- Stop. Close your mouth for a moment and just breathe
through your nose. Think twice, and then a third and a fourth time, about
those words on the tip of your tongue. Be careful, as leery as a gazelle
crossing a lion's den. Because words, those mewling little signals forever
spilling from your maw, have become so much more than words. So much more,
and so much worse.
- Believe me, you've no idea how much danger you're in.
- In 21st century America, almost any action can be forgiven
-- if you're rich and famous and powerful enough, and/or you belong to
a politically sympathetic racial, ethnic, or religious group. If you're
a Hollywood film director, you can have sex with a 13 year-old girl and
then flee the country to escape prosecution. In exile, you can continue
to direct movies that will receive a wide international audience and net
you millions of dollars. A-list actors like Harrison Ford and Johnny Depp
won't hesitate to work with you -- they understand that you've gotten a
bad rap, you didn't really do anything "wrong," you just got
CAUGHT is all! After a couple of decades, all of the steam will have blown
off your inane little scandal. Then one day, after you've directed a critically-praised
film about World War II, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
will award you with an Oscar. And your Hollywood brethren won't just welcome
you back with open arms, they will celebrate your triumph with a standing
ovation. But of course, you won't be able to attend the ceremonies and
receive your golden mantle in person. Because the police might be waiting
to take you to prison. And men who have sex with children have notoriously
short life-spans behind bars.
- If you're a young black man in Louisiana, you and several
of your friends can severely beat a male white teenager, and every civil
rights activist in the nation will protest your prosecution. It will be
obvious to every thinking person that your crime is racially motivated
(particularly since racial tension preexisted -- three white students had
reportedly hung nooses from a tree at a local high school), but since you
are a black man assaulting a white man, yours will not be labeled a "hate
crime," which would entail a much harsher prison sentence than mere
"assault and battery." Tens of thousands will turn to the streets
in support of your racial violence, and the media will call them "civil
rights demonstrators," and you will look like a victim. And no matter
what happens, whether you go to prison for a little while or not at all,
you will not under any circumstances be cast from the mainstream culture.
On the Black Entertainment Network, you will be welcomed as a guest presenter
at the Hip Hop Awards. And just like the aforementioned Hollywood director,
you will not only be welcome, you will be greeted with a standing ovation.
- Yep, Americans are a forgiving bunch. Racial violence
and sex with adolescents might seem "bad" from a certain, morally
relativistic perspective, but hey, we all make mistakes, and even the worst
of the worst deserves a second chance. But there is one transgression that
is considered truly unforgivable in 21st century America, one "crime"
for which no apology or act of contrition could ever suffice. It's not
theft or rape or child molestation or even murder. It is the "crime"
of saying words or expressing thoughts that the mainstream, institutionalized,
PC-dominated culture considers "offensive."
- In 2007, at an unprecedented rate, American public figures
are losing their careers in disgrace merely for speaking the "wrong"
words. Michael Richards...Don Imus..."Dog" the Bounty Hunter.
Mel Gibson's name would be on that list, too, but filmmakers are a more
independent lot than TV or radio stars -- just ask Roman Polanski. These
men did not beat anyone, or kill anyone, or rape anyone, or actually "do"
anything tangibly harmful to a single human being. Rather, by uttering
a few ill-advised words that most people (and more importantly, most members
of the media) find offensive, they instantaneously annihilated entire lifetimes
of hard work and success.
- Irony abounds in each of these spectacles. In the case
of "Dog" the Bounty Hunter, he was summarily fired by his cable
network, A & E, after a tape was made public on which he repeatedly
used the verboten "n" word. This was a PRIVATE phone message
from Dog to his son, i.e. he felt comfortable saying things he never intended
for pubic consumption. After A & E's decision to terminate Dog, a number
of civil rights leaders praised the network for taking a "no tolerance"
position on racism. But consider the irony: A & E had no compunctions
with giving "Dog" his own show, even though they knew that the
man is a CONVICTED MURDERER (OK, "Dog" himself didn't kill anyone,
but his crime was technically elevated to murder, and he spent 18 months
in the pen. He also had 18 prior convictions for armed robbery). The only
"message" A & E is sending is that in 21st century America,
where thought police rule and common sense is anathema, saying "bad"
words and offending the wrong people is morally worse than armed robbery,
- Mel Gibson's PR debacle was equally ironic. In the summer
of 2006, a couple of months prior to the release of his film "Apocalypto,"
Gibson was arrested for a DUI, and the police tape of the incident revealed
him uttering angry, contemptuous words against "the Jews." Although
Apocalypto received a number of favorable reviews from esteemed critics,
most of these reviewers felt the need to distinguish Gibson the artist
from Gibson the man. Oregonian film critic Shawn Levy wrote that Gibson
has a "despicable heart and mind," and that "Mel Gibson
is to be stayed away from, even for purposes of study. He is to be shunned.
