WaPo’s Weigel Wants to Talk More on ‘Hug’


We’re game to talk more with WaPo‘s conservative blogger Dave Weigel on his use of the word “hug.” But oh, no, is he going to eventually ask to “hug” and make up? I nominate my co-editor Matt Dornic for that potential ordeal, although I’d suggest Dornic wear cushioning and layers if this happens. And maybe a neck brace.

Backgrounder: Weigel in a story Monday described the incident between Rep Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) as a “hug”. He took issue with me when I dared to question his use of the word “hug,” which to me and most dictionaries conjures up warm and fuzzy feelings, as opposed to say, a rough neck grabbing.

Weigel’s original post: “The second camera rolled as Etheridge, irritated, held the wrist of the first cameraman, then pulled the student to his side and grabbed him in a hug.”

This morning Weigel sent me several definitions of “hug.” He still contends his use of “hug” was fitting. Here’s what he came up with:

From Merriam Webster:
1. to press tightly especially in the arms
2. congratulate b: to hold fast : cherish
3. to stay close to
Etymology: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse hugga to soothe.

Weigel also offers me this blog entry from Big Government’s Ben Shapiro, who also uses the word “hugging”: “When one watches Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) pushing a camera, grabbing a college student by the arm, collaring him around the neck, and finally hugging him to his body in order to threaten him for information about his identity, one thing becomes absolutely clear: this guy is a moron.”


Note to Weigel: While I appreciate your attempts to educate me in the area of hug verbiage, I do not believe “hug” has any proper place in the incident of Etheridge grabbing the student in a near headlock or neck squeeze. I would encourage you again to study these pictures of teddy bears and see if we can embrace (pun intended) a true understanding of the word “hug.” I’ve also highlighted words in your definitions above that don’t strike me as anything close to what happened between Etheridge and the student.

> Update: I asked Weigel if he had it to do over again, would he describe the incident differently? He replied, “No, what I said was clear and people chose to misinterpret it.” (Fishbowlers, I can see we have a looooong way to go here.)