Monday, June 7, 2010

Make Mine a Double Standard

Early in 2009, shortly after the President’s Inauguration, Glenn Beck took to the airwaves to warn people that soon the President would be coming for their guns; yes, indeedy, he’d be sending the police after people’s beloved guns. So urgent and heated was Beck’s warning that one poor, deluded man took his precious guns, went to the local copshop and blew away five policemen, before turning the gun on himself.
Immediately, cries arose from the Left that Beck, or his employer, Fox News, should be prosecuted. Although Freedom of Speech contains strictures against incitement to crime or riot, Beck’s diatribe did nothing of that sort, directly. In this regard, Beck is the master of the soupcon of suggestion. That’s his schtick. He didn’t tell the victim to take his guns and defend the Second Amendment, he planted a suggestion, and the fellow acted upon it.
Later, we witnessed the killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist, and people, rightly, reckoned that this was a Rightwing reaction to a black man in the White House.
Still later on, we were introduced to the rather ludicrous Tea Party, with their “Don’t Tread on Me” peculiar interpretation of Jeffersonian democracy and their misunderstanding that their cries against perceived socialism might incorporate their Medicare, Social Security or disability allowances. When they appeared with their mis-spelled signs and pictures of Obama as Hitler or an African chieftan, we knew exactly what they meant to say when they cloaked their racism in terms like “socialist,” “communist,” or “Nazi.” And we were rightly offended.
So offended, that when Glenn Beck actually turned the tables and declared Obama a racist with a deep-seeded hatred of white people, no less an intellectual powerhouse (not) than Arianna Huffington, with her intense and expert knowledge of the Constitution, demanded that Beck be denied his First Amendment rights, irrespective of the fact that those same rights that allow Beck to declare the President of the United States a racist, also allowed this faux neocon disguised as a Progressive-for-Profit the right to demand that the Vice President of the United States resign in protest of the President’s as yet (then) undisclosed plan for the war in Afghanistan and lead a protest movement – something just about an inch short of sedition.
Such were the outcries, as the fundits from the Right got more and more outrageous, culminating in Glenn Beck’s disgusting parody of the President’s daughter a few weeks ago.
As stated, quite rightly, people vehemently protested against such behaviour from the Right.
But, what happens when someone not identified with the Right makes an incongruent statement?
Imagine several scenarios.
Imagine Rush Limbaugh in a broadcast, referring to President Obama as “President Sanford and Son.”
There would be hell to pay from the depths of the sofas of the sedentary Left. Blogspaces would implode. The cable news network – most likely CNN and MSNBC, for Fox would strategically ignore it – would obsess about it for weeks. Limbaugh, for the umpteenth time, would be Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World.” There would be calls for Limbaugh, at most, to be taken off the air, at least, to apologise. Of course, neither result would occur, but the Left, quite correctly, would never let Limbaugh forget about that verbal faux pas.
Or, imagine Beck opining that when he knew there was a black President elected, he wanted to see a black President in action, watch him swagger into the boardroom of some corporate CEO, with a gun on his hip, ready to kick ass and demand if this mothafucka didn’t wise up, he’d get shot in the leg. In other words, present a white person’s grossly exaggerated stereotype of a ghetto justice-dispenser and market that as how the President should behave as a black executive.
Once again, the infotainment media would be rife with protest from all sections and factions of the Left, from the moderates to the loonies. And, again, they’d be right to be offended. Such a stereotypical depiction by Beck would be as offensive as the Tea Party’s mock-up post card of the White House watermelon patch.
But, although both of these aforementioned incidences occurred, it was neither Rush nor Beck who uttered the words, and this, perhaps, is the reason why you’ve heard no comments, no protests, no outrage from the Left.
They were spoken by Bill Maher.
Three weeks ago, in a meltdown episode of Real Time, when Bill’s faux atheism was revealed by quirky conservative atheist, S E Cupp, he ended the program with his signature editorial, this time criticizing the President as a backward-looking, underachieving, bumbling black man, out of his depth in governing a country. By pointedly referring to Obama as “President Sanford and Son,” Bill channeled the ultimat 70s image of a man so laid back and incompetent, he couldn’t even manage a junkyard.
