Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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You're laughing out loud at just the thought of being alive

The enormous outrage against Rush Limbaugh for his silly comments on NFL countdown represent a cultural crisis of the HIGHEST order. I'd like to say that I don't like Rush Limbaugh one bit. I loved "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot" even though the fat jokes should have bothered me, and I find him to be a vile vile hateful person. When he was hired to the ESPN NFL show it made me not want to watch the show and only the addition of Michael Irvin, who is incredibly charismatic and entertaining as a commentator, brought back my viewership. That said, what Limbaugh said was NOT racist, and the fact that people are treating it as such is simply reprehensible. Anyone who actually looks at what was said can tell that Rush is accusing the media of being favorable towards McNabb because he's black, he is saying nothing about McNabb's ability relating to his race. While it is quite possible that Rush is a racist (this is certainly not the first time such a charge has been leveled against the ex-plump talk show maven) he was not being racist in this situation. He was criticizing the media. Furthermore he was probably right. I think it's true that the media tends to be very supportive of black QBs. This is not necessarily a bad thing and it doesn't mean that Black QBs can't be, or aren't, excellent players. It just means that there's a certain level of rooting that goes on. No big deal.

Now it's possible that Rush's comments had a racist subtext, there's clearly room for that. On the other hand as has been pointed out many minority figures have had more racially based comments (see Dusty Baker's claims that blacks and hispanics played better in hot weather than whites) with no consequences. Why the jump on Rush? Cause he's an asshole? Not in this society, we LOVE our assholes. Because he's a conservative? Partially? Because he's white? Ding Ding Ding we have a winner. The rule that white people can't even mention race unless it's to offer praise is a bullshit example of social censorship. We need to be able to say unpopular things and even stupid things. We need to be able to talk about race and say that Welfare is hurting the black community and all that other stuff. That's sort of fundemental to the idea of free speech and honest discourse and if a wrong idea is put out there it should be countered with thoughtful discussion and fact, not outrage and demands for someone's job. This isn't a first ammendment issue since there was no government censorship here but it IS a free speech issue. Society makes rules right along with government and the right of people to say controversial things is MORE important than the right of people to have non-corporate media products and diversity of opinion (which ain't no small potatoes either.)

This is a major reason I don't identify with the mainstream liberals. They are FAR too quick to jump to the defense of the poor weak defenseless minorities as soon as so much as a hint of a problem is spotted. Let me say this, if African Americans can't deal with some shithead on TV claiming that their sportstars get soft treatment from the media then they are far too weak to be of any use to our society. If you can't deal with a little bit of indirect criticism without a huge jolt to your self esteem then you need to buy yourself a backbone. You may claim this is an instance of "institutionalized racism" but I will ask whether responding with institutionalized censorship is really the solution?

Personally I think that affirmative action has a deliterious effect on many black people's self esteem. I get this partially from reading, partially from talking to people, and partially from just observation in the classroom where a disproportionate number of African American students look frightened. Not like they don't understand what's going on but like they are afraid they will be unmasked as not belonging. This might be partially from being surrounded by so many wealthy white kids, I'd buy that as part of it, but it might also be from being told over and over that they are there based on affirmative action. I have known a good number of black students who didn't have this look too, so I can't tell for sure what's going on but I do know that I can't discuss it in polite society without being labeled a racist.

People need to realize that just because you have the power to enforce a given viewpoint doesn't mean you SHOULD enforce it and doing so just creates problems. Why is open discourse and honest discussion such a difficult thing to create?
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