Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Tequila Mockingbird

On October 3rd, Dahlia Lithwick had an article on Slate. It is titled:

Tequila Mockingbird
Justice Scalia opens the 2006 term with a bang.
By Dahlia Lithwick

The relevant section is:

Crooks adds that there are cases in which deportees have been extradited back to the United States based on violations of their supervised release, and that he may in the future want a visa to visit the United States, since his children live here. Justice Scalia says that "the doctrine of standing is more than an exercise in the conceivable. … Nobody thinks your client is really, you know, abstaining from tequila down in Mexico because he is on supervised release in the United States."

Nobody laughs. But then, nobody winces or flinches, either. Somehow, a remark that would have flattened us had a Souter spoken it is just a solid day at the office for Scalia. I have no idea where the tequila comment should register on the nation's macaca-meter. The more interesting question is about Scalia's deliberate carelessness with language, his sense that he is somehow above the sorts of linguistic delicacy the rest of us expect in our dealings with others. Indeed, he seems to think it's his obligation to be ever more reckless with his words, perhaps because he's about the only guy left who faces no consequences for his rhetorical body-slams.

What my questions is, what is the big deal? Why is she trying to manufacture an issue here? Scalia implied that Mexicans drink Tequila. This is equivalent to saying French men drink wine or Russians drink Vodka. The only problem I can see here is someone trying to invent an issue of racism or insensitivity where none exists. Dahlia, grow up already, everything is not a slight.

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