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For America’s sake, let’s stop the Lin-sanity

No, this isn’t about sports – at least not in the way that you might think. “Lin-sanity” is used in this instance as a metaphor for the way that people behave in a society plagued by political correctness. In my opinion, it’s a damn shame. Yes, I said damn. Don’t worry, we’re still allowed to say that one.

If you’re not yet up to speed on the “Lin-Sanity” phenomenon, here’s the deal. Jeremy Lin is a pro-basketball point-guard with the New York Knicks who recently came to prominence despite being a former “bench-warmer.” To say that he proved himself to be a well-rounded basketball player is like saying that Shaquille O’Neal is sort of tall.

Almost overnight fans became captivated by Lin’s surprisingly quick moves and shooting prowess, as well as his propensity for playing “team ball” by passing the ball often and well. The fact that he’s of Asian American decent only added to the story, since the NBA features precious few players from that part of the world. Lin’s scoring streak has cooled a bit of late, but that’s how streaks go.

When Lin first came to prominence, sports writers, forever looking to differentiate from the pack literally went pun-crazy with his name. Almost every newspaper featured such uninspired phrases as Lin-spiration, Lin-sanity, Lin-surrection, Lin-ovation, Lin-put, and scores of other Lin-guistics that swapped the surname Lin for an “in” prefix. If Lin should ever get hurt while playing ball, I’m certain some dork in a tweed coat will say that he’s been “Lin-jured.” If he gets sick, they’ll say that he has a Lin-fection. The lesson is clear – one bad pun obviously deserves another.

But this, as they say is not about that. This is about what happens to good people in 2012 if they accidentally cross an often imperceptible line, as 28-year-old ESPN news-editor Anthony Federico did recently when he wrote the headline, “A chink in the armor” to describe gaps, or “chinks” in Lin’s game.

“I wrote the headline in reference to the tone of the column and not to Jeremy Lin’s race,” Federico explained after he was hypocritically raked over the coals by the media and those who chose to believe that his use of the saying was racism tinged. “It was a lapse in judgment and not a racist pun. It was an awful editorial omission and it cost me my job…”

Federico then tells of his charitable works with the poor and points out how crazy it would have been for him, a young journalist on the rise, to write an overtly racist headline.

I believe him. I have personally used the phrase “chink in the armor” numerous times in articles throughout the years. The word is defined as a gap or crevice, and the phrase is generally used to describe a weakness or “gap” in someone’s skill set – an Achilles heel in his or her arsenal if you will. A slang version of “chink” has also been used maliciously as a slur against Chinese- Americans, but any reasonable person who has ever heard this four-word combination knows that it is in no way a pejorative term. Not even close.

Lin himself doesn’t believe that Federico meant any harm with this and has openly accepted his apology. But Lin’s forgiveness doesn’t matter one iota. In a fear-driven rush, ESPN fired Federico for his oversight. Do the big-wigs at ESPN really believe that Federico’s headline was prejudice driven? Probably not. But they’re in the game to make money. To avert a potential loss of advertisers they showed typical corporate disloyalty and cowardice by dumping Federico squarely on his ass for the supposed infraction. Yes, I said ass. Don’t worry; it’s just a slang word that means donkey. Somehow, we’ll all survive.

And therein lies a lesson for all. Maybe someday it will be you that makes an innocuous remark, and then has to pay the piper for this imagined sin. If you’ve been riding the politically correct train up until that point, you’ll be mighty shocked when that train suddenly derails and the vultures of political correctness pounce upon you. And pounce they most certainly will. But don’t go looking for any sympathy. In this twisted, tiptoe-over-eggshells world that you helped endorse, it was only a matter of time. Truth be told, that’s the real chink in the armor in America, and a “bloody” sad one at that.

Webster’s Definition:

Bloody –Adjective

Covered, smeared, or running with bloo

Vulgar. Used to express anger, annoyance, or shock

Can you guess which meaning I was going for?

-Jeff Bahr

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