the man who wrote down the wonderful traditional tale of the Tar Baby in his Uncle Remus books (Joel Chandler Harris) isn't PC these days, and has been deconstructed.
posted by hank at 11:48 AM on March 30, 2006


Who says "coon" anymore? Besides Forrest Gump, I mean.

I havn't in a coon's age, I know that much.
posted by tkchrist at 12:05 PM on March 30, 2006


I have personally had problems saying "Martin Luther King Junior", so I understand how people's tongues can fumble. I don't see what the big nigger is.

Oops, I meant deal. What the big deal is.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:05 PM on March 30, 2006


So who here has accidently said "Martin Luther Coon" when they meant to say "Martin Luther King." Show of hands please? No one? That is what I thought.

Fire the guy.
posted by LarryC at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2006


Am I the only one who thinks Martin Luther Kong is a hell of a cool name?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:11 PM on March 30, 2006


Martin Luther Kong

It is my new URL for my yet to be released Graphic Novel and same titled EP.
posted by tkchrist at 12:17 PM on March 30, 2006


So who here has accidently said "Martin Luther Coon" when they meant to say "Martin Luther King." Show of hands please? No one? That is what I thought.

Yeah. That should be our social barometer for compassion - conformity of error. Because, like, everybody makes the same mistakes. And forget forgiving people.

Anybody else not see the irony of LarryC here? Minority Leader who died fighting the unjust tyranny of the Majority, etc?
posted by tkchrist at 12:22 PM on March 30, 2006


hank, when I was in library school I was given guff by some in my storytelling class when I chose some of Harris's Bruh Rabbit stories for a project. These were all middle aged white women. It's not like I dressed up in blackface and delivered them like I was Butterfly McQueen (I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no tar babies!). I delivered them in my own manner, as a Northern white woman, and just let the sass and attitude shine through.
posted by Biblio at 1:52 PM on March 30, 2006


While we're on the subject of embarrassing slips by weather presenters, Jim Hickey, who was New Zealand's foremost weather personality until a few years ago, made a real cracker (*snigger*) once. It is comon in Television New Zealand's newsroom to refer to a story which has been dropped or bumped as 'goneburgers'. Hickey, who was known for his breezy, ad-libby demeanour, started using the term on air. One night he took it a step too far. He said, 'The rain tomorrow is goneburgers. The wind, on the other hand, is a comeburger.' That wasn't specifically the reason his contract wasn't renewed, but it can't have helped.
posted by Soulfather at 2:24 PM on March 30, 2006


stopped himself from dictating the (fairly common) legal term "renig" - applemeat
What's that term? Do you mean renege? If that's the word you mean, then I think he was being hypersensitive paranoid.


"renig" seems to be a largely obsolete alternate spelling for "renege" -- see this 1942 Supreme Court decision. In fact, it's probably sensitivity to the other word that spurred adoption of the Latin spelling (likely it was a typical example of the Norman French in which much of early English law was written).

So who here has accidently said "Martin Luther Coon" when they meant to say "Martin Luther King." Show of hands please? No one? That is what I thought.

Um. It was, in fact, said by kids in my 98% white hometown , especially during "Nigger History Month". So I know it as a deliberate epithet.

My personal experiences with public speaking, however, lead me to believe that slip-ups are quite easy, although almost all of them are something you can normally recover from. Especially with a job like weatherman, where you're standing up and moving around with gestures, and have to think ahead while you anticipate where you need to stand for the next graphic. Anchors just have to sit there and read from a teleprompter.
posted by dhartung at 3:35 PM on March 30, 2006


Assignment of motive when someone slips up is the height of disrespect: it denies people the right to mean what they meant.
posted by bugmuncher at 9:52 PM on March 30, 2006


Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful. A mere slip of the tongue - for which he instantly apologised - and he gets fired? Horriby unjust, and depressingly symptomatic of the absurd hypersensitivity that exists today about the slightest sniff of a racial slur - intended or not. To hell with that weak, weak nonsense. Some people need to grow a skin - and I don't care what colour it is.
posted by Decani at 5:02 AM on March 31, 2006


I believe Trevor McDonald the resepected UK News Anchor once accurately described the Kent Countryside.

To all those people deriding the forces of PC and Teh Left, NOBODY COMPLAINED, the manager took it upon himself to be a cock and fire the poor dude.

If I was Condoleza Rice I'd publicly request his reinstatement.
posted by fullerine at 5:29 AM on March 31, 2006


And here's an interesting contrast. Such Political Correctness is often labeled "liberal". As is MeFi, from some.

Yet here we have most folks on MeFi saying these folks shouldn't be punished for this.

Ergo?
posted by darkstar at 7:46 AM on March 31, 2006


Ergo?

Not all liberals are complete morons?
posted by languagehat at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2006


The "comeburger" anecdote killed me.
posted by jennanemone at 7:54 AM on March 31, 2006


Assignment of motive when someone slips up is the height of disrespect: it denies people the right to mean what they meant.

That's the most sensible thing that's been said in this whole thread.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:22 PM on April 1, 2006


Apparently KTRS had the technology to keep Lenihan's tongue-slip from being broadcast, but someone screwed up:
"Station chief Tim Dorsey confirmed the station does broadcast on a seven-second delay, but the button used to delete questionable material was never activated. At KTRS, Dorsey said, it is the host's responsibility to alert a technician when he wants to use the delay device... Lenihan, who had been with the station a week and a half, said he was never told about the delay procedures."
posted by mistersix at 1:26 PM on April 10, 2006


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