Best of the Web

Lifted whole-cloth from WSJ’s Best of the Web today:

Ethnic Etiquette
The Sonia Sotomayor hearings were something of a snooze, so we suppose we can’t blame the Associated Press for trying to come up with something–anything–to write about. Even so, this is a bit much. Yesterday the AP tried to transform some humorous banter into an outrage:

One of Sonia Sotomayor’s Senate interrogators had a joking response Wednesday when she talked hypothetically–and humorously–about getting a gun to shoot him in self-defense.

What Coburn said–and how he said it–was a riff on a Hispanic television character, Ricky Ricardo, whose accent is now widely considered a broad parody.

“You’ll have lots of ‘splainin’ to do,” replied GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, evoking the 1950s TV show “I Love Lucy” to laughter from the crowd and the judge.

“I’d be in a lot of trouble, then,” Sotomayor quipped back.

Ricky Ricardo, played by Cuban-born Desi Arnaz, would often use this line with his fictional wife, Lucy, played by real-life wife Lucille Ball. The AP successfully sought out a denunciation of Coburn’s bon mot:

The National Council of La Raza [Spanish for “the race”] responded to an e-mail inquiring about Coburn’s remark, saying it was unclear whether it was a badly told joke “or he’s just clueless.”

“While quoting Ricky Ricardo isn’t in and of itself a slur, in this context, it seems wildly inappropriate to say the least,” said the group’s spokeswoman, Lisa Navarrete.


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