Young, Gifted, and Cool

by Mark Steyn

The point to remember, Jonah, is that anything you say about the president, his policies, or anybody standing in the general vicinity is a racist codeword. For example, I was shocked during the Obamacare debate to hear you express concern about wait-times for hip replacements in Scotland when everyone knows “hip” is a synonym for “cool” and that “cool” is a synonym for “Barack.”

And only last week you wondered why Obama was co-hosting a fundraiser with Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour, “that ridiculous Vogue editor a good two decades too old to go around with her hair in a pageboy,” and when I said, “‘Boy?’ What Bull Connor biopic have you just stepped out of?”, you said, “Okay, her hair’s in a bob,” and I had to remind you that “Bob” is a common monosyllabic male name much like “George,” which you probably still bark at your Pullman Porters when they’re lugging your steamer trunks off the caboose. And you replied, “I am not speaking in racist codewords!”, which everyone knows is code for “I am incapable of speaking in anything but racist codewords.”

In my most recent book, I write en passant:

Invited by National Public Radio to expound on the use of “racial code words” in “the current opposition to health care reform”, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Professor of African-American Studies at Princeton, informed her listeners that “language of personal responsibility is often a code language used against poor and minority communities.”

“Personal responsibility” is racial code language? Phew, thank goodness America is belatedly joining Europe in all but abolishing the concept.

“Code language” is code language for “total bollocks”. “Code word” is a code word for “I’m inventing what you really meant to say because the actual quote doesn’t quite do the job for me”. “Small government”? Racist code words! “Non-confiscatory taxes”? Likewise. “Individual liberty”? Don’t even go there! With interpreters like Professor Harris-Lacewell on the prowl, I’m confident 95 per cent of Webster’s will eventually be ruled “code language.”


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