Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Imus Be Kidding 

There's been a teapot dome in a tempest over Don Imus's latest "racist" comments on the air, and at first blush I was ready to jump on the bandwagon. After all, I still remembered his "nappy-headed ho" comment from last year, and was mystified that he was not fired over it.

But then, in looking for his latest comments after seeing them mentioned in an online poll, I ran across a transcript of a bit more of that infamous previous conversation, and began to re-examine what was said and what we think was said.

The whole thing is preserved in the Don Imus Wikipedia article. Since the same exchange also appears on the Media Matters site, I'll take it as accurate, and you can read it in either place. I'll wait until you come back.

On balance, it is actually Imus's Executive Producer who made more racist comments, both in quantity and tone. When Imus describes the women's team as rough girls -- they have tattoos -- it's his producer, Bernard McGuirk who chimes in with "hard-core hos", Imus's "nappy-headed hos" comment almost seems reflexive. Now, in the original coverage, this is where the exchange stopped: "That's some nappy-headed hos there." Let's look at what followed in the conversation:
IMUS: ...I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some -- woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like -- kinda like -- I don't know.

McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.

IMUS: Yeah.

McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes -- that movie that he had.

IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough --

McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
Now, re-read this carefully, because it becomes obvious that McGuirk is the one driving the bus. Imus compliments the women, no hint of racism there, and then McGuirk runs with it. (Note, though, that his reference to "jigaboos" is accurate, even if co-host McCord names the wrong film. It was actually School Daze in which darker and lighter skinned college co-eds faced off against each other in a musical number, each accusing the other of being various not polite things.)

The point here is, in retrospect, it looks more like Imus was caught in the middle here, rather like the person with a bigoted father-in-law who can only stand there and fume silently while their spouse's dad reels off one racial epithet after another.

Now, to Imus's latest alleged faux pas -- I'm much more willing to give this one a pass knowing that there is very obviously a missing piece without which no one can truly judge. Here's the relevant exchange:
WARNER WOLF: Defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys, here's a guy suspended all of 2007, following a shooting in a Vegas nightclub.

DON IMUS: Well, stuff happens. You're in a nightclub, for God's sake. What do you think is gonna happen in a nightclub. People are drinking, and doing drugs. There are women there and people have guns. So there, go ahead.

WARNER WOLF: Also, he's been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.

DON IMUS: What color is he?

WARNER WOLF: He's African-American.

DON IMUS: Well there you go, now we know
And suddenly -- controversy. But there's one problem. This is radio. People talk and talk and talk -- so something came next, and it's been left out. There is a huge, huge difference between someone following this sentence with something like "If he were white, that never would have happened", instead of "That's just a typical n----- for you." Given the expanded version of the Imus quote (and his apologies therefore) and his explanation in light of the quote coming out, I'm inclined to believe that his intent was more along the lines of the former; actually supportive and pointing out the sad fact that, in America, a person of color is far more likely to be arrested for minor offenses than a white person.

Sports reporters say more offensive and stupid things every day -- that's their job. So why is this suddenly becoming a big issue?

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this were an intentional attempt at media-manipulation of the public, either on behalf of the mainstream media, or because of well aimed and timed press releases. With, presumably, an old white guy and a young black man about to face off for the presidency, there is some benefit to those who want to stay in power to stir up the racial tension in this country, in hopes that an over-reaction by the usual suspects (Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and, oh they pray, Reverend Wright) will hurt Obama and favor McCain.

Don't fall for the bullshit. Find the details that are left out of any controversial story this time of the election cycle, and you'll find out who is trying to manipulate the truth and steal the election.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

A God Departs... 

Today, George Carlin left us. For four decades, he was the class clown, the court jester, the social commentator, the comedy god who tried to inject sanity into our screwed up world. Occupation: Fool. Eulogy: Giant among Giants.

George Carlin was the moral successor to Lenny Bruce. Unfortunately, no one took up his torch, and the world will be a darker place without him.

Good night, funny man. Thank you for the words you've left us.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Yesterday, He Was a Prick... 

Death doth make hypocrites of us all. Yesterday, you could find plenty of people who hated Tim Russert and thought he was the biggest prick in the universe. He drops dead, and the people who had good reason to consider him a waste of flesh drop into the woodwork.

