Jane Clifton: Iron Lady Unafraid to Drop the N-Bomb
by Consul Firmin
As an afternoon spent surfing the net seems to be the extent of the research for Clifton’s latest sneeringly condescending Tory concern-troll piece, I’ll skip the first two thirds to concentrate on this little gem. Asterisks, emphatically, mine:
All of which made Hone Harawira’s attack on – he says – National MPs as John Key’s “house n******” a curiously retro experience this week. How old-fashioned and uncomplicated to find an MP on the left unabashedly attacking those on the right.
A dubious bonus: watching the agonising of various media outlets, most of whom had been able to bring themselves to report the phrase “Pussy Riot” rather than “a Russian punk band”, wheeling out the asterisks for this most loathsome of terms.
Ah, the heady aroma of intellectual bravery! Ah, the briny tang of journalistic integrity! Nothing squeaks of speaking truth to power more than gleefully repeating—safely inside quotation marks, naturally, naturally—the one word that every Tory scumbag wishes they could still say with impunity. Especially when that word is stripped entirely of context: “Look, look! I’m not a racist, Hone Harawira is a racist, coz he said n*****! The N-word! I’m just quoting him, of course; I wouldn’t dream of using this most loathsome of terms.”
Except they never pass up the chance to say it, or write it, when they know they can get away with it. Never.
The next target of Clifton’s supercilious arched eyebrow is . . . all of those media organisations who chose not to quote Harawira’s n-bomb. Those cowards over at—wait, was there anywhere?—scrambling to, you know, not print the term that, in the words of Oprah Winfrey, “carries such a sense of hatred, and degradation, and [always makes me think of . . .] black men who were lynched and that’s the last word they heard.”
Yeah, at The Listener, we so brave. We tell it like it is. No self-censoring from us, no siree.
Now, just using the n-word is one pretty fucking shitty thing, when you’re a member of the white, upper-class elite, but wheeling out the trademark condescending sneer to criticize those who choose not to? You know what? Fuck that. If you really can’t see the difference between using the word “pussy” in reference to a band that has chosen to call itself Pussy Riot and your own context-free repetition of Harawira’s use of “n*****,” then I’m not going to do your homework for you.