A committee should be formed to boycott him."
- The irony is that Mel Gibson's inane little ethnic tirade,
fueled by alcohol and rage, was only captured on tape because he was arrested
for DRUNKEN DRIVING, i.e., he was recklessly endangering the lives of innocent
people. But in Hollywood, receiving a DUI has all the significance of getting
a nose job, or a new spouse. Shawn Levy would never have called Mel Gibson
"despicable" simply for getting plastered and then almost killing
people, just as he and every other critic refuses to condemn Polanski for
having sex with a child, and just as they forgive or ignore the overt,
inhuman racism of the ever-celebrated Spike Lee (who once advocated the
racial murder of Charlton Heston).
- It's also ironic that Don Imus, the garble-mouthed, perpetually
somnambulistic radio personality, "crossed the line" into unacceptable
speech when he described some black, female basketball players as "nappy-headed
hoes." Granted, the statement appears racial, and it was mean, crude,
unnecessary, and stupid. But consider some of the other "controversies"
Imus has been involved in over the years, none of which cost him his job.
In 1998, Imus was sued by the wife of fellow talk show host Howie Carr
after he made "sexually explicit" remarks about her on the air
(Carr dropped the suit after receiving an out of course settlement from
Imus). Imus was also sued by a former nanny in 2004 for "wrongful
termination and defamation." And in July of 2005, a doctor named Howard
Allen Pearson sued Imus for slander and civil assault. Imus later referred
to the doctor on the air as "an arrogant (bleep) who doesn't mind
letting a child suffer."
- Throughout his entire career, Imus has not only been
"offensive" in his speech, he has repeatedly attracted LITIGATION,
placing his employers at enormous risk. The question must be asked, what
was so exceptionally egregious about the comments that led to his termination
and public crucifixion?
- Poor, stupid Michael Richards is the most ironic of the
bunch. While bombing in his stand-up routine at a comedy club, Richard
tried to be shocking when he couldn't be funny. He called some black members
of the audience (who were, according to many published reports, talking
loudly throughout Richard's performance) "n" words, and media
hysteria immediately ensued. It seems unbelievable that Michael Richards,
though a genius he is not, thought he could actually say that word in public
and keep his career and reputation in tact. But then again, his reasoning
may not have been entirely illogical. After all, the most popular black
comics of recent years -- Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Damon Wayans, et
al -- have achieved fame and fortune by performing routines dominated by
racial "humor," including the "n" word, and frequently
vicious anti-white, anti-Korean, anti-Hispanic "humor."
- And lest you think that only big time celebrities are
landing in hot water for saying the wrong things about the wrong people.
In Philadelphia, a restaurant owner named Joseph Vento is defending himself
against a "discrimination" complaint for posting a sign outside
his business that reads, "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING PLEASE 'SPEAK
ENGLISH.'" An attorney for the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
has stated that the sign amounts to "intimidation," because it
supposedly discourages non-fluent English speakers from eating at the establishment.
Outside a hearing on Friday where Vento defended himself, about 100 people
marched with signs that read "No Hate in Our Town." (See http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7009463437)
- But what, precisely, is "hateful" about a sign
that encourages patrons to SPEAK ENGLISH when ordering food? How is the
request any more "hateful" than, say, a bus driver's insistence
that all passengers pay with exact fare?
- The point here is not that racial and ethnic slurs and
discrimination aren't a "big deal." To be racist is more than
offensive -- it's pathologically stupid and an assault against one's own
humanity. My point is that the institutionalized, PC media-dominated American
culture is not actually "anti-hate," or "pro tolerance"
or "pro equality." Rather, this machinery overreacts hysterically
against any speech that is even slightly unflattering toward especially
sympathetic, "victimized" racial, ethnic, or religious groups,
while simultaneously PROMOTING preferential hatred against less sympathetic
racial, ethnic, or religious groups, i.e. Muslims, and Christian heterosexual
middle-aged white males.
- Aside from the obvious illogic and barbarity of these
double-standards that determine what constitutes "hate speech,"
it seems that the mainstream American cultural machinery needs to be reminded
that these words that cause such uproar and outrage are only FUCKING WORDS.
Neither Don Imus nor Michael Richards nor Dog the Bounty Hunter nor Mel
Gibson nor the poor restaurant owner in Philadelphia overstepped the LEGAL
BOUNDS of the First Amendment. They didn't advocate anything illegal or
harmful. They just spoke words that a lot of people find offensive. Dog
the Bounty Hunter lamented that using the "n" word against a
black person is like "stabbing them in the heart." Actually,
Dog, no -- the only thing analogous to getting stabbed in the heart is...getting
stabbed in the heart. You should know -- you're a convicted murderer. A
word is just a fucking word.
- "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for
people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
- --Noam Chomsky