June 12, 2017

The Washington Post launders "olive-complected coil of rage" out of its description of Bill Cosby's lawyer.

A couple of hours ago I read the Washington Post story about the closing argument in the Bill Cosby criminal trial and made a mental note to find the article by doing a search for "olive-complected." Here's the sentence I wanted to use as my post title:
“This ain’t right!” bellowed Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle, an olive-complected coil of rage who at one point apologized to for his “Irish-Italian” temper during his pyrotechnic closing argument.
But I couldn't find it in The Washington Post. I could only find the sentence on another website that quotes and links to the Washington Post article, "‘This ain’t right!’: Bill Cosby’s attorney calls assault claim a lie." But the quote is not there at WaPo. Instead, we get:
“This ain’t right!” bellowed Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle in his closing argument. Earlier in the day, he had raced through a startlingly brief, six-minute defense, bringing to a close testimony in the sexual-assault case against the 79-year-old comedian.

McMonagle apologized at one point for his “Irish-Italian” temper during his pyrotechnic closing argument....
The "'Irish-Italian' temper" is still there, but gone is the characterization of the man as "an olive-complected coil of rage." A search of the comments — there are 749 right now — turns up nothing for "olive-complected" or "coil" or "rage."

I can't find the older version in Google Cache or Archive.org. I wish I'd taken a screen shot.

The writer of the article is Manuel Roig-Franzia. According to his profile at WaPo, he was born in Spain. I used Google Translate to get the Spanish word for the English "olive-complected" and got "oliva," which might be a polite descriptor in Spanish. (Let me know, native Spanish speakers.) But if I go backwards, Google Translate gives me "olive" for "oliva," so I don't know where "complected" came from. Who talks like that nowadays? I haven't heard it in casual speech since the 1960s, and it was on the way out back then.

"Olive-complected" was especially bad next to "coil of rage." I get that McMonagle called attention to his own ethnicity to explain his manner of expression and his apparent emotional state, but that's his own choice for his own purpose (which is getting an acquittal for Bill Cosby), and the reporter shouldn't be participating in the ethnic stereotyping. The reporter should describe what happened and not get caught up in the fog. I don't know if there was any overt discussion of race at the trial, but there is race in the background, and McMonagle is a lawyer, using language to persuade.

If it wasn't bad, why was it changed? There's no note saying that it was changed and no comments referring to the phrase, so it seems aggressively, furtively cleaned up. 

82 comments:

Mike Sylwester said...

Olives are different colors.

Amadeus 48 said...

You must have imagined it. WaPoo would never sink to such depths under the ownership of Mr. Bezos, who is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I have ever known.

sdharms said...

for starters, "complected" is NOT A WORD.

AllenS said...

This might be a good link for olive-anything:

Olive oil...

It's a racial implication.

AReasonableMan said...

When did we turn into North Korea?

Brookzene said...

"so it seems aggressively, furtively cleaned up."

I edit my pieces pretty quickly too when I key in something that's wrong or I don't like. Not a big deal, IMO.

Ann Althouse said...

"Bobina de rabia compuesta de aceituna"... that's what Google translate gives me for "olive-complected coil of rage."

Coil of rage composed of olive.

What's the difference between "oliva" and "aceituna"?

This is an interesting question, I discover. From the Wikipedia article "Arabic language influence on the Spanish language""

"Much of the Arabic influence upon Spanish came through the various Arabized Romance dialects that were spoken in areas under Moorish rule, known today by scholars as Mozarabic. This resulted in Spanish often having both Arabic and Latin derived words with the same meaning. For example, aceituna and oliva (olive), alacrán and escorpión (scorpion), jaqueca and migraña (migraine), alcancía and hucha (piggy bank).:

readering said...

I never heard (or seen) the word complected before. Looked it up to be sure it's a real word.
(But of course it's probably in many best-sellers and I've forgotten.)

Amadeus 48 said...

ARM--January 20, 2009. :)

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Meade said...

"for starters, "complected" is NOT A WORD."

Sure it is. North American English.

