Friday, April 13, 2007

Only Egalitarian Racist Speech Allowed

In my day job I hear a lot of “shock jocks,” usually the morning hosts on alternative rock stations. Their shtick is to be outrageous and funny, saying the things people do not say in polite conversation. They flout the taboos of both the left and the right by daring to be politically incorrect and to talk about sex.

Their justification, if you ask them, is that they are just being honest. Howard Stern dwells in the gutter, and he does so proudly because that’s who he is: a guy who wants to talk about bodily functions and the lowest kind of gossip. Enough Americans share his view of life that he has become a wealthy man by talking about sex, body parts, flatulence, strippers, drunkenness, and so on. Whenever I listen to Stern, I feel unclean, as if I have been in the presence of cretins who live in a sewer and revel in it and mock anyone with pretensions higher than a sewer. I dismiss Stern’s huge audience with contempt: they get what they want.

The shock jock is a kind of comedian. Listeners do not go to them for serious, elevated, informed opinions. They listen to the shock jocks for a comic take on the news from someone who happily admits he doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground on any issue, but will give his opinion anyway.

Shock jocks can be mean and unfair. If a caller is stupid, the shock jock is not afraid to say so. And celebrity stupidity gets the most savage treatment. When Britney Spears shaved her head, I heard her called a “crazy bitch” -- exactly what listeners want shock jocks to say. Listeners can hear psychologists on reputable programs talk about Britney Spears’s “emotional crisis” or whatever, blah, blah, blah. From the shock jock they want crazy bitch. Again: listeners get what they want. Those who do not want this do not listen.

The shock jock can exist only in a free society. Tyrants do not like being laughed at. In the USSR, instead of Howard Stern or Mancow, they had Pravda -- the truth as approved by the state. Shock jocks depend on the freedom of speech; if they can’t say what they want no matter whom they offend, then they cannot function.

Now Don Imus has been fired by CBS for calling the Rutgers girls basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” Usually I agree with Andy at Charlotte Capitalist, but I cannot applaud CBS’s action because Imus’s statement was collectivist.

Imus’s listeners know that all black women are not prostitutes. Humor depends on twisting logic. Imus saw a similarity between the Rutgers players and prostitutes and, being a curmudgeonly, mean-spirited shock jock, he voiced it. He said something that is indeed racist, collectivist and not nice.

Jokes are often collectivist and racist. There’s a long tradition of jokes about drunken Irishmen. Not only is this unfair to the Irish, but it is humor about alcoholism, which is in reality tragic and not at all funny. So, should we fire anyone who jokes about a drunken Irishman? A stupid Pollack? A lazy Mexican? A surrendering Frenchman? Italian men who pinch women’s rears? What about blonde jokes? Surely, they are unfair to intelligent blondes.

Tom Joyner, who has the most popular morning show on urban radio, jokes every day about white people. As a white person, I find it hilarious. Every time Tom’s buffoon, J. Anthony Brown, just says the words “white people,” I laugh. White people, you see, do crazy things that black people are too sensible to do. The jokes stem from a long tradition of humor that goes back to the time of slavery in the 19th century. It’s all good fun -- and thoroughly racist.

What is the difference between Tom Joyner’s racism and Imus’s? In our egalitarian, altruist culture, one can joke about the powerful, but not about the weak and oppressed. Some collectivism is respected, some collectivism will get you fired from CBS. If media corporations were to fire all buffoons who make collectivist statements, then all buffoons would be fired. Indeed, some broadcasters who are not considered buffoons, such as Tom Joyner, would be fired. Imus was attacked and fired not because he was collectivist, but because he was inegalitarian.

The New Left is multiculturalist -- a crude, racist vision of the world that views people not primarily as individuals, but as members of a racial group. Imus, a white male, attacked African-Americans, a class of victims, and this speech is forbidden. As altruism demands, the strong must sacrifice for the weak. White males must not make racist statements about African-Americans.

Racism is a terrible evil, a form of collectivism as Ayn Rand wrote, but the left only views racism by the strong as racism. Egalitarian racism, or multiculturalism, is one of the pillars of the New Left. As egalitarian racists, today's liberals are the most predominant racists in American history. They are also the most dangerous racists in American history. Not only is egalitarian racism (multiculturalism) not reviled, it is idealized throughout our culture and indoctrinated into students. The New Left is transforming America from an individualist nation into a racist one.

I realize that CBS has the right to fire any employee for making racist statements and that this is not a violation of their freedom of speech. Only the state can abridge our freedom of speech. Only state action is censorship in the full meaning of the word. The problem is that in our mixed economy, with the FCC regulating broadcasters, we have to ask: did CBS fire Imus because they feared state action? Did the FCC factor into their thinking at all? And if it did, is not censorship from fear of regulatory action in fact censorship?

The FCC reviewed the Imus case and concluded, for now, that racist statements are protected by the First Amendment. Apparently, for now, broadcasters have more freedom to be racist than the EEOC would allow employers. The FCC, for now, focuses on sexual speech -- but how long before regulators arbitrarily decide that racist remarks are beyond the bounds of what broadcasters should say? How long before “decency” is extended to non-sexual matters?

Imus’s firing was driven by Al Sharpton, a statist who came to fame in the Tawana Brawley case, in which he knew she was lying but proceeded anyway to destroy an innocent policeman’s life. Sharpton said about the Imus affair,

It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves.
Permitted by whom? Corporations under attack from pressure groups? Or does Sharpton want government regulations on speech? If “hate speech” is a crime, why should broadcasters be allowed any more freedom than the rest of us?

Does anyone think the left will stop at Imus? Or will they be emboldened and energized to go after more broadcasters? Now that Imus has been slain, who is next?

Now that radio talk-show host Don Imus has been banished, it's time to clean up the rest of talk radio, says a partisan media watchdog group headed by David Brock.

Next in the crosshairs for alleged expressions of "bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity" are, according to Media Matters for America, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, John Gibson and Michael Smerconish.
What are some of the statements that Media Matters finds offensive?


Limbaugh: "The government's been taking care of [young blacks] their whole lives"

On March 1, 2005, Limbaugh said "[w]omen still live longer than men because their lives are easier."

Savage was also taken to task by Media Matters for advocating a ban on Muslim immigration into the U.S., banning the construction of mosques and making English the official language.
This one is similar to the Imus case:

On the March 31, 2006, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Neal Boortz said that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut." Boortz as commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu." McKinney is the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Georgia.
Why should Imus be fired, but not Boortz?

The premise behind the left’s attack on Imus, Limbaugh, Savage and Boortz is: inegalitarian speech is bad. And make no mistake, the left will use such statist tools as the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine to combat speech they find offensive.

UPDATE: Slight revision.


EdMcGon said...

Once again, your summary of the Imus story brings the whole thing into perfect perspective. I don't even have a comment because you said it all.

My hat is off to you once again.

Myrhaf said...

Hey, thanks, Ed. There's probably much more that could be said, but if you're like me, you're getting a little sick of the story.

EdMcGon said...

Personally, I never liked Imus the few times I was unfortunate enough to hear him. I find it distasteful to hold him up in defense of anything. But if I have to pull a Voltaire... :P

James said...

I disagree with the "weak and oppressed" part. I don't think blacks are weak or oppressed. Legally they are a privileged group in terms of affirmative action in school and workplace, and socially one cannot joke about them.