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Thank You Rush Limbaugh & Al Franken January 14, 2007

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in anger, Blogging, Communication, hate, hate speech, Politics, Race and Prejudice, Stupidity.

This past week, in a public middle school in a the Midwestern United States, two young men sat next to each other. They were African-American and an Asian, but other than the nature of their remarks, they could have been of any race or gender. They had a conversation that went like this:

“Why don’t you go make me some shoes, or maybe an X-Box?”

“Why don’t you go pick some cotton?”


These young men are in the 7th grade, in a school system that has been racially integrated (via system-wide busing) since 1975. Sadly, this kind of exchange is not that unusual.

Sticks and Stones
Now, I’m not naive enough to think that this kind of verbal jousting is unheard of between good friends, but these two young men are not friends. They attend class, but other than that, they don’t interact socially.

Where did they learn to be so verbally abusive? Where did they learn to spew forth with such hate-filled speech? From their parents? Maybe so. Where did their parents learn this?

Mean Media
Much has been made of the influence of violent video games on teenage and children’s behavior. Many are quick to point to the risks of kids being inundated with images of violence hour after hour, and a corresponding rise in violent behavior. There are conflicting studies, suggesting either a clear causal link, or no link at all.

I have to wonder, with the push toward clear labeling, is language, sex, and violence the only things that should be labeled “Mature”? What about hate speech? I know that inciting others to violence is against the law, as is speech that fits the legal requirement of “hate speech.”

Fair Use Quoting Hate Speech?
Recently, a blogger named Spocko was kicked off of his ISP by the Disney legal department for e-mailing KSFO radio’s advertisers, sending them audio clips of some of the hate-filled speech from hosts Morgan, Rodgers, and Sussman. Some advertisers have left, but many have remained. Even media watchdogs have begun monitoring the progress of the case. (Update: Spocko’s blog is now up again.)

Morgan, Rodgers, and Sussman should be grateful. Years ago, Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh paved the way for their style of insult-riddled, name-calling programming. The KSFO staff should call both of these pioneers and thank them personally.

(Note: The Following is Sarcasm)
Now it’s my turn. I want to thank Limbaugh and Franken for providing a clear model of intolerance and hate. Without their lead, these two young men in the Midwest, along with thousands and millions of others, might have to look into the history books to find slurs and derogatory comments.

It could be worse. These young men might have to find out how to have a dialog.


1. t - January 17, 2007

our President labels entire nations “Evil” and does not seek out negotiations with any national leaders who he thinks might disagree with him.

and your questioning 7 year olds and media?

2. Tim - January 18, 2007

If President Bush had a reputation for using the “bully pulpit” available to him for effecting societal change, then I would probably hold him more accountable. His behavior suggests that he has little concern for how anyone else thinks, and regards his choices as “what’s best for the country, regardless of what the country thinks.”

As political commentators who are openly trying to affect political opinions and sway the public in specific directions (I’ve pretty much lost hope that they are simply providing entertainment of extremist views, ala Stephen Colbert), Franken and Limbaugh have failed miserably. All of Jon Stewart’s comments during his infamous Crossfire rant apply just as much to Limbaugh and Franken as they did to Carlson and Begala.

Fortunately, Crossfire’s inane debates went away. Unfortunately, the vacuum hasn’t been filled by anything more meaningful, so to listen to mind-numbing attacks on one side or the other , you have to pick which side to listen to. I have, and ultimately, it’s more enlightening to watch “Mind of Mencia” for lessons in racial tolerance and “The Daily Show” and the “Colbert Report” for a deeper understanding of political news.

What kind of commentary is it on our nation that more reliable (and funnier) news and social understanding is coming from Comedy Central than CNN or Fox News?

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