The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, August 15, 2006  

With Media Miscellany
August 15, 2006

Boats in the Water [*]
George Jepsen, an adviser to Connecticut Democratic primary winner and nominee Ned Lamont, observes: "So, the swift-boating begins."

George Allen's Mess
Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) has apologized, in that way politicians often do, for directing an apparent racial epithet at S.R. Sidarth, a University of Virginia student working as a volunteer on the campaign of Allen's Democratic opponent, Jim Webb. The Washington Post reports ("Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology," by Tim Craig and Michael D. Shear):

Reached Monday evening, Allen said that the word had no derogatory meaning for him and that he was sorry. "I would never want to demean him as an individual. I do apologize if he's offended by that. That was no way the point."

Asked what macaca means, Allen said: "I don't know what it means." He said the word sounds similar to "mohawk," a term that his campaign staff had nicknamed Sidarth because of his haircut. Sidarth said his hairstyle is a mullet -- tight on top, long in the back.

But Ryan Lizza of the New Republic has a good catch this morning: "Not only is macaque apparently a French slur used to describe North Africans, Allen would have good reason to know it is. His mother is French Tunisian (yeah, that's in North Africa), and Allen speaks French."

Note that Sen. Allen said he wouldn't want to demean Mr. Sidarth "as an individual," which would leave open the possibility he might want to demean a larger community of people.

(See also: "George Allen's America," an editorial in today's Washington Post.)

[* Note: Additional items may be posted to "Political Notes" after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda. Such items, when posted, are designated by an asterisk.]

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