Web Search nikon coolpix digital cameras The Miserable Annals of the Earth: Several matters

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Several matters

* * * Okay, I've been trying to keep my mouth shut on the whole Imus "nappy headed hoes" thing. I'm conflicted on it; while I'm a fervent believer in absolute freedom of expression unless said expression demonstrates a clear danger to some bystander's health and/or safety, still, Imus is a jackass, and when you're a jackass on TV and in the media, people are going to respond, which they have a right to do. So I've tried to see it as a wash, and avoid saying anything, because on principle, anything I say is going to sound like I'm defending Imus, and, well, Imus is a blowhole and I don't want to defend him.

And this should probably be over on the poli-blog, anyway, and maybe I'll excerpt it for that when I'm done here.

Anyway, I tried to stay out of it. But then I go over here, and I'm reading about the Reverend Al Sharpton, who is a galaxy class asshole, leading the protests against Imus and his idiotic behavior, and, well... it's hard to stay out. But I was doing it. I was doing it.

And then I read this --

Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a director of CBS Corp., told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he hoped CBS would "make the smart decision" by firing Imus.

"He's crossed the line, he's violated our community," Gordon said in a telephone interview. "He needs to face the consequence of that violation."

For us old timey superhero comics geeks, there's a little guffaw in there, as 'Bruce Gordon' is the name of the beleaguered scientist who occasionally freaks out and turns into Eclipso, a crazy ass megalomaniac with superpowers who keeps trying to plunge the entire Earth into darkness, or some shit. But that's very much by the by. I have no idea (beyond what the article tells me) who the real Bruce Gordon is, but I will say this -- he's not a part of the solution. He's a part of the problem.

I have said this before, and I will doubtless say it again and again and again as these things keep coming up -- being offended is not the same thing as being hurt, or, in this case, as Mr. Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a director of CBS Corp., put it to the Associated Press, being violated.

We make this mistake constantly in our culture. We believe that if someone does something that offends us, they have deliberately assaulted us, they have harmed us, they have done us an injury from which we, in legal parlance, 'need to be made whole'. This is egregious horseshit. Speech is not a punch in the mouth, no matter how deeply you may be offended by something someone else said. As an adult, if you are offended by something, you have a simple, sovereign remedy -- stop paying attention to it.

Imus is a fucking asshat, and there's no getting around that. But he does not have the power to control what station you set your radio or your television to. If you don't like his particular brand of dipshittiness, then you have many, many other broadcasts you can audit in his stead... or, you know, you could turn the fucking boxes all off and go talk to your kids, or something.

Havign said that, for something like the millionth time, let me add this -- stuff like this is not cut and dried. Imus has a right to freedom of speech, as do the people who are offended by how he exercises it. However, what it seems to me that people are offended most by with someone like Imus is not that he's a jackass, but that he's a jackass who speaks to a large and very receptive, very enthusiastic audience who loves his shit and who support him with their wallets, or at least, by lending him their brains for a few hours every day so advertisers will continue to support him with said wallets.

Now, Imus does not have a right to the job he currently holds. He has that job because he makes money for his employer; if he stops making money for his employer, his employer has a right to fire him. And the people whom Imus has offended have a right to speak out and to organize in protest against Imus in this regard; they have a right to bring whatever pressure it is they may be able to on Imus' employer through threatened boycotts of advertisers, etc. As it turns out, this same article I referred to above also makes the following clear:

Even as advertisers defected and politicians piled on, it was an internal mutiny within NBC News about Don Imus' racial slur that was key to pulling the plug on his MSNBC simulcast.
About 30 angry NBC News employees, many of them black, met with news division president Steve Capus less than 24 hours before Capus decided that a two-week suspension of Imus' morning telecast wasn't enough.

They said they'd had it with Imus' brand of coarse ethnic humor, capped with last week's reference to the Rutgers female basketball players as "nappy-headed hos."

"Within this organization, this had touched a nerve," Capus said Wednesday. "The comment that came through to us, time and time again, was `when is enough going to be enough?' This was the only action we could take."

And even Presidential candidates had to pile on:

Democrat Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first presidential candidate to call for Imus to be fired. "He didn't just cross the line, he fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America," said Obama, the only black candidate in the race.

Now, I have to tell you, I'd have a great deal more respect for Obama if he'd come out and said something truly controversial regarding every American's right to freedom of speech, even when said speech is truly, mortifyingly offensive and goddam fucking stupid, to boot. As Ted Rall and many others (including me) have noted in the past, it's easy to support other people's freedom to say things we approve of. Nonetheless, it must be noted -- Imus isn't facing arrest, nor has the Federal government threatened to suspend his employers' broadcast license over this, nor has anyone been violent towards him over it (although I don't doubt he's gotten some threats in that vein). What Imus is facing is intense, widespread social opprobrium over some truly, virulently hateful remarks he made. Does he have a right to make those remarks? Sure. But actions have consequences, and he does not have a right to a job as a popular shock jock.

So, as I say -- it's complicated and I'm conflicted. I'm not defending Imus; he's generally a dickhead and what he said in this case was truly, monumentally dickheaded. But however offense his words were, they do not rise to the level of a 'violation' of anyone. And I believe our culture and our civilization would be much further forward if every putative adult simply ignored contemptible, weak-minded shit like this. In fact, if every putative adult did ignore this kind of nonsense, then there wouldn't be a problem at all -- because dimbulbs like Don Imus wouldn't have an audience to begin with.