I refuse to be a hypocrite here. Tim Russert was a total douchebag. Now that he's dead, the mainsteam media might manage to pick up one half of one percent of its wasted integrity. Maybe. But a major reason they had none was... Tim Russert. He was an asshole who lowered the bar, and now he's dead. Good fucking riddance. May he rot in the lowest circle of hell.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

McCain Is Just Another Bush, #1 

As reported by Fox News, at a recent Town Hall meeting in New Jersey, John McCain said of the recent Supreme Court decision allowing detainees at Guantanamo to seek hearings about their detention in American courts:
“We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called … habeas corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material. And we are going to be bollixed up in a way that is terribly unfortunate because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases..."
I'm sure he'd consider lawsuits about being held without charges for years or being tortured to be frivolous as well.

In mocking habeas corpus, which is one of the fundamental rights granted to Americans, McCain just proves he has the same contempt for the Constitution as George Bush. And McCain proves he does not deserve the job of President.

Contrast this with Barack Obama's comment, which proves that he gets it:
“[This ruling] ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice while also protecting our core values... The Court’s decision is a rejection of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain... This is an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.”

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

An Open Letter to the Democrats in Congress 

Regarding Dennis Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment against George Bush: This is something that should have been done the same day the current Congress was sworn in. In fact, it is one of the reasons the Democratic Party was voted into the majority in November, 2006. Nearly two years later, the Democrats have done nothing that the people expressed demand for in that election. Our troops are still fighting -- and dying -- in Iraq, the Executive Branch is trying to lie us again into another war in Iran, more evidence of very high crimes and misdemeanors in the Oval Office surfaces every day with nothing done about it. All the while, the economy has gone in the tank because we've squandered America's good will abroad, along with a large part of her treasury, destroying her reputation and the dollar in the process.

And yet, the person responsible is still in power. By not taking action, it just tells the rest of the world that all Americans agree with the course this country has taken, endangering Americans everywhere. Of course, this proposition is not true -- the vast majority of Americans support impeachment. Congress is elected to serve the Will of the People, not lobbyists and their own possibility of re-election.

I have little doubt that the Democrats will win elections by landslides this fall, because of what the Republicans have done to wreck this great country in the last seven years. I have no doubts that if the Democrats don't work to repair the damage and punish the perpetrators, the president elected in 2012 will be a member of neither party.

Listen to your presidential nominee's motto: "Change."


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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Unfucking Believeable 

So... some frigid bitch named Sara Dewitt gets her panties in a knot because her son's sex ed teacher actually taught the students sex ed, and now she's suddenly gotten a State Representative promising a bill to make such an outrage illegal.

From the article:
Wimmer said he decided to act after hearing this week from parents about an incident at Fort Herriman Middle School. The Jordan School District is investigating allegations that a seventh- and eighth-grade health teacher violated the sex education statute by responding to questions from students about topics beyond the core curriculum, including homosexual sex, oral sex and masturbation. [emphasis added]
Oh, heaven forbid. Seventh and eight graders are around thirteen and fourteen years old. I know all the adults seem to have forgotten, but that's around the time (and earlier, nowadays) that the beast of puberty rears its ugly head. Suddenly, little Timmy is growing hair in weird places and having tingly feelings "down there" while Mr. Peepee suddenly starts to get big at inopportune times. Little Sally might start to not be so little anymore, or so fresh, and will suddenly start bleeding in her special garden one day. All of them will also suffer zits galore, awkward growth spurts, weird changes to parts of their body, and the rage of the rampant hormones. Girls will suddenly really start to enjoy riding a bicycle, and boys will start waking up feeling happy and sticky. Like it or not, most of the little boys will figure out how to masturbate, and once the first little girl in your kid's school figures out orgasms, all the other little girls will at least hear of them. They will fantasize about sex, and the secret objects of their desire will be whichever gender to which they're attracted. Yes, little gay and lesbian middle schoolers fantasize about the same sex, just like straight ones do about the opposite sex.

Puberty is a time of change, fear, awkwardness and emotionalism. It's when your children transition to adolescence while thinking they're now adults. They think they know everything, they don't trust grown ups, and they'll get away with every single thing they can.

There's two things you cannot do to people in this situation. One, you cannot trust them to their own devices on important matters. The cool students will repeat misinformation or make things up, and it will spread as gospel truth, with devastating consequences. Your child's real sex ed class would consist of such great advice as "You can't get pregnant the first time" or "You can't catch an STD from oral sex" or "You can use aspirin or Coke-a-Cola as birth control." Consequently, you get to watch teen pregnancy and STDs sky-rocket. Still, heaven forbid that middle schoolers should learn about s-e-x.

