Don't tap that

I’m not quite sure how it came to pass in journalism that people selected for government appointments are almost invariably tapped, rather than chosen, named, or picked. I’ve always disliked the word myself, no doubt because of my distaste for college fraternities, which have traditionally used that verb to signify the selection of members.

Now, thanks mainly to the Young People, bless them all, I’ve got a reason in addition to frat-aversion to object. To tap in current vernacular—you knew this already, didn’t you?—means to engage in intercourse. It is commonly expressed as I’d tap that as, I suppose, a statement of admiration, but of the smarmy, derogatory admiration of the male reducing the female to her components. (Same contamination happened to booty.)

Last night I didn’t change an article that spoke of a woman being tapped for a federal post, but perhaps I should have. And in the future, I probably will.

But I’m not inflexible. I’ll raise no objection every spring when we run the stories on tapping the maple trees to make syrup.


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