April 12, 2007

Smurf Alert: Malchow Defends Racist

I'm sure he's just doing this for attention, but Malchow has spent two posts defending Don Imus for his "nappy headed 'hos" comment (here and here). In the first post, despite having previously stated that he "must glance at more than one thousand news items a day, poring over a hundred or so to analyze for bloggability. To make the job easier—and so I never am reduced to staring at the raw wire—a series of filters and news alerts ding me when an item likely to be of interest moves—that’s the word the news folks use, moves—across the wire," Joe archly feints at total ignorance of the Imus comment.
I heard he said something, Imus did. About farming implements. Or basketball. But no one has told me what he said. But gosh, it sure must have been something. Keep hearing about it. Does anyone know what he said? I would like to hear it myself. I reckon it was something special, what Imus said. Fella doesn’t talk much.
Haha, Joe, I get it—you think it's a tempest in a teacup.
But then Joe drops his "out of the loop" charade to defend Imus directly in his typically geriatrophilic pedant manner:
Would you happen to have the time? Half past four? Oh, jolly good, thanks. My goodness, Margaret, what nappy-headed hos they have here in America. Would that Britons were a bit kinder.

Point is that ‘ho’ may just as well have meant ‘very polite person.’ The earliest use that the researchers at the Oxford English Dictionary can find for ‘ho’—the word used by soon-to-be-former radio personality Donald Imus in reference to the utterly fantastic Rutgers girls basketball team—is from 1992. (Which is not enough, by the bye, even to make it a word.) The 1992 usage comes from the lovely tune Treat Her Like Prostitute, which goes: “Now your girl she don’t like to have sex a lot And today she’s ready and she’s hot hot hot… Next thing you know the ho starts to ill She says, ‘I love you, Harold’ and your name is Will.”

And they say romance is lost. To recapitulate, we’ve learned that a word was invented just ten years ago by a crew of rappers. The word was formulated precisely to have a hint of disparagement, and yet to remain a common term of reference for any woman. (This is the first definition noted by Oxford, and the one Imus used: “Sometimes with weakened force,” the OED says, ‘ho’ means “a woman.”)

And that use of the word has indeed persisted. It is used daily by Americans of a certain generation, and with saturation by rap and hip-hop artists. An aging radio personality awoke from his nap long enough to brush up on this new lexicon, and repeated it on the air that he might be current-sounding. For that, he was taken to the professional expurgators.

Joe, as an instruction to you, let me consult a better, more up-to-date dictionary for the definition of 'ho: The Urban Dictionary. Rather than putting definitions before the readers of this blog which they already know, I've just linked the damn entry. You can peruse it at your leisure. Let me also point you to this page, which collects some of Imus's other racist quips.

But while I was on Urban Dictionary, inspiration struck, and I looked up your name. It seems that someone has seen fit to define "malchow" as "An extremely repulsive human being..." The word was added in March, 2004, which was before you got to Dartmouth, so I don't think you can blame Connor or me for it.

Sounds like your path of irritation has spread back some ways. And you didn't even have a blog then.

Edit: Joe substantially changed the post, in case you're wondering why the text I excerpted doesn't match up perfectly with the post as it now stands.


  1. 5 points for referring to Slick Rick, who by the way is British anyway, as "a crew of rappers." From now on, I will refer to Malchow as "a posse of dunderheads."

  2. "The earliest use ... is from 1992. (Which is not enough, by the bye, even to make it a word.)"

    But now that MalchowMalchow's used it, we may consider it fully mature: it is a word.

  3. Anonymous4:04 PM

    In other news... while Seal continues to attempt to debase his writing style, Malchow got himself a job. Apparently he was selected as one of this year's seven Bartley Fellows and will be writing for the Wall Street Journal this summer. Not too shabby at his age.


    (I dont know how to make the above a hyperlink. Help would be appreciated. Thanks.)

  4. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Um, incidentally, not too shabby at any age

  5. Anonymous4:40 PM

    I continue to believe that Malchow is a horrible, horrible writer. He has a solid vocabulary, and he's not one of those people who uses words without knowing what they mean. All the same, his style is pretentious, verbose and fluffy, and reads like the words of someone who writes because he likes reading his own words rather than because he has anything to say. Either that or he tries to mask his substantive deficiencies with style.

    I have marginally less respect for the WSJ today than I did yesterday.

    And I'm sad about this because I'm politically conservative and generally like the WSJ. John Fund's stuff is consistently amazing. Malchow, not so much.

  6. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Joe Rago: eloquent

    Malchow: not-so-much

  7. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Any post-graduation plans Seal?

  8. Anonymous5:20 PM

    Im sure the WSJ will cure him of said serial grandiloquence.

  9. Anonymous5:47 PM

    There is so much more going on in the world than "Who said what?!" excitement. There is even more going on outside what a Dartmouth student thought about He-who-said-what. Can we freshen up this stale atmosphere?

  10. Any post-graduation plans Seal?

    Yeah. Reading Proust.

  11. Anonymous10:08 PM

    The Urban Dictionary also defines a Seal:

  12. yeah, it does--you're absolutely right there. and i can also see how some of the definitions may even apply to me (don't think i didn't check this before posting this morning). not the love-handled woman definition (i'm not a woman and i'm not overweight), but some of the others sure.

    but i'd wager that none of these were written specifically in reference to me, whereas the odds that "malchow" was inspired by joe are much better.

  13. Anonymous10:38 AM

    "Malchow got himself a job..."

    It's a summer "fellowship," not a job. They're going to have to hire someone else above him just to serve as pomposity editor.