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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky
by Mark Steyn
Accelerating the Cultural Decline
by J. F. Kelly, Jr. [writer]
To my recollection, I have never listened to Don Imus. I’m not a fan of hip hop, either, and I don’t listen to “gangsta” rap, except on those unpleasant occasions when someone in a nearby vehicle is determined to share it with me and everyone else within a city block radius. I don’t have to breathe sewer fumes to know that I’m not going to like the smell. I apply that principle in avoiding radio or television shows featuring shock jocks or hosts trying to create entertainment out of obscenities or who ridicule others based upon race, gender or ethnicity. Using obscenities to generate laughter is a cheap way to get laughs and they are usually nervous laughs of embarrassment.
J.F. Kelly, Jr.
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive
who writes on current events and military subjects.
He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
So I had no problem with the firing of Mr. Imus from his radio show and TV simulcast because of sponsor and public reaction over his insulting description, in “gansta” rap terms, of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Good riddance, I say. The world will be a better place without his kind of verbal pollution. What I, and apparently so many others, had a problem with in all this was the obvious double standard applied so liberally in the response to the firestorm that his remarks ignited.
First of all, where was the outrage during all the years that rappers have been poisoning the air waves with their disgusting and violent babble? Why was it cool for them to denigrate women and glorify cop killing? Who gave them a license to get away with that stuff? I’ve heard arguments to the effect that rap is an artistic form of expression and should not, therefore, be censored. Please! On the other hand, if one can call a picture of a crucifix in a dish of urine “art”, I suppose that someone can consider “gangsta” rap “art” as well. Whatever. The point is, it’s disgusting, discriminatory and insulting to civilized people and has nothing of redeeming value about it so why should it be tolerated in a civilized society?
And who appointed the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to lead the moral crusade against Imus? I seem to remember insulting terms and expressions like “Hymietown” referring to New York and “’jewing’ down the numbers”, intended to mean understating certain data. What gives them or any individual the right to speak for an entire race?
Some of those who weighed in against Imus expressed the view that it is acceptable for members of the same race or ethnic group to apply racial or ethnic slurs to their own race or religion. It shouldn’t be. What gives any individual the right to insult his or her entire race, ethnic group or gender?
How can a society that tolerates “gansta” rap criticize fundamentalist Islamic practices that demean and trivialize women and treat them as property? How can we claim the moral authority to lecture any people of other nations on human rights when we ourselves appear to tolerate violence and the dehumanization of women?
So why, then, do we tolerate rap and violent video games? Perhaps it’s because we’ve lost our ability to be shocked. We’ve become conditioned to filth and smut. As our society has coarsened, we’ve become almost immune to shock and conditioned to acceptance. We appear to accept violence and drug usage as inevitable. Things that were morally unacceptable only a generation ago are now somehow tolerable. Tolerance and acceptance are “in”. They are politically correct.
Much of all this, I believe, is symptomatic of the drastic decline in parenting skills we are witnessing in this country caused, at least partly, by too many kids born out of wedlock and being raised (sort of) by a single working parent or by parents who want to be pals to their kids. Parenting skills are alive and well enough while their children are young, cute and compliant but too often collapse entirely when the kids become older, not so cute and much more rebellious. They are reluctant to monitor or criticize their children’s choices in entertainment and recreation for fear of being regarded by them as “weird” or hopelessly “out of it”.
Another symptom of a culture in decline is the amount of media time devoted to incidents like the Imus affair which, of course, is only reflective of the public’s obsession with scandal and sensation. But then again, a public that can remain riveted for weeks on the death of Anna Nicole Smith and who fathered her baby could probably derive entertainment value from a belching contest.
American taste and manners grow coarser. This coarsening is reflected in what we accept as public speech, behavior and entertainment. It is facilitating what many view as an America in decline. We should step back and listen to ourselves. We should try to view ourselves as others do. CRO
2007 J. F. Kelly, Jr.