The New York Times posted an apology one minute after midnight on Monday: “At New York Times Games,” the Paper of Record announced sonorously, “we take our role seriously as a place to entertain and escape, and we want Wordle to remain distinct from the news.” Yes, you know how determined the Left is to avoid the politicization of everything, right? Wordle, the massively popular daily puzzle that has people guess a five-letter word every day, had crossed the line: Monday’s word (spoiler alert!) was “fetus,” and the Times felt it necessary to give the world a trigger warning.
“It’s been just over three months,” the Times’ Everdeen Mason observed, “since The New York Times acquired Wordle, the hugely popular puzzle created by Josh Wardle.” And in that span, apparently, everything had gone flawlessly. But not Monday: “Wordle continues to delight millions of people every day, but as we move it over to The Times’s technology, we have continued to discover challenges.” Challenges? It’s a five-letter-word game. What possible challenges could there be? Why, offense to the perpetually and instantly offended, of course: “Today, for example, some users may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event. This is entirely unintentional and a coincidence — today’s original answer was loaded into Wordle last year.”
That’s what you get for working a year ahead, Gray Lady. What if you set up “crash” as a Wordle of the day and then Old Joe Biden’s stock market takes a dive? Would you issue an abject apology like the one you issued Monday if one of your Wordles of the day turns out to be “idiot” on the same day that Old Joe or Kamala Harris toss some more of their word salad wisdom at us?
The Times would no doubt consider such questions impertinent. But after cheering on the Left’s relentless politicization of everything for the last few years, it’s astonishing to see the Times make such an abrupt turnaround and decide that Wordle, apparently alone among everything in the world, must “remain distinct from the news.” News reporting is hopelessly political, entertainment is irritatingly political, and advertising is more about pushing social agendas than selling products, but Wordle must remain pure, unsullied by the headlines of the day!
This is, of course, only because “fetus” was the word in question, reminding the Times’ dwindling coterie of hardcore Leftist readers that Roe v. Wade could conceivably be overturned if the Left’s campaign of intimidation and violence fails to intimidate any of the Justices into changing his or her vote. If the word had been “steal,” as in “steal an election,” do you think that the Times would be apologizing for offending the tender sensibilities of those who believe that not every last detail regarding the 2020 presidential election was on the up-and-up?
But when it comes to protecting their Leftist base, the Times was ready to pull out all the stops and did everything it could: “But because of the current Wordle technology, it can be difficult to change words that have already been loaded into the game. When we discovered last week that this particular word would be featured today, we switched it for as many solvers as possible.” Alas, however, some people will still see the offensive word: “You won’t receive the outdated version if you have refreshed your browser window. But we know that some people won’t do that and, as a result, will be asked to solve the outdated puzzle.”
Sensing the Leftist mob approaching, the Times pleads for mercy: “We want to emphasize that this is a very unusual circumstance. When we acquired Wordle in January, it had been built for a relatively small group of users. We’re now busy revamping Wordle’s technology so that everyone always receives the same word. We are committed to ensuring that tens of millions of people have a gratifying and consistent experience, every day.” Especially if, and actually only if, they’re Leftists.
We can glean one fact from this controversy: even the word “fetus” is now offensive to Leftists. If, by some mischance, some Leftist guy discovers that he/zhe is in the family way, he/they must announce to the world that a clump of cells is in the offing, that is, if the delicate sensibilities of one of the clump’s two fathers is willing to suffer it to grow and develop. Eventually, when the clump is two or five or seven years old, his or her or zher birthing and non-birthing parents may decide that it is indeed a human being. But that’s entirely their choice, you bigot, and how dare The New York Times remind Leftists of the biological realities they are working so strenuously to ignore and deny?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.