Dr. Word asks: “Rabidly,” Andrea and Rhonda? “Rabidly”?

by David Safier

Dr. Word understands the power of words and the importance of choosing them well. He also feels proper word choice is especially important for journalists.

So the Doctor literally winced when he read this phrase in the Star's Political Notebook this morning:

U.S. Senate Democratic challenger Randy Parraz, rabidly opposed to SB1070 . . .

Rabidly? Could there been a worse word choice to describe Parraz's opposition to SB1070? "Rabid" means foaming-at-the-mouth crazy. It means dangerous. It means "Shoot him before he bites someone."

Kelly and/or Bodfield could have written that Parraz is "adamantly opposed to SB1070," or "ardently opposed" or "intensely opposed." All those would accurately describe the intensity of Parraz's dislike for the bill. But "rabidly opposed" makes it sound like he's crazy, and dangerous.

In thesaurus.com, "rabidly" is in this list of synonyms for "madly":

absurdly, crazily, deliriously, dementedly, desperately, devotedly, distractedly, energetically, exceedingly, excessively, excitedly, extremely, foolishly, frantically, frenziedly, furiously, hard, hastily, hurriedly, hysterically, insanely, intensely, irrationally, like mad, ludicrously, nonsensically, passionately, psychotically, quickly, rabidly , rapidly, rashly, recklessly, senselessly, something fierce, speedily, stormily, to distraction, tumultously/tumultuously, turbulently, unreasonably, violently

Dr. Word would like to know if anyone at the Star has described any Republican as "rabidly pro-SB1070," or used any adverb nearly so pejorative to describe anyone who supports the anti-immigrant legislation. He thinks not.

Dr. Word believes one of the two scribes for the Political Notebook owes Randy Parraz a personal apology. Using the word "rabidly" to describe anything about the man, who so far as I know is thoroughly decent and whose beliefs are sincere and carefully considered, is beneath contempt.

6 responses to “Dr. Word asks: “Rabidly,” Andrea and Rhonda? “Rabidly”?

  1. I was referring to Portland, OR, but I assume your No covered all the options.

    Too bad. I thought maybe I knew you a number of years ago.

  2. No. I wish I was. After all, the city of Portland, Oregon receives more federal dollars for solar energy products than either Tucson or Phoenix. 🙂 Now where have I heard that refrain about a dozen times throughout the past few months…

    Wait … Portland, Oregon, or Portland, Maine? Portland, Texas? Portland, Michigan? Portland, Tennessee?

  3. John, an off-the-topic question. Are you from Portland, by chance?

  4. “truly, madly, deeply opposed…”

    Seriously though, rabidly is a pretty poor choice.

    How about “…Randy Parraz, vehemently opposed to SB1070…”

    Vehement: marked by forceful energy ; powerful ; intensely emotional ; impassioned, fervid ; deeply felt ; forcibly expressed ; bitterly antagonistic

  5. Once again, the Star exhibits its dual personality on SB1070. Yes, they have criticized it in print, but they have also disparaged all 1070 opponents as clueless, stupid, radical, bad for the community or otherwise misguided. Meanwhile, they have praised the champions of 1070 such as Paul Babeu and Russell Pearce as shrewd politicians. Even the dooshbag who owns Brooklyn Pizza was praised for caving into pressure from irate bigots who would probably never venture into his shop.

    Face it, the Star supports 1070. They may say that they do not, but by failing to criticize the bigotry and crassness which made it possible, they are helping keep it alive.

    I understand that the Star may be under supreme pressure from its advertisers to do what it can to make sure that Jan Brewer is re-elected and the status quo is maintained in spite of the damage this does to human rights, the economic future of this state, and to their own integrity, but they seem to have hucked the pretense of balance a long time ago.

    I am sure that this posting will get me another irate and unhinged (or is that “rabid”) email from Joe Burchell telling me that, as a non-journalist, I have no right to criticize his reporters.

    Tom Prezelski

  6. Thank you, David!!! Words and how they are used is very important to how people understand the material associated with the words! Journalists, if that is what the reporters at the Star consider themselves, have a very special obligation to use language wisely and correctly! I have heard Mr. Parraz speak and he clearly has strongly held views – “rabidly”? – hardly!!!!!