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Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Whoever did write this doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut"

I was first exposed to Kurt Vonnegut's writing in junior high school. A short story called "Harrison Bergeron" was a marker on my path to my current belief system. For those who don't know, the story is set near the end of the 21st century when all men are not only created equal but are made equal. It was a story about political correctness before there was political correctness.

I found it ironic that Vonnegut's death came at the same time as John Donald Imus was exciled from all media. On one hand, personal offense trumped free speech. On the other hand, Imus' termination was based on the free market. Threats of boycotts, sponsors leaving and general hatred of Imus by people who work with him led to the decisions. But like other people have done with his comments, I'd like to infer a deeper meaning behind the firing.

What Don Imus said doesn't matter. It's meaningless. He's said worse things about smaller people. He's treated callers far worse. This was an opportunity to kill Imus. Instead of talking about black groups or women's groups I'm going to talk about political groups.

Organizations like Moveon dot something have pressured Democrat candidates toward a "give up now" strategy in Iraq and an outright ban of Fox News related debates. I'm waiting for the cries of bias when Fox sponsors more GOP debates because the other side boycotts the others.

MSNBC has moved to the left again. The first time was 2003 when Donahue had a show that was quickly sanitized because no one was watching what might be considered precient claims that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Of course, they went right wing until the Michael Savage incident, which was far worse than Imus.

CBS defended Dan Rather's false story longer than they stuck by Imus. I suspect a lot of this was based in the employees who had to deal with Imus and his veiled distain for everyone, black or white. Even with his anti-war stand, he had criticisms of both sides. And as you can hear from some Clintonites today, they still haven't gotten over Imus' precient claims that Clinton had some illicit encounters in his past.

People on the right have also been outraged that Imus was not fired when conservative racists were fired, then gleeful when Imus was given the heave-ho. I find it a little disturbing as a "wingnut" that conservatives have a problem with Bush hating (which is the passtime of about 2/3 of America) and getting toxic chemicals out of the home. By all means, let's get rid of offensive speech. Wouldn't want to think too hard.

Which brings me back to Vonnegut. His story implies that if people were intellectually unequal, some would see the wrongs in society and do soemthing about them. You know, instead of killing the messenger.

What Don Imus can teach us all:

Words are more important than actions.

Calling everyone else racists will not protect you from being a racial pariah.

Firing a radio host will lead to a dialogue on race... for about 72 hours.

Calling white NYC cops and college lacrosse players rapists can lead to a radio show. Commenting on the hairstyle of college basketball players will end a radio show.

White people will be just a little bit more afraid of black people.

Make sure you keep hatred in your heart and off the radio.

P.S. The title is from the movie "Back to School"


  • At April 23, 2007 8:39 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    Great post. Insightful, yet sarcastic. Love it. Although the only reason for the Imus story to end was the VT tragedy. And then the media injected itself in that one as well.

  • At April 23, 2007 8:43 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    Oh, an aside.... I wonder if the Rutgers player has any regrets in saying she was irreparably damaged by Imus's comment after the VT massacre? Ya know, proportions/perspectives?


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