How Lin blew his chance to push back against America’s PC insanity

Jared writes:

Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks has taken the NBA by storm. A nobody in the league who was on the verge of being cut from the team, Lin took advantage of an opportunity to play and has turned into a superstar in just nine games. He’s a Harvard grad, a U.S. born kid from Palo Alto who remarkably runs up and down the court without one tattoo on his body and is able to speak perfect English. He also happens to be Chinese/Taiwanese. In other words, a decent human being in a league full of blemished black basketball players that look like they belong on prison courts. Quite refreshing, until I was painfully reminded yesterday just how deep in the bag we are as a country.

ESPN fired a young editor just two days ago for using the following headline:

“Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s nine Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.”

The headline was only up for an hour (from 2:30 to 3:30 a.m.) before it was removed. Also, an anchor for ESPN by the name of Max Bretos was suspended for 30 days for using the following line on the air when discussing Lin:

“If there is a chink in the armor, where can he improve his game?”

Bretos is married to an Asian woman, which makes this even more comical (in a very sad way).

ESPN represents so much that is wrong with this country and with the times we live in. The instantaneous reaction to fire and suspend because the word “chink” was used in proper context just continues a very long, boring story of anti-common sense nation deterioration. Think about what we allow to go on and what is acceptable in today’s society. Anti-American, anti-capitalist animals can sit in a park for over a month negatively affecting countless people while preaching the destruction of America. Our media tells us consistently how important it is to allow such activity to take place. It demonstrates freedom of speech. Someone uses the word “chink” and gets the can. We’ve come to a point where spineless cowards like ESPN executives rule the roost.

Lin was asked by the media about the situation. He said,

“They’ve apologized, and so from my end, I don’t care anymore…. You have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional.”

What he should have said was:

“To be honest, I’m very disappointed with ESPN. In fact, it’s despicable and insulting to think that the Asian community would take offense to such a ridiculous thing. Even if it were meant as a racial insult, which it wasn’t, I think I speak for all Asian Americans by saying that we would laugh something like that off without a moment’s notice. We are better than that and I am far more insulted that ESPN made more of it than it really is.”

Lin had a free shot at ESPN and a chance to get people to wake up a little. He is possibly the most popular person in the country right now and his thoughts on the matter would go a long way. Instead, he followed the leader like we all continue to do. It’s the same old insanity.

LA replies:

Thank you for providing all this useful perspective on the Lin story.

No one asks: Is the familiar expression, “a chink in the armor,” or “a chink in the wall,” now outlawed if there is a Chinese person anywhere within earshot? Or, I should say, if there is a Chinese person anywhere on the continent?

- end of initial entry -

Malcolm Pollack writes:

You wrote:

No one asks: Is the familiar expression, “a chink in the armor,” or “a chink in the wall,” now outlawed if there is a Chinese person anywhere within earshot? Or, I should say, if there is a Chinese person anywhere on the continent?

I did, in fact, lament this just the other day.

LA replies:

In his linked blog entry, Mr. Pollack writes:

This whole euphemism-creep business is a pity all round, say I; I’m still mourning ‘niggardly’ and ‘black hole’, and now we have to kiss ‘chink’ goodbye, too. So much for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I guess.

For those who don’t get Mr. Pollack’s Shakespeare reference, a chink in a wall is a major plot device in the play performed by the workingmen before Duke Theseus “on his wedding day at night,” in Act V, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Here is the relevant part of the scene. I’m picking it up after Quince, the leader of the troupe, has delivered his first prologue, and Theseus and his guests proceed to make urbane observations about the workingmen’s sincere but hilariously confused and maladroit performance (I’ve bolded each appearance of the word “chink”):


His speech, was like a tangled chain; nothing
impaired, but all disordered. Who is next?

Enter Pyramus and Thisbe, Wall, Moonshine, and Lion


Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
This beauteous lady Thisby is certain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
Wall, that vile Wall which did these lovers sunder;
And through Wall’s chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper. At the which let no man wonder.
This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
To meet at Ninus’ tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisby’s mantle slain:
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach’d his boiling bloody breast;
And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew, and died. For all the rest,
Let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers twain
At large discourse, while here they do remain.

Exeunt Prologue, Thisbe, Lion, and Moonshine


I wonder if the lion be to speak.


No wonder, my lord: one lion may, when many asses do.


In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
And such a wall, as I would have you think,
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.


Would you desire lime and hair to speak better?


It is the wittiest partition that ever I heard
discourse, my lord.

Enter Pyramus


Pyramus draws near the wall: silence!


O grim-look’d night! O night with hue so black!
O night, which ever art when day is not!
O night, O night! alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Thisby’s promise is forgot!
And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
That stand’st between her father’s ground and mine!
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne!

Wall holds up his fingers

Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!


The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again.


No, in truth, sir, he should not. ‘Deceiving me’
is Thisby’s cue: she is to enter now, and I am to
spy her through the wall. You shall see, it will
fall pat as I told you. Yonder she comes.

Enter Thisbe


O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.


I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
To spy an [an = if] I can hear my Thisby’s face. Thisby!


My love thou art, my love I think.


Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace;
And, like Limander, am I trusty still.


And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.


Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.


As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.


O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!


I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all.


Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?


‘Tide life, ‘tide death, I come without delay.

Exeunt Pyramus and Thisbe


Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.


LA continues:

When I was in ninth grade, I was in a student production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at my junior high school in South Orange, New Jersey, playing a minor part, Egeus, the grouchy father of Hermia who doesn’t want her to marry her true love, Lysander, and thus sets the story in motion. It was a fantastic production, topped off by the workingmen’s hilarious performance in the final act, and I’ve had a particular fondness for the play ever since. But I have to say, I wouldn’t be surprised that if it were produced at a junior high school in today’s America, teachers and school authorities would be uncomfortable with the word “chink,” and would look for some way to replace it.

Karl D. writes:

Remember the “Niggardly” incident back in 1999 with the white homosexual aide in Washington D.C.?

Julian C. writes:

Karl D. wrote:

Remember the “Niggardly” incident back in 1999 with the white homosexual aide in Washington D.C.?

That is different from the Lin incident. Niggardly is not an ethnic slur. Chink is. Also, it is not a case of the word chink being outlawed in earshot of anyone Chinese. In this case Lin himself was the subject of the headline. So the headline had the clear double meaning which included the use of an ethnic slur against Lin. Or at least that was my interpretation.

LA replies:

I did not say that the banning of “chink” generally had happened in this case. I asked whether expressions using “chink” are now to be outlawed generally. And I think there’s a fair chance that they will be so outlawed.

As for its use in this case, it seems to have been careless or relatively innocent wordplay, and the people apologized. They could have been reprimanded without being fired.

But again, consider the problem. If a non-Chinese athlete were referred to by the expression, “there’s a chink in his armor,” no one would think about it. But now people must be extra careful not to use it if the athlete is Chinese.

Finally, pace Julian C., the case is not so different from the famous “niggardly” case. Niggardly bears the same relationship to “nigger” as “chink” (in “chink in his armor”) bears to “chink” (as a disrespectful word for Chinese people). They are homonyms, having similar sound or spelling, but different meanings.

LA writes:

A defender of Alt-Right sent me this note regarding the Lin incident:

Weren’t you just complaining a few days ago about the use of “kike” in the comment threads at Alternative Right?

This moron thinks, or rather pretends to think, that an entire page of an outspokenly and unrepentantly anti-Semitic website calling Jews “kikes” over and over and over, is the same as a single use of the expression, “A chink in his armor,” for which two people lost their jobs though they apologized.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 22, 2012 10:23 AM | Send

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