Sunday, February 13, 2011
Its never fun to be demonized. Recently, I witnessed some of that while visiting a public library. I admit it--i'm a purveyor of various public services and the library I find to be an important local resource. It can be a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the outside world--a wonderful rarefied air of civility, if you will. Yet, that tranquility was broken in a disturbing event I would like to share with you. Recently, I was wrapped up in what I was doing, head down and engrossed in the subject matter and, at that very moment, a group of young people, pre-teens I believe, were carrying on very loudly in a corner of the building. You know how loud and raucous that age group can be--I remember the day! Still, in this case, the noise was non stop. As it was endured by a coterie of sheepish patrons (including me), a man on my right could hold back no longer and proclaimed in the direction of the noise--"Will you please keep it down in there". Out of nowhere, a 12 or 13 year old girl appeared from the group and stormed defiantly towards the librarian's desk, exclaiming for all the room to hear,--"That man is being racist!" Whoa! At that moment a collective silence fell over the library and that old saying, "you could hear a pin drop" was given new meaning. The man, who asked them to be quiet, then suddenly turned ashen as he quietly sauntered out of the room. At the time, I didn't know why he would be shaken to such a degree. I mean he had a valid point. These kids were making a lot of noise and needed to be shushed. Yet, this young lady inserted a completely new wrinkle into the matter which was: Any complaint of bad behavior could be construed as one against her race itself! Truly a distortion of reality moment! How she ever reached that conclusion must have been through years of gross distortions perpetuated by a myopic social circle. Nonetheless, here's an important proviso--none of us ever saw these kids or their skin color. We only heard the disquiet and the guy next to me had to courage to speak out. However, he didn't have the corresponding courage to stand up for himself when the girl crowed to the librarian and, as a result, the hated 'scarlet letter' was placed upon him (with the possible social outcast status that would bring). I would think that americans of color would be alarmed by this trend. That civil rights progress so nobly attained could be camouflaged by the canard that even an inkling of bad behavior can be explained away in a racial context. Even more disturbing--if one has the temerity to speak out, the accuser will be skewered with the ultimate social ill that the left can can possibly place on a human being--a modern leprosy itself--racism! Taking this to a new low is the hip hop community where cop killer and misogynistic rap is part and parcel of their allure to young thugs everywhere. If you believe that those destructive lyrics are bad for for society and to individuals, you will immediately be marginalized and labeled as one unwilling to understand and appreciate a rapper's unique social experiences as an inner city 'poet', of sorts. Rappers then try to con us that what they are peddling has merit since it is the real 'voice of the streets'. Once a pejorative 'label' is placed upon you, white or black, you then are deemed unacceptable to continue to participate in the national dialogue. Which is just fine to the left since they specialize in mocking opponents by destroying their character rather than winning the debate in the marketplace of ideas. Think of the liberal 'sword' that has fallen on bill cosby and juan williams--respected african american leaders and neither conservative--who have paid dearly for just posing a concern that feigning racism for every social ill is a dead end road. The architects of the civil rights movement could never have foreseen the unintended consequence of groups of people 'scapegoating' their individual plight or circumstance based on the alleged racial acts of others. The issue here was noise in the library. How about taking it to another perilous step? A few years back, a denny's restaurant found itself in a racial imbroglio concerning one of their managers who purportedly would not promptly seat a group of african american patrons. Racism was claimed in court and denny's subsequently forked over millions to the aggrieved claimants. I'm not saying that racism is a myth and, of course, it should be rooted out in every corner of society. At the same time, how can you definitively tell that, in his so-called 'dark and pernicious heart', that that particular denny's manager behavior towards these people was tantamount to racism? Can you read the managers mind? Know his intent? Divine the latent 'hatred' within him that boiled over against these particular diners that night? I don't know about you but, as a regular of denny's for over 40 years, if you show up on a weekend night, you're probably going to have to wait for a booth. I have. When I did, I didn't immediately call my lawyer because my local denny's had it out for sportscasters who have a political bent and who's grandparents were born in italy. No, I just figured the place was busy and I waited my turn, Never dawned on me that I could line my pockets from it. We can thank the left for creating this brave new world where groups and, ultimately the courts, can read the hearts and minds of others and know if a fellow american is racist or not. Think of all the ugly scenarios--a restaurant manager doesn't seat a group promptly--boom! Racist intent--scarlet letter! How about a police officer who observes something strange and out of place and pulls over some young blacks. Wham-o! He's racially profiling--scarlet letter! And, in my example, a library patron who yearned for quiet--villified, tranquilized, mortified--and personally destroyed with the ruinous, you guessed it, drum roll please--scarlet