October 23, 2002


BLOGGING PAST EACH OTHER: Jesse Walker objects to James Taranto's dig (next to the angry-man illustration here) at his "Rant" in Reason on federalism, but he misses the joke:

Taranto's actual problem with the article is that it describes him as an "Arab basher." The characterization is obviously true -- Taranto's column discusses Arabs the way much of the Arab press discusses Jews -- but he objects to it because "we're actually of Turkish descent." Note to Taranto: Turks aren't Arabs. Both groups do tend to be Muslim, but by that standard, you could refer to Boris Yeltsin as a Frenchman.
Note to Jesse: Taranto was kidding. "Arab basher" (as opposed to "Arab-basher") can be willfully misread as "basher who is an Arab" rather than "basher of Arabs"-- so Taranto played dumb (a favorite mode of humor for him) and said basically "how can I be an Arab basher? I'm not an Arab anything." I've fallen for the deadpan act myself; once he ran an item marveling that someone in a story with a tongue piercing could "mistake her tongue for her ear." I emailed that tongue-studs are actually fairly common on college campuses, and he replied "yeah, right. Next you'll be telling me they pierce their noses!"

It's simply wrong that "Taranto's column discusses Arabs the way much of the Arab press discusses Jews"-- there's hardly a stronger defender of immigrants on the Web, and Best of the Web was among the first to cheer Buffalo's Muslim community for helping catch the apparent terror cell among them. I've certainly never seen Taranto describe Arabs as pigs and monkeys who eat baby blood, which is what they matter-of-factly say about Jews in the Arab press.

Posted by John Tabin at October 23, 2002 12:26 AM