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Monday, April 16, 2007

Let's See Who Can We Offend And Get Away With It?

Guys like Don Imus need to be more careful who they insult. It can be a career killer if you offend the wrong people in this country. Try googling "Don Imus" for instance. You'll see page after page describing the controversy as a "firestorm" . What the aged shock jock did (for those of you who were hiding under a rock the past two weeks) was to drop a racial slur in the process of making one of his crude jokes on his morning show.s. No matter that the slur is in common use. I searched the term on Google and got more than one million hits.  Because he used the term, he's at least temporarily unemployed and may be unemployable for the forseeable future.

A cartoonist prints an arguably funny cartoon in a tiny little Sunday supplement of a newspaper with a miniscule readership. It depicts the prophet Mohammed. That offends Muslims. The worldwide media turns it into a witch hunt, castegating the author as though he were guilty of genocide, baby-killing and driving an SUV.

The president of Iran leads groups of Iranian citizens in chanting "Death to America, Death to the Jews!" It doesn't make the mainstream news anywhere.

A judge hangs the ten commandments in his courtroom and the media creates a "firestorm" over it, hammering on about the story over and over. An atheist family sues a school district because their daughter's school sponsors the recital of the pledge of allegiance with the words "under God" included. The pundits and "experts" carry on a mighty debate for months, largely supportive of the offended atheists.

Rosie O'Donnell on ABC's The View said that "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state." It started a row in the religious media. If you google it, however, you'll have to wade through 109 entries before you get to a mainstream news outlet that reports on the incident (Fox predictably).

The media wailed in anquish for months over the morality of "Arab profiling" by airport security in the months after 9 terrorists (Arabs, all male, age 20-45) wiped out three plane loads of people, The Twin Towers and damaged the Pentagon.

Then, early this month, the Burlington Township High School ran a terrorist attack drill featuring a scenario where "Right Wing Crusaders" who don't like the public school system take kids hostage because the school wouldn't let a child pray before class. I guess that the school board and local police department who sponsored the drill decided fundamentalist Christians were the only group left you could safely offend.

I had to go down 49 entries on a Google search before I found a mainstream media outlet (Fox again) that even reported the incident. Surprise, no firestorm from the mainstream!

Well why should they report it. White Christians are the only minority group left that you can safely insult. Rosie can call us more dangerous than Islamic terrorists, Bill Mahrer can say religion is a neurological disorder. Melissa McEwan can call Christians "Christofascist Godbags".  No one in the mainstream reports it, much less finds a problem with it.

Here's what I get from that.

  1. You must not under any circumstances say anything negative about black people, Hispanics, Muslims, Buddhists or any other religion that comprises a minority.
  2. If you, under any circumstances, you do even inadvertently offend such people, you should lose your job and have your life ruined as completely as possible.
  3. If you are white (male or female), fat, conservative (or better yet a fat conservative), Christian, Asian-American, Jewish or wealthy, then Don Imus, Rosie O'Donnell or Bill Mahrer are free to call you whatever name they want to (and have) without much fear of anything bad happening to them. Imus' problem was that he was so secure that his liberal base was with him that he got too familiar. Spike Lee can use the same term to refer to black women and it's okay. Don found out that he wasn't black enough to get away with it, no matter whether he intended it to be racist or not. He probably meant it to be racist in a non-racist sort of way - under the "as-long-as-it's-funny-it's-okay" principle. I don't thing Imus should have been fired for the racist remark - he's made plenty of those so it was no big surprise. What he should be fired for is for not being particularly funny. He's just offensive. Where's the entertainment in that?
Poor Imus. He really blew this one. This was a perfect opportunity for the left to attack the bain of their existence - radio talk show hosts. It doesn't matter if he was one of their own camp followers, these guys eat their young (and old apparently). If one radio talk host screws up, it's a perfect excuse to conduct a witch hunt for all talk show hosts the mainstream media and left wing politicians disagree with. If they set fire to one of their own, so what. The opportunity was just too good to miss. If you can blow up Imus and skewer Rush, Glenn or Sean with a thigh bone fragment, no sacrifice is too great (especially somebody else's sacrifice). These guys remind me of Aztec priests standing over their bloody alters screaming, "Next!"

Make no mistake. This whole big furor is not about race. It's about power. The mainstream media and the left wing establishment that supervised the training and creation of the mainstream media have been seeing their power base slip away at the hands of bloggers, talk show hosts and upstart media like FoxNews and other suddenly popular news alternatives that are draining the big boys' ratings.

To be fair to Don Imus, he also picks on Arabs, women, Asians and practically everybody else. He was an equal opportunity offender. Maybe what his case teaches us is that the folks you want to be careful not to offend are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. When those two go after you, you can bet everybody else that doesn't want to face the wrath of "Jesse and Al" is going to line up behind the two of them and start beating you up, "Look, Al. Hey Jesse, see this. I'm really whupping up on these guys. Please don't sue me or anything."

What's hilarious is that the left is blaming the uproar on the right and the right is blaming it on the left. And we have the nerve to decry the tribal violence in Africa and the Balkans. What else is this, but plain old tribal warfare. The far right and the far left are both guilty of it. None of it helps solve the problems of the world.

I just wish we could get them to lighten up on Christians. "If you prick us do we not bleed?" To listen to the media today, you'd assume Christians carried assault rifles and dragged negroes, Arabs and homosexuals around with our pickups as our primary means of recreation. Sure we've had our share of nutcase terrorists (anti-abortion bombers - which doesn't make ANY sense to me, gun toting weirdoes like David Koresh and cult leaders like Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite). Those guys aren't any more Christian than Osama is a true Muslim. Very few Christian ministers preach "Death" to anyone or any particular country or culture from the pulpit. I've never seen even the most radical of Christian televangelists suggest training Christian children to strap bombs to their bodies and blow up their fellow human beings.

So lay off a little okay? We might have to get "offended". Of course, it wouldn't matter unless we were willing to blow some things up because of it and since most Christians are hemmed in by that pesky old Golden Rule, there's not much fear of that so who cares whether Christians get offended or not.

Just one man's opinion...

Tom King

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