letter! If we can thank liberals for many of their misguided and destructive policies of the last half century, shouting racism in a 'crowded theatre' of life can be added to the list. In extolling the virtuous teachings of Dr. King, liberals, in their bumbling way, have created this sorry mess. That is--real or imagined racism can be claimed as an excuse for an array of bad behavior and personal foibles. Now, I believe I understand why that poor soul was forced to slip out of the library with his tail between his legs. Worse than torture would be a modern day charge of racism. By the rest of us running scared, healthy debate gets hijacked and free speech stymied. Made real here by a silly girl, who may seem innocuous, but can do tremendous damage with wild assertions of racism by her and any other 'racial police' making the rounds. It's great to be able to fall back on the race card when life doesn't quite turn out the way you wanted. I'm just waiting for the day our dear president pulls out his own trump card of racism as a last resort to explain away his destructive policies upon our land. So hello racial police! Maybe waiting around the next corner--ready to haul off and let us, the unsuspected, have it at any moment. Naturally, none of us wants to be in their cross hairs--personally ruined and hung in effigy--for 'crimes' we never meant to commit.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I have a group of facebook friends who bring new meaning to the phrase 'left coast'. No more than Fred Wallin, a california based political and sports radio commentator. To say that Fred is opinionated is an understatement. If you get in his 'crosshairs' watch out--he is a spirited polemicist. In his latest ramblings he makes a broadside against News Group Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his, as he sees it, right ward tilt with the Fox News Channel (FNC). It seems a cause celebre for the left to scapegoat Fox News for what they see is a biased right wing recitation of news. As a long time conservative, I've always appreciated the breath of fresh air provided by Fox News after decades of liberal bias in the newsrooms. It is lunacy that the left 'falls apart' over FNC when the hostitity and derision shown to conservatives is a time honored tradition in media and academia (e.g., washington post, ny times, cbs news, cnn, et al). Just ask former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg about the prevailing liberal bias and downright, as he characterizes it, 'hubris' in america's newsrooms towards the right. So with that, it is amusing that a humble cable channel, FNC (and talk radio) is a 'whipping boy' for the left's myopic vision of 'free speech'. Ergo: free speech for us and nobody else! Now, enter Rupert Murdoch and his 'complicated' relationship with his own company. You see, he also presides over the Fox Television Network which has aired, over the years, such edifying productions as 'family guy' and 'married with children'. I'm not saying that conservatives don't also enjoy viewing this fare, but liberals and independents do--in the millions! By and large. Fox News is puny compared to the colossus of Fox Television. And this I mean where it matters most--ratings and revenue. Comparing the two is like the steelers taking on the altoona knights--its just not fair. What then is the seemingly two-faced Murdoch in all this to the left and right? Hero or Scapegoat? Sinner or Saint? Probably both. My take--he is, at the core, a capitalist driven by a positive balance sheet and delivering value to his shareholders. However, from a conservative perspective, time spent watching primetime Fox TV is, occassionally, like spending time in a dumpster. It's funny how liberals can get apoplectic about environmental degradation but care little about the pollution and filth of our culture. Well, guess what? 'Ol Rupert has done an 'end run' on the right as well! By creating a 'oasis' for conservatives in Fox News, we are consequently, loathe to criticize his vile TV network. By this, he has effectively headed us 'off at the pass' and has muted any criticism of the 'stain' of Fox TV on News Corp. What makes me chuckle is that liberals, who are so wound up about Murdoch and his purported right wing bias, only have to turn to his other 'enterprises' and see that he is motivated--not by noble impulses--but by the hated profit margin itself. As for the ongoing saw that Fox News is a biased bastion of right wing zealotry, I would point to the fact that geraldo riviera, greta van susteren, juan williams, susan estrich, bob beckel, geraldine ferraro--not merely 'garden variety' liberals-- are seen regularly on FNC. Nonetheless, I was inspired to write this--not about Fox News 'fair and balanced' sobriquet--but rather, the misguided notion that Rupert Murdoch is obsessed with conservative ideas and policies. Liberals believe that, through FNC, Murdoch will be able to force his agenda on us, the great 'unwashed' if you will--since we can't possibly function on our own without his marching orders. Well then, what about Rupert? I have a feeling he doesn't give a whit about our passions--Fox Corporate rakes it in-- either way! Bottom Line--Mr. Murdoch was not motivated by altruism in creating Fox News anymore than in the vision he fulfilled in creating a 4th network in Fox Television. Conservatives, in being gleeful over the success of FNC can be, on the other side of the ledger, equally morose over the his mammoth TV network and its continual slide over the cultural precipice. We must weigh, in the balance, the benefit derived between these two entities residing under one corporate chieftain. Conservatives must then realize that in order to partake of the 'rarefied air' of Fox News we all pay, culturally, with the destructive 'ozone layer' created by Fox TV. My college philosophy class comes back to me with the haunting refrain, "...the greater good" Mmmmm.