Maybe the NFL team in D.C. should rename itself the Washington Olive-complected Irish-Italian Coils Of Rage.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Why am I not shocked to see Brookzene openly endorsing rewriting of published stories without notice of the changes? It's dishonest of course.

--Vance

Kansas City said...

The New York Post story claims Cosby's lawyer "gave up" during closing argument, apparently because he apologized for his behavior and asked the jury not to take it out against his client. Must be a very inexperienced reporter. That is a very common tactic for trial lawyers. As is the highly emotional argument - lawyer can't state his/her beliefs, but can implicitly convey them through emotion. From a long distance, sounds like an acquittal. Police/prosecutor not filing charges first time should equal reasonable doubt.

Bob Boyd said...

"Aceituna" is a traditional expression fishermen have long used to alert their fellows to the presence of their quarry.

AReasonableMan said...

Amadeus 48 said...
ARM--January 20, 2009.


I can't remember anything so obsequious demanded of cabinet level appointees, ever.

John Tuffnell said...

Are you sure it wasn't "olive-complected oyl of rage, who at one point apologized for saying "I y'am what I y'am!"

MayBee said...

If I had to guess (and of course, I do not) I'd guess the reporter wanted to somehow impart the reader with the knowledge that Mr Cosby does not have a black attorney.

Maybe the reporter was even afraid of writing "coil of rage" if the reader might *think* he was describing a black person.

Bay Area Guy said...

It wouldn't surprise me if Cosby is acquitted (despite his loco counsel). The delay of 10+ years on almost anything engenders a bit of reasonable doubt.

As an aside, all these "false rape" claims on campus are a direct result of the high burden to meet for a criminal conviction (beyond a reasonable doubt.) In some respects, the feminists have a point -- the high bar to criminal conviction gives certain predatory men much more leeway to misbehave in that "zone of unprovability." I think Cosby referred to that grey area between rejection and acceptance.

But, of course, the crazy feminists have swung the pendulum too far, causing chaos between the sexes at college.

Never date a feminist -- even the pretty ones. Too many headaches.

And, for you budding starlets, don't go on dates with Bill Cosby........

bob sacamano said...

Here ya go...
http://newsdiffs.org/diff/1417781/1417859/https%3A/www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/06/12/bill-cosby-trial-shocker-defense-rests-after-just-6-minutes-jury-deliberations-to-begin

John Tuffnell said...

"That is a very common tactic for trial lawyers. As is the highly emotional argument - lawyer can't state his/her beliefs, but can implicitly convey them through emotion."

Maybe acquittal, who knows? But this is as often a sign that the lawyer has jack squat to work with, so it's table pounding time. A smart prosecutor will highlight that in rebuttal and ask the jury why the defense lawyer won't engage them with reason and fact - you suggest it's because he is frustrated and knows he's lost. Then you go through the facts and highlight each time that would cause frustration but focus on the accused, not the lawyer.

Amadeus 48 said...

ARM--Well, it was their first day on the job.

But I think we have strayed from the topic of this post, which was the shoddy journalism regular put out by WaPoo. I think it is time for reporters and editors insist that their published sources have names. So many of the gossipy stories put out by Wapoo have proven to be just plain wrong. They are gossip printed as insider news.
In fact, most of the MSM have gotten most things wrong about Trump most of the time so far. There is a lot to criticize about Trump, but WaPoo is way off the track, serving up chum for chumps.

John said...

He seems to be Spanish, not Hispanic. Different entitlement under federal law.

Not a "victim" and thus fair game for ethnic slurs.

John Henry posting from Puerto Rico where the statehood option got 97% of the vote yesterday.

Who's up for an Hispanic state?

Brookzene said...

"Why am I not shocked to see Brookzene openly endorsing rewriting of published stories without notice of the changes? It's dishonest of course."

I just thought that was worth saying again.

John said...

Bob Boyd,

You can tune a guitar but you can't tuna fish.

(not even gonna sign my name to that one)

Yancey Ward said...

I had the exact same impression as MayBee above- the reporter wanted to tell you what race the attorney wasn't.

