That Word vs. America

So Tim Allen has decided to publicly defuse that most egregious of English words: the six-letter one that starts with n and ends with r. Allen is not the first you'd guess would attempt such a thing. He's a distinct example of the nonaggressive type of comic -- not quite the schmoe dumped on by the entire universe, but not far from that either.  The kind of comic you'd encounter in Disney films, Dagwood Bumstead in the flesh. This has been done before, but by edgy, wild-eyed types such as Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. Neither quite defanged the term -- Bruce was operating in the midst of the cultural revolution that would set the modern view of race in concrete, while Pryor, a figure of the 70s, was transparently playing off of white guilt. The times just weren't right; you can't run a railroad if the tracks aren't laid down first. But today in the new millennium, things are different. As the Zimmerman trial has revealed, the race card has become frayed and tattered from...(Read Full Article)