Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.
John McWhorter has an analysis of "Palinspeak" at The New Republic that has gotten quite a bit of attention. As a trained linguist (by happenstance I was a PhD candidate at Cornell, where McWhorter taught, before switching to journalism), I think his take is refreshingly devoid of cliché alarmism over the "decline of the English language." McWhorter makes the interesting observation that the style of political speech has shifted from the rigid scripted performances of politicians like Warren G.
The Human Rights Campaign choreographed its rally against "don't ask, don't tell" last month to the smallest detail. Held midday on Washington's Freedom Plaza, it was headlined by comedian Kathy Griffin, who brought along the camera crew from her reality show, My Life on the D-List. After emerging from a cordoned-off area reserved for media, Griffin told a few jokes, then read letters from fans who had been affected by the military's policy. Rally participants held American flags distributed by HRC staff -- no drag queens, no rainbows -- and were told to pose, facing East, then South, then West. Photographers circled around them, snapping photos.
Responding to my piece about the souring prospects for immigration reform, Ezra Klein makes the odd statement that nativism is the "dog that didn't bark" (Kevin Drum has a good response to this here). Ezra writes:
Dara Lindresponds to my critique of the Schumer-Graham blueprint for immigration reform. Her primary point is that the 800-word-or-so piece published in the Post is bound to exclude the full details of their proposal, especially those that are still being hammered out. However, I don't think I missed the importance of the Schumer-Graham plan to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
Osman Villanueva, 23, of Baltimore, Md., watches as immigration-reform supporters march by the Capitol during a rally in Washington, on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Last Sunday, 200,000 immigrant-rights protesters shared the National Mall with a Tea Party crowd that shouted racial epithets and spat at members of Congress. Unsurprisingly, the media focused on the histrionics of the Tea Partiers, but Sunday's immigration demonstration was an important manifestation of the movement's building impatience. In its enthusiasm and optics -- legal and undocumented immigrants chanting "Sí se puede," singing folk songs, and waving both American and Mexican flags -- the demonstration was reminiscent of the immigration protests in 2006.