Friday, April 13, 2007

Frankly my dear, I just don't give a damn.

So I haven't been really good and offensive lately. I clearly have some catching up to do. I think I'll do that today.

First off, let me say how incredibly appalled I am by the state of our news coverage. There's a war going on. People around the world are dying in droves every day because of famine, civil war, disease, genocide, you name it. So what does CNN focus on? The death of a stripper, her illegitimate child's real father (we had 4 doors to choose from on this one) and a shock jock's really bad joke. Seriously? I have an entire theory on how television is an experiment on lowering the collective IQ of the masses, but that will have to be another blog for another day.

Today, I'm a little obsessed with what most will call my incredibly racist and bigoted opinion on what's wrong with the world, namely a good portion of American society. There's an amazingly misplaced sense of entitlement that people seem to have acquired, and I am convinced it's killing the basic soul and spirit of our country. Here's a thought: we are owed absolutely NOTHING we don't work for. The corollary to that thought is this: even when we do work for it, we have absolutely no right to assume that our compensation will be anywhere near what we expect it to be. That's life. It sucks and it isn't fair. Get over it.

I have a rant I can go on for days about how a large percentage of the 20-something generation and younger are suffering from this entitlement syndrome, but I don't think that will offend quite as many people. Instead, I'm going to focus on the roots of this entitlement syndrome afflicting sections of the American minority population and the situations that perpetuate them. As I am only speaking about sections of populations instead of groups as a whole, I will not offer qualifications for my opinions. I hope my readers are intelligent enough to handle that.

Case Study #1 - The Don Imus Factor

My sheer annoyance with this entire situation has left me without words, so I'll borrow Kansas City Star commentator Jason Whitlock's, since he can clearly read my mind.

"I don’t listen [to] or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim."

What Imus said was stupid, I won't dispute that for a second. I absolutely abhor the casual usage of the word "ho" and the misogynistic ideas it promotes. On top of that, I'm reasonably sure I can find at least 5 things said each day on Imus' show that will leave me offended and incensed for the vast majority of my morning. That's why I don't watch the asshole. Do I think he should have been suspended for a few days? Yes. People say stupid things every day and their right to do so is protected by the American Constitution, but having a public forum provided by a major broadcasting magnate and funded by private corporations is a privilege. Do I think he should have been fired? Twice? Of course not. He's a shock jock. He gets paid to be a prick.

Even past what Imus actually said, I am further scandalized by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton's blatant and shameless exploitation of the situation. In the words of my dear friend Stefanie, "[J]ackson and [S]harpton need to get real fucking jobs already." They have wasted their credibility and their positions as de jour leaders of the African American community by picking battles that honestly don't matter. I have a suggestion for them. If they want to do some real good in the world, lobby for better education for everyone, be they black, white, brown, green, or blue. Half our problems in the world are a result of a lack of education. It's amazing what can be accomplished within a society that can read, write, and speak properly. The way to further a downtrodden group of people is not by fueling their sense of victimization and pandering to a need for sympathy and attention, it's through empowerment. To Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton I say this - Stop enabling the African American stereotype.

Case Study #2 - The Duke Factor

This case has upset me most of all because of the incredible amount of damage it has done to a section of our American legal system, the American sense of prosperity and success, and the rights of women, all at the same time.

Mike Nifong committed the worst offense imaginable against one of the most basic tenets of the American justice system: he took the blindfold off of justice and threw it headfirst into assumptions and stereotypes. For that he should be punished severely. In America, we are guaranteed fairness by the Constitution in that the courts will not consider race, gender, or economic situation when dealing with legal matters. Sadly, that's all that mattered from the very beginning in this case as the media helped Mike Nifong hang 3 wealthy college boys over an accusation by a less fortunate African American single mother.

I'm convinced the only reason those boys won't see the inside of a jail cell is because of their parents' ability to hire the best legal representation around. The one thing that saved them was what called their credibility into question from the beginning - their affluent background. Everyone has their own opinion about what the stereotypical rich college boy is like, and everyone pulled out every negative opinion they could think of when the media first broke the story. Like every stereotype, there had to have been someone who did something to give birth to the idea in the first place, but is it fair to immediately judge a person not because of their actions, but because of their place in a demographic poll? Prosperity and success are traits to be applauded, not attacked in the hopes of getting an apology for one's own inability to attain either.

The aspect of this case that angers me the most is the fact that this situation has set back the rights of women. While I won't be so presumptive as to say that a woman will suffer direct mistreatment or inaction because of the false charges brought forth by the accuser in this case, I am convinced that this will effectively chisel away at the already tenuous trust in women who bring forth rape charges and dissuade victims from seeking the justice they deserve. It's a disservice to women everywhere when one woman lies about something as serious as sexual assault. Lives are ruined, public dollars are wasted and justice is pulled a little farther from reach for many women who need it the most.

In closing, I am enraged at our society's passive support of the victim mindset. It destabilizes the very fabric of our culture and poisons our ambition to succeed on our own merit. Man up, America. Quit sniveling, because unless you're under the age of 17, I really don't care what happened to you as a child. As adults, you control your destiny, not The Man.

1 comment:

stefanie said...

so i thought my current headache started because i missed my daily chocolate fix, but after stuffing my face with some chocolate covered coffee beans (kosher i might add) i still have a pounding in my head. and i told you that story to say - that's my excuse for not coming up with something witty enough to stand up to ms. unbearable's elegant and powerful prose. but i would like to say - i absolutely agree with whoever her "dear friend stefanie" is.