Based on the stories I have read about the trial, if I were a juror, I would come back in a minute with a not guilty verdict, but I wouldn't count on that happening.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Who's up for an failed Hispanic state?

Achilles said...

"The Washington Post launders "olive-complected coil of rage" out of its description of Bill Cosby's lawyer."

Progressive mask slips and the core of racism comes out only to be masked once more.

The Bergall said...

I thought Cosby's defense was that he was a "Hopeless Romantic"...........

Amadeus 48 said...

As to Wapoo's sins, how about putting out a story including the phrase "olive-complected coil of rage." The whole operation has gone to hell.

AReasonableMan said...

Amadeus 48 said...
Well, it was their first day on the job.


You mean they might become even more accomplished at sucking up to the boss?

Gahrie said...

so it seems aggressively, furtively cleaned up.

That happens in the strangest of places sometimes...

AllenS said...

"olive-complected" -- swarthy

AllenS said...

Want to guess how I knew the word, swarthy?

Rick said...

Who talks like that nowadays? I haven't heard it in casual speech since the 1960s, and it was on the way out back then.

Are we supposed to be horrified by "complected" or describing Mediterranean skin color as olive?

Gahrie said...

ohn Henry posting from Puerto Rico where the statehood option got 97% of the vote yesterday.

Who's up for an Hispanic state?


Statehood always wins...and never happens.

Amadeus 48 said...

ARM--It got them out of the room.

Amadeus 48 said...

AllenS--Looking at the Blogger profile, I see you are an Ojibwa of the Right Wing persuasion. My guess is that you have been called swarthy at least once in your life.

AReasonableMan said...

Amadeus 48 said...
It got them out of the room.


At what cost? The price extracted in human dignity alone seems beyond all reckoning.

Trumpit said...

Spaniards universally use the word "aceitunas" for olives. Mexicans, I'm pretty sure, say "olivas." There is a street near where I live called "Olivas Parkway," and there are many Mexicans, but few Spanish. The word for olive oil, used a lot in Spanish cooking, is aceite de oliva. An olive tree is "un olivo." Olive trees are practically sacred in the Mediterranean countries. The unique trees are gnarly-looking and live a long time.

I had to look up "olive-complected," and found "aceitunado." "Ado" being a common suffix in Spanish to create adjectives. I'm tired of the politically correctness, and wish the editor left it alone; the author was trying to be descriptive. Although if he had said that Cosby was chocolate-milk complected that wouldn't be right.

John said...

That too, Bill. (failed state)

Gahrie: yes statehood always wins but yesterday was the first time in 4-5 of these referenda that it has cracked 50% and commonwealth has fallen below 45% or so.

Will something happen? Maybe not but we are appointing reps. And senators who will go to dc and demand to be seated.

It worked for Tennessee. Let's see if it works for us.

What better way for president trump to burnish his bona fides with Hispanics than by supporting pr statehood?

Also with demmies who will be salivating over some fairly sure seats.

John Henry

Amadeus 48 said...

ARM--I didn't watch beyond Ben Carson. Did any of them kiss his ring? Usually in corporate life the object of adoration is set apart, on an elevated platform, and the underlings approach on their knees. There is a certain amount of groveling and self-abnegation, followed by praise of the great leader, who graciously acknowledges the worthiness of their praise. Things were a little different and more robust in Communist societies, where failure to be appropriately worshipful could get a bullet in the back of the neck. Trump didn't try that, did he?

Birkel said...

Obama never had to ask for loyalty from his people because they had been around him for a long time, had already displayed their undying loyalty and knew that they would face more than unkind words if they betrayed him. Loyalty was not a concern.

Just observe how many of Obama's minions went to the Congress and perjured themselves.

Brookzene said...

That happens in the strangest of places sometimes...

You dial the number and ask for a dinner reservation for however many. A white truck with "Laundry Co" stenciled on its side pulls up.

Leora said...

But aren't spanish olives green? You know the kind stuffed with redpimentos as opposed to the Greek olives which are black. That's the only kind of olives there were when I was growing up in rural upstate NY. There seem to be a lot more shades these days at the olive bars and condiment aisles.

