The Corner

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Affirmative Action -- Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That


Okay, rubes, listen up: There’s a review today on Salon of a “Raunchy gay fantasia from Tel Aviv,” part of the “the explosion of new movies from Israel [that] has included a distinctly gay mini-wave.” No doubt you Red State, mouth-breathing NRO readers aren’t even aware of this explosion, let alone the mini-wave, but that’s not my point. 

Buried in the discussion of this movie, which features mostly “a roomful of good-looking guys,” is this sentence: “You can throw in Omer’s lesbian sister Shirley (Shirli Salomon) and her rocky affair with her lesbian-coffeeshop boss, but they’re just affirmative-action window dressing.” So my point is that, in 2008, even on hip movie reviews for Salon, everyone knows that Affirmative Action equals Not Actually Qualified.

And this is just the latest and most amusing example of that point. To call something “affirmative action” or, especially, to call someone an example of “affirmative action” is to acknowledge that the standards have been lowered. It’s an interesting phenomenon — that it’s politically incorrect to point this out in a direct discussion of the issue, but perfectly okay to incorporate the observation obliquely, in a discussion of something else.