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.