credit: the political insider.com
Since the publication of my first three articles on the Michael Brown case (the Michael Brown archive is available here), much–and little–has happened. The fun of rioting having lost its luster, and the looted stores having lost their merchandise, Ferguson is mostly quiet. CNN has obtained an audiotape it represents as a tape of the shooting, presenting it as extraordinarily important. That there is apparently no convincing evidence it is what it purports to be is not a bar to yet another breathless media story. On this tape, reportedly as many as ten possible gunshots are audible, which would seem to contradict what appears, for the moment, to be the best evidence that only six were fired.
The New York Times has decided that the word “burly” as in “the burly Michael Brown” is “racially charged,” and now refuses to use the word again. As the Internet burly Powerline has noted, “burly” means “strongly and heavily built,” which the 6’4” 292 pound Brown certainly was. In the case of the Times, this is not an issue of editorial, grammatical purity, but of narrative preservation. Unable to produce charming photographs of a slight, cute 12 year-old Brown, ala Trayvon Martin, the Times resorts to banishing adjectives that might tend to tarnish any potential cute 12 year-old images they might have created in the collective public consciousness.