Johann Hari has called Richard Littlejohn out for the use of a single adjective in the meandering toss about the forthcoming US Presidential election.
A single word? Well, it depends on the word in question. And there's the genius, and the hatefulness, of Littlejohn.
While the word 'uppity' might not have much currency over this side of the Atlantic, it does in the States, I'm led to believe, where it has rather entrenched racial connotations - an 'uppity' black man is someone who's got ideas beyond his station; it implies arrogance on behalf of someone who really should know who's the boss-man. There's a bit of a plantation vibe going on.
Not all English people will know this. Well fair enough. But Littlejohn spends a great deal of time in his gated Florida mansion, where he's sure to absorb a lot of the culture. He spends a large slice of the year in the southern states. He must know this kind of coded language. He must know what it means and what it represents to say such things.
He knows what he's doing.
But, as is so often the case, he's doing it with enough of a handle on deniability to turn around and say "Me? Did I mean that? Oh no, you're just playing the race card, you're just being a PC fascist, it's all in your pretty little head, you see things when they're not there; I simply mean 'uppity' to mean 'uppity' - it's your fault for trying to create antagonism where there is none. It's just a single word - you leftie fools are always trying to stir up a hornets' nest over language; you really are quite pathetic".
Make no mistake: it's a craft, keeping enough of a whiff of deniability about something utterly poisonous; being able to say something but having the option of pulling the lever on the trapdoor if you so much as suggest that he's saying what he's saying.
But he's saying it.
The mask slips every now and then. Just long enough so you see what's really underneath.
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