So one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten about writing comes from an old version of the AP Stylebook, and I read it when I was a fresh young copyeditor getting my start at my college paper. It said, or at least I remember it saying, that the word controversial should not be used because literally everything is controversial and the word is therefore meaningless. I realized at the time that this was true, but what I have learned in the ensuing years is that those who use the word are almost always trying to soft-pedal something inexcusable. So it is with Kanye West’s recent antisemitic remarks, which you can find on your own if you feel the need to do that. Distressingly few commenters are willing to apply the word antisemitism to them, even though they contain (however nonsensically) DEATH THREATS AGAINST JEWISH PEOPLE AS A WHOLE. The caps there are my attempt to make up for the cowardice of the myriad people describing these remarks as “controversial” or, say, “polarizing.” And they are controversial and polarizing. They create a controversy between people who are antisemites and people who aren’t. They polarize people into two groups: those who are antisemites and those who aren’t. See how that works? Cutting out the middleman and just saying antisemite is simply better writing, but bonus: it also makes you not a contemptible sack of shit who wants to both-sides the normalization of fascism.

Never use the word controversial, OK? It is a word for cowards, and writers have to be brave. Like Jews.