Sebastian said...

The WaPo reporter's job is to make sure the n** who strayed off the reservation is properly stigmatized and demonized, even if he might get off. Cosby may not have rape-raped anyone, but he gave progs enough rope.

Segesta said...

Olives are mostly green and black. Somehow it's code for "suspiciously Mediterranean."

By that, uh, token I suppose I'm "Lutefisk-complected."

Michael K said...

"It wouldn't surprise me if Cosby is acquitted "

Well, if there is any justice left, which I doubt.

I just thought that was worth saying again.

Of course, you did, sweetie.

Rob said...

Democracy Dies in Olive-Complected Darkness

robother said...

Cross fighting Irish with cold pressed Sicilian vengefulness and you get olive-complected coils of rage.

Francisco D said...

Cosby has already been declared guilty by the MSM. I sense that people generally agree.

Jurors follow the median popular opinion

Personally, I see a whole lot of smoke. It's hard to believe there is no fire, but I try to remain open minded.

Mike said...

As my old journalism teacher said, "complected' isn't a word

AllenS said...

Amadeus 48, my grandparents on my mother's side were from Partinico, Palermo, Sicilia.

tcrosse said...

Does olive complexion make one a Person of Colour ?

Bob Boyd said...

AllenS said...
"my grandparents on my mother's side were from Partinico, Palermo, Sicilia."

Acknowledge your privilege.

Bay Area Guy said...

WaPost: ..."an olive-complected coil of rage who at one point apologized to for his “Irish-Italian” temper during his pyrotechnic closing argument."

Translation: This incompetent emotional attorney is NOT a black man, repeat, NOT a black man. He is IRISH and ITALIAN, not a black man. Do you Copy?

Hey, if Cosby gets acquitted, the attorney will be deemed a "genius attorney of dark olive color"

AReasonableMan said...

Amadeus 48 said...
Usually in corporate life the object of adoration is set apart, on an elevated platform, and the underlings approach on their knees. There is a certain amount of groveling and self-abnegation, followed by praise of the great leader, who graciously acknowledges the worthiness of their praise.


It did seem more corporate than political and maybe those guys are more comfortable in that kind of setting than a bunch of politicians, academics and think tankers might be.

TWW said...

"It wouldn't surprise me if Cosby is acquitted (despite his loco counsel)."

It would not surprise me either. But if he is, it will be BECAUSE of his counsel.

Rabel said...

The lawyer should have read Obama's book -

Following this maddening logic, the only thing you could choose as your own was withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage, until being olive-complected meant only the knowledge of your own powerlessness, of your own defeat.

sdharms said...

No, completed is NOT A WORD. My English teacher in HS in1966 said so. NA English is crap.

Rabel said...

Nothing rhymes with olive except for an archaic word for pulley - or Palmolive which doesn't count since it contains olive.

Orange you glad you know that.

Fernandinande said...

"I started out as a child." -- Bill Cosby.
"Pants on backwards." -- Bill Cosby.

My dad loved Bill Cosby.

Kansas City said...

I agree Cosby probably has a good lawyer for his defense and the lawyer made acquittal more likely.

He probably should be acquitted, which as I'm sure most everyone here knows, means there was not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, not that he is "innocent."

If convicted, the civil action deposition will have killed him. Hindsight is always 20/20, but giving testimony in a civil deposition, like cooperating with police, can come back to hurt you bad.

robother said...

Sounds like something you'd overhear on the Jersey Shore: "Excuse me while I whip out my olive-complected coil of rage."

Kansas City said...

Someone above said the writer probably wanted to convey that Cosby did not have a black attorney. Sounds logical in the liberal bubble of media that a writer would think it was important to convey that.

AReasonableMan said...

It is worthwhile listening to this.

Judge Napolitano: Sessions Will Be Testifying As A Witness; Dangerous Position, He Should Not Testify

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Jim Gaffigan: Latin Temper (about 0:50 in)

Joanne Jacobs said...

