Sunday, October 02, 2005
I would instead like to talk about form: The form that these sorts of racialized kerfuffles always tend to take.
1) They are invariably used as a political weapon against people with the wrong point of view. It goes without saying that a Robert Byrd or a Cruz Bustamante can shout the "n" word from the rooftops without any real consequences, because they are reliably socialist. That's just the way things are. In contemporary America, so much of the time, race is not about race but rather about politics.
2) The psychology at work. It is sickening to watch white people use the designated victim as a sort of Judas goat so that they can feel better about themselves. "Thank God *I* am not a racist like *that* guy." In the specific case of Limbaugh, we see the lovely spectacle of the lily-white NFL owners' club putting pressure on ESPN to fire Limbaugh for being racially insensitive.
3) I have a big problem with the appearance of the story on Tuesday. Limbaugh's remarks were made on Sunday morning. Why did the story not break until Tuesday? Why were Limbaugh's remarks "offensive" and "outrageous" on Tuesday but not on Monday?
I will answer my own question: Because the press hadn't built up enough outrage on Sunday.
A controversy like this is often the result of a sort of media push-poll: Eventually the reporters in question shoved the Limbaugh quotes in enough faces so that enough people were suitably outraged, and we were off and running.
If anything, the current Bill Bennett "controversy" is even more absurd. It's pure stupidity. The manufactured outrage is based on
A) The belief that Bennett was advocating the selective abortion of black babies. The belief is indisputably wrong, since Bennett was arguing from a pro-life position. But this hasn't stopped the moonbats from taking the one line out of context in order to paint Bennett as Hitler. American news outlets tended to avoid this kind of lunacy, but the most America-hating of the foreign press ran with it to create inflammatory headlines. It's a really, really stupid argument, and more to the point an easily defeated one. So the less stupid among the Left prefer to go with
B) The belief that Bennett attributes a higher crime rate to black Americans. There was massive wailing and gnashing of teeth over this one, but unfortunately for the lefties, this is statistically true. Wonkette says sheepishly: "...well, in a very literal sense he's not wrong."
For this--for being deliberately taken out of context, and for stating a fact--the man's supposed to lose his livelihood permanently.
Liberal interest groups, using code words--"the young and disadvantaged," "the poor," "minority communities"--instead of specific references to racial identity, have been saying the same thing for years, without one word of criticism from any self-appointed spokespeople of certain communities. The linked article is very clear: Reduced populations of minorities via abortion produces a reduced crime rate. This is exactly what Bennett said--except that Bennett is clearly horrified by the implications of using abortion for what the Nazis called "social prophylaxis," and the pro-abortionists are not; they are, in fact, delighted at the idea.
I would also point out that, once again, the "rage" over Bennett's "outrageous" remarks was slow in coming. Bennett made the statement fairly early Wednesday morning, September 28--I actually heard the remarks as he made them live in the 8-9 AM EST hour. The lefty website Media Matters posted the remarks that afternoon at 3:18 PM. But apparently the remarks weren't outrageous enough to cause anyone in the media write a single story about them on the 29th. It took a full day of the media shoving the ridiculously out-of-context quote down people's throats before, on Friday the 30th, there magically appeared, radiant and inchoate like Botticelli's Venus, a Story.
And as a final note, I would point out further still that many of the stories went out of their way to identify Bennett's past gambling problems
In 2003, he admitted he was a heavy gambler after news reports that he had lost millions of dollars in casinos.
Why, I wonder, is Bennett's What-Happens-in-Vegas-DOESN'T-Stay-in-Vegas moment--the blatant double standard makes my blood pressure rise every time one of those commercials comes on--why is this relevant to his remarks about abortion and race? Why on earth is it necessary to bring this up? Because--he said, answering his own rhetorical question--such informal "amendation" of the charges is necessary when conducting a witch hunt.