Poetic Epithets: To Honor Or To Slight?


Pundits keep pontificating about Obama’s failure to mention Martin Luther King by name in his speech. Instead, he said “a young preacher from Georgia” and apparently this has all kinds of subtle and vaguely unsavory implications.

OF COURSE  it does.  Nothing is more delectable than the unsavory.  Oooo!! This is so juicy! Is Barack Obama uncomfortable talking about MLK? Is he afraid that maybe it will make him look too “black”?

Um… on the anniversary of King’s historic “I have a dream” speech, was there anybody, anywhere, who was confused as to who “the preacher from Georgia” was?  If Obama wanted to minimize the impact, wouldn’t it be better to dispense with the obligatory King reference somewhere relatively early in the speech instead of treating it as the climax?

When people say “The Bard” as though there was only one in history, do they do it to distance themselves from William Shakespeare lest they look too English?
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