"Olive-complected" isn't just bizarre. It's inaccurate: The lawyer does not have an olive complexion. If the reporter thought the lawyer's race was important, he just had to quote him calling himself Irish-Italian. "Coil of rage" is conveyed by "shouted." (And I'd bet the lawyer wasn't really enraged, just acting a part.)

Glen Filthie said...

Before liberals and stupid people invented speech and thought crime, we used to laugh at stuff that makes them fill their diapers with rage today. The best one I heard recently was 'mystery meat race orphans'. HAR HAR HAR! 'Vibrants' is also a favourite.

The way I figure it is that these tools are gonna call me a racist anyways - why not indulge them and have some fun at their expense too?

The Cracker Emcee said...

"At what cost? The price extracted in human dignity alone seems beyond all reckoning."

Sort of like African-Americans voting Democrat.

khesanh0802 said...

@ARM I am not satisfied with Napolitano's analysis. I guess we'll find out tomorrow what the "perjury" danger is. As Comey said Trump is not under investigation so why does Sessions need to defend Trump?

Lydia said...

Merriam-Webster's on "complected":

"Not an error, nor a dialectal term, nor nonstandard—all of which it has been labeled—complected still manages to raise hackles. It is an Americanism, almost nonexistent in British English. Its currency in American English is attested as early as 1806 (by Meriwether Lewis) and it appears in the works of such notable American writers as Mark Twain, O. Henry, James Whitcomb Riley, and William Faulkner. The synonym complexioned, recommended by handbooks, appears now to be somewhat more common than complected in both literary and journalistic use."

Oxford has the 1806 Meriwether Lewis use in the journal he kept on the Lewis & Clark Expedition: "They are..reather lighter complected and much more illy formed than the Indians of the Missouri."

tcrosse said...

Sounds like something you'd overhear on the Jersey Shore: "Excuse me while I whip out my olive-complected coil of rage."

I got your olive-complected coil of rage right here.

William said...

Cosby doesn't need an acquittal. He just needs grounds for appeal, and then he can play out the clock.. Perhaps if his attorney appeared in olive face that would be considered prejudicial to his case and he can ask for a retrial.. I don't know if the jury will acquit him, but there is very little chance of him ever doing any jail time.......I don't know if he's innocent or guilty in this particular case, but if sixty women have come forward against him, he sure knows an extravagant number of liars.

rhhardin said...

I don't get the search and destroy game for offensive words.

Just substitute nigger for olive-complected and reduce it to a problem already exhausted to the point of a stand-off.

Kassaar said...

Aceituna is the more common word for olive in Spain. Olive-complexioned would be de tez oliva or de tez aceituna.
From a Google search I got the impression that “coil of rage” was coined by Barrack Obama. In Dreams From My Father he (or Bill Ayers) wrote: “Following this maddening logic, the only thing you could choose as your own was withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage, until being black meant only the knowledge of your own
powerlessness, of your own defeat.” I didn’t find any occurences of the phrase that are older.

Snark said...

*A previous version of this story referred to Brian McMonagle as an olive-complected coil of rage. The Post regrets this pulsating volcano of violet prose.

traditionalguy said...

Damn wops. They are culturally appropriating Scot-Irish personas.

Italians are supposed to serve their revenge cold.

traditionalguy said...

Seriously, that writing was very good, too good for fence sitters who avoid inciting passion in the readers.

Winston Churchill was a very good writer of histories, not because he was dispassionate and objective. He was good at direct descriptions of emotional events.

Maybe this will help Cosby will beat the odds.

Unknown said...

how many women are on the jury? Soap operas thrive on illogic.

I hope Cosby has his mind right now: telling people they are responsible for where they are in life?! Someone needed to take him out.

That lets funnier people like Hannibal Buress take over.

RigelDog said...

Here's what's really odd: I know Brian. He is not olive complected. He does tan well, and people in this area go to the beach a lot, so maybe that's it. But in the winter, you would never think, "there's an olive-complected, Italian guy." He looks more Irish. Handsome too.

Michael McClain said...

Black olive or green olive?