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Not Just Another Imus Post?

April 14, 2007

There is no escape from this topic this week. Not even on NPR. So rather than bother myself with my own observation,  I’ll relate part of Vanderleun’s

What now follows is the ritual “display of the body in whole and in parts” for about a week until something or someone new stumbles along. During this time, media personalities and politicians famished for ratings or votes will come along and chew off hunks of the corpse. We shall watch them closely to see how they feed. They will come to bury or to praise him, but if the latter they shall praise him softly lest withering gaze of the race-gender basilisk fix on them as the next sacrifice to be stuffed into its gibbering maw.

Praise or criticism of the whole shuddering tumbril of race/gender hustlers that infest what passes for our “culture” is a very “del-i-cate” business these days. In public or in private — and especially on the air — one must constantly filter and monitor what one says in words and inflections and to whom one says it. It is, for all our constant prating about the freedom of speech, the actual on-the-ground reality of the speech-stifled nation in which we live. A nation in which you must never, ever say in public what you really think or mean; a nation whose national expression has become something very much like what we see and abhor in a dictatorship.

There’s been a lot of blather over the past few years about “the tilt of the country towards censorship, the crushing of dissent, the chaining of free speech, etc.” It is almost always directed towards the one thing in the universe that many Americans fear most — the single most evil power since the creation of Satan, Hitler and, oh yes, Israel — George Bush. Yes, that man has stripped away our liberties until all we have left is a baby’s pacifier and a whoopee cushion through which all expression is muffled or silenced.

Of course, as in all things that lead back to George Bush as the prime cause and most powerful mover since God, it is pure bullshit. But it is bullshit with a powerful purpose. It lets those that create it avoid the internal self-recognition. The recognition that they are the ones promulgating censorship and shunning and silencing in the culture through threat, action, extortion and intimidation.

His conclusion:

It seems to me that what we need now more than ever is a lot of straight talk instead of a lot of talk that, above all, avoids offense. Right now it would seem that the only person you can insult and offend with impunity and without consequence is the President of the United States. That may do for many of the deranged among us, but I’d prefer to work on a much, much longer list.

Well, I don’t really want to go out with the purpose of offending people, and I don’t think Vanderleun does either, but there is said for the idea of just sticking to the truth even when you know it will offend the hearer. So much of what passes for moderation seems to me simply a desire to be polite and not offend. The exception to this rule is people who have become the offenders. Then all obloquy is in order until repentance is given.

That said, I happened upon the Imus program a few weeks ago when I was changing channels. I marvelled at the stupidity and vulgarity of his shtick. I had some dim idea that he was some kind of liberal, but to me he seemed rather devoid of ideology. He appeared to be expending considerable effort to come up with the next juvenile comment. I don’t feel sorry for him, but I didn’t see fit to get my knickers in a twist about him either. The real problem is too many people listen to him, and too many important people go on his show. My solution: don’t listen.

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