Monday, October 01, 2007

If I were in charge of the alphabet, I'd put M and F together

I know I'm late on this, but there was no way for me to finish this blog while the irritation I felt was fresh:

Bill O'Reilly is either a blatant racist or an ignorant jerk. Actually, there's no "either-or" there. Scratch that. His remarks that eating at a black-owned restaurant was no different than eating at an Italian restaurant were exactly the kind of tripe we're all used to hearing from talk media's favorite unlikable blowhard. Rush Limbaugh would say the same thing, except he doesn't talk when his mouth is full. And Ann Coulter doesn't ever eat.

--Defenders of the indefensible talk-show host say that his comments were taken out of context. But as Al Franken once said about Jerry Falwell's post-9/11 comments, "The only way they could be taken out of context is if he had said, 'I'd have to be a fucking nut to say...'"

--Yes, I know that Media Matters spread the comments. Most of the news outlets and O'Reilly apologists take pains to point this out, as if this means it didn't actually happen. Since the "Betray Us" fiasco, anything coming from a liberal voice is immediately seen as suspect, because of its supposed partisanship. You know, unlike Fox News.

--Assuming O'Reilly was being as earnestly delighted as he claims (big assumption), then he is being ignorant at best. Growing up in Louisiana, you always know at least a few people who are openly racist, but somehow have at least one friend of another race. How does that happen? "Well, he's different. He's hardworking and friendly, not like the others." This line is spoken with the tone of someone who can't believe there are examples of civilization among an ethnic group. The question is, what about Bill's experience would shock him so much that he felt the need to point it out?

I'm surprised O'Reilly didn't go the Mark Fuhrman route and compare blacks to "normal people." But he came very, very close.

Other comments O'Reilly made, I think, even better typify this whole mess. Talking about an Anita Baker concert he recently attended, B O'R said:

"The band was excellent, but they were dressed in tuxedoes, and this is what white America doesn't know, particularly people who don't have a lot of interaction with black Americans," he said.

Yes, black people wear tuxedoes. Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly, for being the voice of white Americans who occasionally associate with black Americans.

"They think the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg."

If that were true (though I think that's also condescending), I'm sure it would have nothing to do with O'Reilly's constant crusades against rappers such as Ludacris, whose lyrics are regularly taken out by O'Reilly.

In light of this incident, I hope American diners across the land come together in the spirit of unity and scream for "MF-in' iced tea" anytime and every time they see Bill in their immediate vicinity. Hell, I hope it becomes a brand and advertises on his show. Karma, baby.


Nick said...

Come on, Ian. Even Jesse Jackson seemed to understand O'Reilly's statements.

His comments were taken out of context. With the growing popularity of the hip-hop generation and the declining of popularity of figures like Bill Cosby and B.B. King, many people in this country, thanks much to movies and reality TV, do see black America as Puff Daddy and 50 Cent. It's a shame, but an unfortunate fact.

Example: In the football world, Mike Vick jerseys always out-sold Ladanian Tomlinson jerseys. He out-sold L.T. b/c of image, but what image was he portraying? That's something that many people tack notice of.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, Bill's remarks were not smart in any context. At worst, they are malicious and racist. At best, they are condescending. Is the fact that blacks can run a restaurant such a revelation that it merits "praise" such as this?

To use a football analogy of my own: should we point out that Tiki Barber can drive a Cadillac as well as any white person? What would such a "compliment" say about the person saying it?

You and I, like any honest people, understand that the black community is a diverse, dynamic group not done justice by rap lyrics or preconceived notions. You are right, though, that the media would often have us think otherwise. A lot of "O'Reilly Factor" viewers seem to think so.

Leigh C. said...

Woohoo! Put M(onday) and F(riday) together, and every week is just the weekend! Yeah, baby!