The second thing you cannot do to those middle schoolers is prohibit normal behaviors. They'll figure out that there's nothing wrong with doing it -- grown-ups do it all the time. And then they'll become determined to do it, because the grown-ups say "No." It's so true it's a cliché -- the children who grow up in the most repressed households become the biggest sluts in the universe, both male and female.

So, let's look again at the "crime" the unnamed teacher committed. She answered children's questions that, while not part of the curriculum, were part of the topic. She taught them. She educated. She did her fucking job. And a small gang of sterlized nitwits want to make that a crime.

Their argument is that the teacher went outside the approved curriculum. But -- why should any subject in school have a rigid box around it? Education is about exploring, going beyond the original lesson to find more information. An education should inspire its students to learn. What the students did in this case was no different than students in a history class on World War II asking the teacher to explain how and why the Great Depression happened. Can you imagine the ridiculousness of something like that being illegal, and landing the hapless teacher on a registered sex offender's list?

Oh yeah, that's right -- the douchebag sponsoring this whole thing wants to force teachers charged under this law to register. Just what we need. Fewer teachers for no good reason.

In context of the history argument above, do keep in mind that these same people wouldn't have a problem with outlawing any mention of Darwin in a biology class. They are limited, narrow-minded, stupid and useless. They cannot see that what they think they're doing to help their children by way of keeping them sexless and ignorant will actually push them to be sexually active -- and ignorant.

Here's an irony for them: Roe v. Wade was the direct result of exactly this Ostrich-like view of sex. After World War II, kids weren't really taught much about sex beyond basic biology; diagrams of the uterus and male genitals, explanations of what happens when Mr. Sperm meets Ms..., er. Mrs. Egg. (She'd have to be Mrs. Egg. Miss Egg was assumed to not have sex.) And that was about it. Consequence: an increase in unwed teen pregnancies, resulting in forced marriage or frantic trips to back alley abortionists. Girls died. Lives were ruined. Finally, one woman openly defied her state's abortion law, took it all the way to the Supreme Court and won. That anonymous woman, Jane Roe, fought back for all the tragedy caused by a close-minded attitude. The result was that logic and natural rights won out. On another front, the attitude also inspired the invention of Birth Control, another way to free young couples from the tyranny of unintended fertilization.

Again, this anti-sex attitude created the Gay Rights movement and led directly to the near to successful clamor for legal same-sex marriage. If, all along, society's attitude had been "Oh, we know there are gay people, they can go do what they want and as long as they don't force it on us we don't care", then there may never have been a need for any such movement or effort to create a unique identity. Indeed, at times where the gay issue really wasn't a major social concern because other problems were bigger (see the 1930s) there wasn't really anything resembling a gay community outside of Broadway Theatre. It wasn't because they were marginalized, it's because they were ignored. Watch movies made during the Depression some time; you'll find thinly veiled gay references everywhere, not as moral judgement, but just as part of society as a whole. It was during this era, after all, that Cary Grant became the first actor to ever use the word "gay" in its modern context on film. Contrast, twenty some-odd years later, Lucy Ball used the word "gay" in its old sense of "happy and delightful" on television. And, by this point post-war paranoia and McCarthyism had equated being gay with being a communist subversive, intent on destroying the American way. It had actually begun at the end of World War II, when lots of men in lots of units far and wide realized they preferred their own sex. When they sailed back to America, instead of going home they created new homes wherever they landed, which is why the big port towns -- San Francisco, Long Beach, New York, Miami -- became the nuclei of the first gay communities, which were secretly thriving by the 50s. This created the sense of gay community at the same time that gays were being openly persecuted for the first time in a long time. By 1969, they refused to take it anymore and rebelled. The Stonewall Riots, born of the sexless, close-minded attitude, exploded into the gay rights movement that has made their community a permanent part of the American community. Don't want your kids' teacher to talk about homosexuality? Don't worry. Your kids already know all about it and, chances are, they do not view it as the enormous evil that you do; they view it as just another facet of human personality, something they're either into or not, and something they don't feel a particular need to judge other people for.

Don't feel that need, that is, if they manage to grow up without their head up their ass, as the parents in this case seem to have done. The tiny slivers of mitigation are this: the school in question is in Utah, which is naturally quaranteened from infecting the rest of the country; and the Rep considering the bill said he would sponsor it in January. I hope this translates into: "By the time January rolls around, these rubes won't remember what they're so pissed about, because the next big scandal will happen, so I can conveniently grandstand now and do nothing later."

One can hope that he's crazy like a fox. And not just flat-out religiously insane, like the parents in this case, who should never have been allowed to breed in the first place.

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