* * * Moving on from this to more personal stuff, I've changed jobs. I'm four days in to my new employment and so far it's a gas. Great people to work with, slightly more money than my last job, and, well, I'm not working at a call center any more. I'm downtown and can ride to and from work with SuperFiancee, which is lovely, and while my job is customer service, I'm providing clerical support to a large corporation, and my interactions with 'customers' are much more one on one. My 'customers' are all professionals, too, not walk ins from the street, so while the job is demanding, and I have a great deal yet to learn, it's still orders of magnitude more pleasant than my previous post.

If I seem to be being somewhat vague, well, reality is haunted by malevolent dumbasses, and some of them yearn to see me unemployed. So if you want the lowdown, shoot me an email.

And past all this, SuperFiancee has been down for the last two days with some killer stomach bug, and all good thoughts and energy you can spare I'd like you to direct her way. I worry about her.

We're also worried about weather for the wedding, on the 21st. Try to hold a good thought in your head for that, as well.

Okay, I'd best be about my business. Good Thursday to everybody.


At 9:42 AM , Blogger HoosierGirl5 said...

Hey there...
You can post this if you want or if you don't, I understand.

Congratulations on your new job. I know how important it is to feel content in one's work, so I'm glad you got away from the stress of the other job.
I am not (nor was I ever) the one who wanted to see you unemployed. Believe me or not, it wasn't me.
I hope the weather straightens out for the wedding. Good luck.

At 10:11 AM , Blogger Highlander said...


I regard myself as a reasonably civil person, and try to not only maintain a level of civility in my comment threads, but to enforce one on others by moderating said threads. However, there are exceptions to every rule.

While I appreciate the civil tone you are attempting to convey here, I am aware it is not for my benefit, but, rather, you are playing to whatever audience it is you think I may have over here. Which is sad, since last I checked, about seven people total read this thing.

Whatever the case, while civility often dictates an unpleasant but essential practice of hypocrisy in day to day life, that really only obtains between people who are forced to maintain amicable relationships, such as family, or co-workers. You and I are not required in any way to have a relationship, and I have no desire to play to any audience, so I do not need to be hypocritical with you. Hence:

You have insulted me many, many times. I can roll with that; your insults and behavior reflect for more on your character than on mine. You have also lied to me more times than I want to bother counting right now. That's less acceptable to me, but, what the hell.

What is not acceptable to me is the way you have continually insulted my fiancee and our children, and the way your foolish, stupid, malicious behavior has caused them emotional upset and put them in actual danger.

Now, I know, I know -- first, you didn't post our PHI to the Internet, that was your ex boyfriend, it was all on him, despite the fact that it was done from your home computer and I do not believe for a second that he would think up a stunt like that entirely on his own, or, if he did, that you did not have knowledge of it from the start and actively cheer him on. But, whatever.

I also understand that you believe that posting someone's address on the Internet is just a harmless prank that would have no negative repercussions whatsoever if said someone wasn't running their mouth all over the Internet, and I accept that you believe this, because, of course, you are perfectly happy to post your own personal information where anyone can see it, trusting to the goodwill and gentle nature of all your fellow men. And that's commendable.

Regardless of all this, I am small and petty and mean spirited enough that, when I hear of you 'rolling your eyes' at my fiancee in someone else's comment threads, when I recall how poor a father figure and parent I am in your eyes because I do not drive and do not have a college degree, when I recollect how you did not bother to take a seven year old girl in your care to get medical attention after she was bitten by your family's dog, when I remember how you have insulted and threatened the finest woman I have ever known, and when I reflect on the fact that somewhere on the Internet within (at MOST) the past week or so, I have no doubt you have said something egregiously insulting about me or someone I love, after we have tried very hard to be far more friendly, pleasant, kind, and generally civil to you than your behavior, character, or essential nature have ever merited... well... here is the destination I arrive at:

I do not like you. You are not welcome in my home, on my blog, in my email inbox, or on my phone line. I wish to GOD you would just go away and leave me, and my family, alone. I do not regard you as pleasant company, as a good influence on my or anyone else's children, and, most importantly, I do not regard you as a safe or trustworthy person to have around.

Please, please, please, fuck the fuck off.

At 3:14 PM , Blogger Tony Collett said...

Good to hear you've got a new job you like better. I was afraid you would be stuck in the trap of being in a bad job that sucked out so much energy you couldn't find a better one.
And I just sent SF a get well e-mail. I was thinking about one of those electronic cards, but I didn't know if she would get to the computer (or if you'd let her, it seems you're hogging it most of the time ^_^) With an e-mail, it can be printed out if she can't get to the computer.
And we're overdue for a good turn in the weather, maybe next week...?

At 6:11 PM , Blogger Mark said...

Congrats on finding something better! It gives me some slim hope that I might find such relief.

Tell SF to rest up and get better.


At 3:28 PM , Blogger AaA said...

"It's an ill wind as blows nobody no good, my old gaffer used to say."

Congratulations on the new job. Seriously.

I hope SF is feeling better already, and that my well-wishes are entirely unneccessary.

Part Two, and more news, after this.

At 4:15 PM , Blogger AaA said...

To be honest, I'm not sure my take on the Imus thing is suitable for public consumption.


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