On Mayor Bloomberg’s Use of the Word “Wilding” (and the Post’s Rewriting of History)

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04/06/2010 1:30 PM |


So Mayor Bloomberg described this weekend’s gang initiation frenzy in Times Square as a “wilding,” which is kind of stunning, actually: the sitting mayor just compared his New York to the New York of the late 80s, all wild income disparities, fled neighborhoods, nationally famous crimes.

The Times, taking note of the word “wilding,” explains that the “term… first became popular in 1989 in connection with the infamous Central Park jogger rape case, a time when crime in the city was at its highest,” and then contextualizes Sunday night’s lawlessness in terms of contemporary crime and economic conditions and public sentiment. Compare that to the Post article, “Times Square gang riot spurs fear“:

The word “wilding” entered the city’s lexicon in 1989 during the NYPD investigation of the brutal rape of a jogger in Central Park.

Several youths questioned in the attack had used the term to describe their activities that day.

“Several youths questioned in the attack”? That’s one way to put it. “Questioned,” jesus christ. Don’t expect an accurate history lesson from a right-wing scandal rag, is the lesson here.

I mean, I know a lot of people in the city right now don’t remember the Central Park Jogger case. But surely there’s a way to give that background without doing a total whitewash on the NYPD? Given, you know, the facts of the case.