Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Imus' Mouth Claims More Victims

The new sensitivity toward anything that anyone might find offensive is claiming two more victims.

CBS has suspended two radio show hosts for making a prank call on air to a Chinese restaurant. Their suspensions follow complaints from an Asian American advocacy group.

Radio stations that pander to audiences with sophomoric humor have been doing this kind of thing for years. The management of Imus' station, and the management of WFNY were well aware (or should have been) that their airwaves were being used in this manner. The reason they encouraged it, or, perhaps, looked the other way, was because it resulted in ratings. Once it becomes a liability, real or potential, they take "appropriate" action.

The same group, People Against Censorship, that protested the Imus firings, is now planning to picket CBS to support WFNY's JV and Elvis.

The head of the Asian American group that complained says she is taking a page directly from Rev. Al Sharpton's playbook. And she's going for the juggler.

“If they don’t fire the D.J.’s, it will be a double standard,” Vicki Shu Smolin told the New York Times.

Meanwhile, following a less bombastic approach, Russell Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network are urging the rap community to self regulate and moderate the use of demeaning lyrics.

Even Sharpton, who I've previously criticized, is taking the right approach by using his influence as a shareholder to pressure record companies to discourage artists from using racially or gender belittling language. Note to Shu Smolin: Sharpton's failure to take this more reasonable path with Imus is the real double standard here.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Putman


psychie said...

I confess. I made prank calls to Chinese restaurants when I was a kid. We also called people and asked if their fridge was running (better chase after it) and if they had Prince Albert in a can (let him out, he can’t breathe!)

But today’s more accessible media makes cranking easier. Of course, innocence has become somewhat passé (re: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52zSRV_Kgfw - caution, language) while others are downright humorous (re: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uaxjw42oo8A - when the Zombies get out of hand? LOL)

The use of racial slurs and foul language aren’t what many consider funny. But we all laughed hysterically when Archie Bunker talked about “spics” and “chinks” because we knew he was representing a part of American society that grew up in a simpler-minded era when such terms were commonplace and men like Archie were the “good old boys.” The television show “All In The Family” dared to use racial and ethnic slurs to humorously bring to the forefront the continuing problem of bigotry passed along from generation to generation and to discourage it from being institutionalized further. And yes, it was funny.

I am still unconvinced that we need to hear the foul language and racial slurs in order to have humor in our lives. Why is foul language necessary at all (the proliferation of the “F” word seems to be acceptable nowadays) and why is it that it’s okay to call a white person a “cracker” (do I look like a Saltine to you?) Or why is it okay to make fun of Christians and Christianity but not Muslims and Islam?

For many people “equality” is nothing more than a code word for “get-even”. It’s not about real equality as much as it is about subjugating the other guy into silence. If the other guy is the majority, all the better.

In the middle of all this, where coalitions can form and self-advocate or picket and boycott; and where people stand aghast and ready to hang from the highest yard arm anyone who offends blacks, Mexicans, women, gays, etc., it’s amazing that we still think nothing of making fun of (or misusing the terminologies for) those who are the most defenseless among us.

In a January 2007 interview with CNN, Jesse Jackson made the following statement:

I'm concerned that in the -- this first 100 hours, they didn't mention Katrina, which is a metaphor for the neglected urban policy. In neglected urban policy, you have first-class jails and second-class schools. That's retarded. http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0701/05/ldt.01.html

Seems that it’s perfectly okay to use a medical condition such as retardation as an insult. Stop for a moment and think: how many times in a single day have you heard someone refer to something another person does as “retarded” or another person as a “retard?“

I suspect it’s allowable because the mentally retarded population of the United States (there’s 3% of them, by the way) aren’t going to mobilize a march, scream like raped pigs, or get a news conference on CNN. I suspect CNN wouldn’t give a rats patoot anyway.

My point is simply this: political correctness has taken the fun out of life and turned human rights into a joke. Courtesy is sorely lacking in our society. Empathy and compassion have been overrun by the “civil rights” industry which, at it’s best, is a matter of a by-gone era and, at it’s worst, has made a mockery of Dr. King’s dream.

Cass said...

Have to agree with Psychie ....... political correctness is probably one of the major ills in our society nowadays. Whatever happened to people beinbg respinsible for their own actions rather than being told what they can say, how they can say it, and where.
Does gaging speakers alter the message they are trying to get over, or does it just make it more attractive to those who are disillusioned with society? '1984' was soooooooo prophetic!