Instead, Bill called for corporate mogul, Steve Jobs, to govern America, the same way he managed Apple, and thus, move the country foreward. Never mind that the editorial had been based on a commencement speech the President had made or that one sentence from that speech had been removed and spun centrifugally by Bill and his writers in order to obtain a totally different meaning than originally intended, the “Sanford and Son” reference drew a gasp from the audience, but nothing from anyone else on the Left.
Huffington strategically left this part of the editorial off her aggregate. Olbermann said nothing. Bill’s icon, Chris Matthews, a man who sometimes admits that he “forgets Obama is black”, was curiously mute.
In the program which aired on May 28th, Bill admitted in his opening monologue the real reason why he was disappointed in Obama. Obama, he said, was too professorial. When Bill voted for a black President, he wanted a black President delivered. An articulate rapper, with a ghetto mind and sense of justice, who kicked ass at the point of a gun worn on his hip. That’s the man he voted for.
Well, sorry, Bill. I didn’t vote for a stereotype, I voted for the person best qualified to do the job.
I was actually grateful that Bill as much as admitted his cognitive dissonance in this regard, because I think this has been a disconnect with a great many so-called Progressives with regard to Obama and his cool, calm, demeanor. They voted for John Shaft and, instead, they got a cross between Carlton from The Fresh Prince and Dr Cliff Huxtable. And, so, like Bill, they didn’t get the man whom Bill referred to in his post-Electoral editorial as a “kickass black ninja.”
Stereotyping is a form of racism too.
This time, various fans of Maher made protest about this remark, but from the mouthpieces of the Left … crickets. Lots of excuses, mind you, from his dittoes … Bill’s a comedian … it’s supposed to be funny.
Sorry, Bill’s a comedian only when his mouth doesn’t engage with his brain and he says something that backs his ass against a wall. That’s when he reverts to “I’m a comedian” mode.
Witness: “If u get a flu shot, u r stupid.” (But that’s a joke, funny ha-ah.) Sorry, not even close.
And, sorry, again, but stereotyping isn’t funny. Not for African Americans, not for women and not for any ethnic minority.
Which leads me to another anecdotal incident.
Imagine, if you will, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh attending a public function, during Jewish Heritage Week. Imagine a Jewish broadcast unit with camcorder and microphone, calling one of them over and asking for some thoughts or message to the Jewish community during this week. Imagine either man saying his message would be for the “Jews” to get out of Palestine. Get out of Palestine and “go home.” When asked to qualify where, exactly, “home” was, imagine either Beck or Limbaugh, replying, “Germany. Poland.”
There would be a shitstorm of protest from the Left. Beck’s remaining sponsors would fold up their merchandise tents and slope away. Limbaugh would be vilified.
Helen Thomas, octagenarian doyenne of the Left, knew very well what she was saying when she uttered the above sentiment, and she knew how it would play. The new babes of the ueber Left would associate “Palestine-Left Bank-Gaza” and have her back. But this has nothing to do with either the Left Bank or Gaza, and it happened a few days before the initial Gaza flotilla incident.
Thomas would have been 28 when the UN created the State of Israel from a territory heretofore known, loosely, as Palestine. Prior to that official act, the British government, big guns in the Middle East, during their raj, set the wheels in motion for the establishment of a Jewish state with their British Mandate for Palestine in the 1930s. She certainly would have remembered that, also.
Thomas, a professional wordsmith, was honing her art at its best, using the utmost double entendre to convey subtly that she really didn’t approve of Jews being in the area formerly known as Palestine at all and that the few elderly who’d made the actual transition from holocaust to Haifa, as well as any of their descendents, and various other assorted immigrants, should just go back from whence they came – even if that meant going back to places where they were labelled personae non gratae, tortured, imprisoned and displaced.
We on the Left freely label people in Arizona “Nazis”. Some of the people still alive who remember the formation of Israel had first-hand experience with real Nazis.
Within the past week, and many times before during the Netanyahu government, Israel has done a fair enough job touting herself as her own worst enemy in the eyes of the world. Criticizing that would have been justifiable, but being clever and inching across a message that the country doesn’t deserve to exist at all, not good. Just as Pat Buchanan’s suggestion that the status quo prior to the Civil Rights amendment was preferable to the present day.
Bill Maher is as constant in his unwavering support of Israel as he is in his equally unwavering support of the death penalty, both ideals giving the lie to his touted Progressivism. It will be interesting to see if he touches upon this incident with Thomas in his show this week, and to see how it plays against his own much-stated belief in freedom of speech, which is about as valid as his Progressive politics … not.

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