Friday, April 13, 2007

The new censorship?

While I can understand people being upset about Don Imus’ recent comments, calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos”, I must say that I do think people are making a bit too much out of this. To hear some of these people talk, you’d think he’d demanded slavery be brought back. I know it was insulting, but I've listened to plenty of hateful bigots make anti-gay comments in the public domain and while it pisses me off it doesn't hurt my feelings. These losers aren't worth the concern; and I couldn't care less what they think. Expose them and their bigoted beliefs for what it is and move on.

Which brings me to a valid question: Where is such outrage when people make similar comments and stereotypes about gays? Oh sure, there is some lip service, and the uber-liberal call for people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and General Pace to be silenced and/or fired for their intolerant rhetoric, but that’s as far as it goes. Most folks, while disapproving, are quick to claim that these people have a right to free speech, and I don’t disagree. So why the double standard then?

I did note that the guy apologized, and he seemed like he was probably sincere about it. Compare that to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, who are completely unapologetic. Or Michael Richard’s comments in a nightclub that was way over the top, and Mel Gibson who just blamed it on alcohol and went into rehab, as is so fashionable when celebrities say or do something really stupid these days. Imus didn’t make any excuses. But yet it still wasn’t good enough for some people. It seems that whether one is unapologetic, blame it on something else, or make a full and seemingly sincere apology, none of this is good enough. It’s obvious that the masses were out for blood and they weren’t going to be happy until they got it. Well, they got it, just like certain conservatives and overly-sensitive jingoists got their way with Bill Maher after he made some comments that were misunderstood back when nationalism was at a fever pitch.

Now I don't like Imus, never have. I don't like rap music either. And I definitely don't like racism and bigotry. However, I like censorship even less. And to me, while this wasn’t government censorship, I think the firing, moreover the demand by some of firing of Don Imus was a form of censorship -- an effort to silence someone who says something unpopular. I don’t think this is in keeping with a free society. There are better ways of dealing with bad words and ideas than censoring them.

Of course I realize that it is well within the legal rights of CBS and NBC to get rid of Don Imus for his comments, and the controversy surrounding the comments, and the loss of advertisers, but I still have a lot of reservations about whether they should have done this — capitulated so easily. It really leads me to wonder what or whom will be next. And that’s already begun. Some are demanding that vitriolic blowhards like conservative moron Michael Savage be held to the same standards. That would be consistent, however, I still don’t like the idea of silencing others. Yes, that even goes for the Coultergeist and Rush Limbaugh {the “Big Fat Idiot” as Al Franken aptly dubbed him in his book}.

Of course the music industry is being set up for new censorship too. Sure a lot of rap music is disgusting, but I think it was a bad idea when they tried to censor Elvis, sued Ozzy Osbourne et al. for teen suicide, and blamed Marilyn Manson for Columbine. I also think it’s a bad idea to go after Snoop Dogg for talking about “bitches” and “hos”. And I truly cannot stand Snoop Dog… I despise everything he stands for. But freedom is freedom, right is right, and censorship just isn’t right.

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