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  Syntax Scrimmage

Syntax Scrimmage

It’s hard to focus on college bowl games and social media at the same time.

Still, I did my best yesterday.

During approximately 12 hours of back-to-back bowl games, I became aware of a syntax scrimmage taking place on Twitter.

There’s nothing I like more than a war of words.

Seems a “culture critic” no one’s ever heard of objected to words used in major news stories about Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

The words were sexist, the culture critic charged. Racist, too.

She ignited a Tweetstorm.

What could have fired this lady up? Well, The Washington Post described a Twitter feud Ocasio-Cortez was waging with Sen. Claire  McCaskill as - are you ready for this? - a “tirade.”

Contrary to Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter tirade, McCaskill did not back anti-immigrant rhetoric and opposed Trump’s border wall,"  The Washington Post had the temerity to write.

How dare the newspaper use “tirade” to describe anything other than President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter!

And the other offensive word?


That word was buried in a New York Times piece about one of the first two Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives and her response to firebrand Bishop E.W. Jackson of Chesapeake who warned that it would be a calamity if she wore her headscarf to work.

Ms. Omar…  gave a hint of her style in her sassy response to the pastor, Bishop E. W. Jackson, who complained that the House floor would look like an Islamic republic.

The culture critic claims “sassy” has racial connotations.

I can’t believe I’m defending the left-leaning Times from a far-leftie critic, but intent is important. It’s clear from the context of piece that race had nothing to do with its accurate use of  “sassy” to describe Ms. Omar’s reply to an ultra-conservative preacher over-reacting to her attire.

Here’s what Omar wrote to Jackson:

“Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America. And you’re gonna have to just deal.”

I’ve used the word sassy scores of times. And I plan to keep right on using it. I don’t know about the Post and the Times, but I’m not about to allow some humorless feminist browbeat me into self-censorship.

As it happens, in my weekly email to subscribers last Friday (you are signed up for it, aren’t you? It’s free)  I described two of my website partners this way: 

I’ve been brainstorming - er, quaffing cocktails - with my team over the holidays, and we’ve come up with a few fresh ideas that we’ll roll out in the New Year. Spend time with smart, sassy millennials and the creative juices start flowing.

Here’s what dictionary.com has to say about sassy:

  1. impertinent; insolent; saucy: a sassy reply; a sassy teen. 

  2. pert; boldly smart; saucy: a sassy red handbag.

Sassy women are my favorite kind of women. Come to think of it, most of my friends are sassy.  

Yes, it is an adjective used almost exclusively for women. 

So what?

Seems to me “burly” and “portly” are words used almost exclusively to describe men.

Describe me as burly and I promise you that this sassy female will immediately launch a stinging tirade.

Spot The Typos

Spot The Typos

Our Papa Puzzle

Our Papa Puzzle