Talking the talk: An interview with John McWhorter
Speaking of linguistics and whatnot,
I've been thumbing through the new-look East Bay Express.
I read this, and I feel like McWhorter's
never gotten over some black people wrongly labeling him as an Oreo cookie (never had someone assure him, in response to epithets like those, that there are 35 million ways of being African-American -- and that many of them involve fluency in "totally ass-kicking SWE," to reference David Foster Wallace's essay on Bryan Garner's new usage book in Harper's
a couple of months ago).
I appreciate his iconoclasm (hell, like myself, he voted for Nader) and I'm willing to concede points of his basic argument and that I agree with him on some (the whole "niggardly" thing; the Ebonics controversy) points.
But after reading this, I wound up feeling irritated with him -- and especially put off by allowing himself to be
marketed as a conservative and, despite his vaunted speaking ability and academic credentials, his inability to get his points across in the media.
posted by allaboutgeorge
on Jul 6, 2001 -