Speaking of Alabama, I ran into an article titled "ALABAMA VOICES: Word thieves threaten richness of language" from the Montgomery Advertiser by Tom Fitzpatrick. It only mentions Romney periperally, but the writer laments that a literary rich term like "tar baby" has been hijacked by race-baiters and will become taboo in our vocabluary as a racial slur. This topic is near and dear to me, because, as many readers here may know, I asked the question to Romney at the Ames event last month that elicited his "tar baby" comment.
Fitzpatrick delves into an interesting history of the orgin of the term and laments about its apparent sailing into the sunset. Of Romney, the story mentions:
Gov. Romney referred to the Boston "Big Dig" tunnel fiasco as a tar baby he didn't want to touch. Sounds apt, but critics across the nation, led by black activists, savaged him. Romney apparently didn't know that "tar baby" in recent years has become a racist's epithet for a black person.
Personally, I think it will be a disgrace and loss to both blacks and whites if "tar baby" is allowed to be pirated by word thieves, goes the way of "gay" and "intercourse," and lives on bereft of its original meaning.
Well said Mr. Fitzpatrick!
Look at all the debate my simple question led to . . . who would've thunk it . . .