Property Grunt

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So It Goes

I have never read any of his books, but I knew of his reputation and despite his literary pedigree he displayed a wicked sense of humor when he showed up in Rodney Dangerfield movie. Goodbye Mr. Vonnegut. Perhaps in the near future I will visit the Slaughterhouse Five.

I once had a discussion with this guy I know about the Justice League of America and we began to focus on the Martian Manhunter. Besides being a shape shifter, he was the last of his kind and was always haunted by his loneliness.

Our discussion quickly became ugly when the subject of the Manhunter’s feeling of being an outcast came up when this guy described the Manhunter as the” N-word of the super heroes.” If you don’t know what the N-word means, then look it up in Google because I am not going to explain it to you. And make sure you do it in the privacy of your own home.

I was shocked, not because it was the first time I heard him say that word, but how causally he said it. My immediate reaction was to tell him not use that word. His immediate reaction was to say that the N-word was just a word. Nothing else. And then he tried to maneuver the argument onto me by making personal attacks on my character.

Now, I have had memorable bouts of foot in mouth disease, but I make an effort not to say that word and other racial slurs in public, hell even in private. I am just not comfortable talking like that.

Here’s some background. First of all this gentleman and I are not African-America. We both come from good homes, good communities and went to good schools. I think he is a good guy and he is not a racist in the classical sense (Whatever the hell that means. I mean is there such thing as a classical racist? It is either you are or you aren't?) but I have noticed that he has the tendency to be reckless with his words. Besides that incident, every now and then, he would say something offensive to me, but pass it off as a joke or state that he had the freedom of speech to say what he wanted. I realize now he says these things to provoke a reaction for conflict or humor. But it is hit or miss. He is a masterful debater and I think he should go to law school. But despite his talents he does not have the wherewithal to be a lawyer.

I bring up this story up because of Don Imus. As everyone knows by now, he is officially unemployed due to some derogatory remarks he made about the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team.

I have never been a Don Imus fan because as far as I am concerned there is Howard Stern and white noise. Also I never understood what the hell he was saying with his incomprehensible mumbling. Please understand that I am not judging Imus or Sharpton or race relations.

I just want to talk about the freedom of speech. I am a blogger. And the freedom of speech has given me the right or privilege, to express myself. I will fight for the right of free of speech for anyone. Even people I dislike. Because the right of free speech is for all, not for a select few.

That is why I firmly believe that the sudden end to the career of Don Imus is not an attack on free speech but free speech in action.

Yes. You heard me. MSNBC and CBS firing Imus is an act of free speech. First of all Don Imus can say whatever he wants. He is free to go on any street corner to speak his mind; he can go on a speaking tour and discuss what happened. He has not been imprisoned or physically restrained by anyone or any entity from speaking. The only thing he can’t do at this time is speak on the airwaves. That will probably change with satellite radio.

The removal of Imus was not by the government or some type of oligarchy. He was removed by a growing chorus of people who strongly disapproved of what he said about the Rutgers Women’s basketball team. They did not use violent means to oppress him and as far as I know there were no physical threats. They simply spoke their minds of how they felt and made the general public aware of their outrage. Seeing how that public was upset and realizing that viewers do not watch programs that upset them or buy products that are advertised on programs that are upsetting, they canned Imus.

That is how free speech in America works. Is it perfect? Nope. Has it hurt America at times? I can give a laundry list of incidents of where free speech has gotten America into some major jams including the one on the other side of the world. For better worse, this is our system.

What it all comes down with free speech is that a person has the right to say what is on their mind, however others have a right to respond in kind. That’s the deal. Everyone has the right to say what they want. You don’t like it? Don’t live in America. That is why I am not alarmed in anyway about the Imus development. Because everyone has been put on notice. Even Al Sharpton. In his last broadcast, Imus pointed out thatSharpton owes some apologies to the acquitted Duke lacrosse players. Meredith Viera also threw a couple of shots when she pointed out to Sharpton that the hip hop community is also guilty of displaying misogynistic behavior to African American women yet they are not being held accountable.

As for this gentleman, like I said he is a nice guy but I have to admit it bothers me the way he talks sometimes. Yes. He has the right to speak his mind. But I have the right not to listen. Hey. Another fringe benefit of free speech! He is always welcome to talk to me but only if he learns some manners.