The Fracas Over Macacas

It’s August. And an election year. The journalists unlucky enough to be on the campaign trail instead of lounging on the beach fantasizing about a book contract, get stuck with stuff like covering a George Allen rally in Breaks, Virginia, on the Kentucky border. But they also may snag some front page real estate! As Washington Post readers may know, last Friday the Republican junior senator let loose with what has been described as an ethnic slur at a campaign rally, calling a staffer for campaign rival James Webb a Macaca. Now that staffer is of Indian heritage. Macaca is the latin Genus name for a species of monkey, macaque. So, his choice of slur meand that either George Allen is a hobbyist primatologist or that he travels in circles where epithets are a little more high falutin’. That may be the case, if you believe Carpetbagger, via the Plank, which claims that Allen’s mom is French Tunisian. Or maybe he overheard dad, Redskins coach George Allen (1971-77), scream “You goddamned Macaca!” when Charley Taylor dropped one of those wobbling squibs from Billy Kilmer. And last Friday, it just came to him. When faced with a video-camera-wielding, semi-mullet-headed 20-something. Must have been hot that day.

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