Michael Gerson: “Defending the word ‘retard’ is not heroic”

Former George W. Bush presidential speech writer Michael Gerson has come out strongly in a recent op-ed against the use of the “r-word” in our commonly used dialectic.

The media is least attractive when it offers the pretense of fairness to cover a desire for self-serving controversy.

Professor Christopher Fairman of Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University takes to The Post today to defend the word “retard” against taboo, censorship and other forms of social repression. He argues that the r-word must be rescued from the terrible fate of the f-word. Even the n-word has “varied and evolving uses.”

Defending the r-word is not the protection of free expression; it is the defense of bullies.

There is a long tradition of religious and and moral reflection on the words we choose to speak. According to the Hebrew scriptures, “Death and life are in power of the tongue.” Jesus of Nazareth argued, “It is not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

Epithets gain and lose currency. Which means that standards of morality, respect and tact must be constantly reapplied in new circumstances — not that all standards should be abandoned entirely.

What the Special Olympics is proposing is not government censorship, it is social stigma. In this case, such stigma is a sign of moral maturity.

I have signed the pledge at www.r-word.org. I hope you do as well.

I also encourage you to sign the Special Olympics pledge against using the derogatory label “retard” against any person for any reason.

I would also challenge any person of any variety of partisan politics, which includes myself as well, to try and refrain from personal attacks and all statements that most people would honestly agree is a simple lack of “standards of morality, respect and tact” as Gerson describes it.

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Chris Wallace and Fox News are Lying to You

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(Image: The Osterley Times)

Chris Wallace and The FOX Broadcasting Company have proven to me personally that not only do they work in a direct effort to both intentionally under-report and under-disclose vital information to the stories they cover, but also to outright lie in the name of presenting their case.

Wallace attempted to defend the ACORN slander artist, James O’Keefe III, by repeating false claims that have irrefutable evidence stating otherwise.

As is the par for the course, nobody cares to speak out against these truth-spinners and defenders of McCarthyism in the US.

MediaMatters.org has covered the story far better than I ever could hope to, but I think it needs to be understood that when Fox News reports via Megyn Kelly that O’Keefe and Giles were in fact asked to leave ACORN offices, while O’Keefe and Giles have previously denied these claims on the air of FOX News, it is the obvious responsibility of Chris Wallace to inform you of this lack of credibility native to these people along with any other claims or assertions he would like to make.

That failure to report this information, and the failure of FOX News to hold their employees responsible, is an affront to American democracy as much as it is to journalism in the modern age. If these people continue to lie to the public there may need to be some serious consideration made toward the goal of civilly disrupting and peacefully dismantling an agency dedicated to spreading misinformation, racist sentiments and un-American propaganda.

This video is pertaining to another matter entirely but I draw your attention to the FOX News-ticker at approximately 2:10 in this clip:

.. Carter, who said racism accounts for most criticism of Obama, but says “That’s not what’s driving” Obama’s detractors ..

Words are important. To lie about the words of a former United States President, even in a cable news-ticker, is an insult to this nation and there is no doubt to me that this is far from some minor accident.

Look carefully at that sentence.

The whole statement is designed to make Jimmy Carter look like he is talking in circles, when in fact the Fox News organization is using their own language “most criticism” to put words in Carter’s mouth. A shameful and un-American thing to do, in my view.

Now look carefully at Carter’s actual quote:

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,

Carter was quite clear and not all ambiguous like the false and downright slanderous “Fox News-version” of events.

The words are “intense animosity“, not “criticism“. And “overwhelming portion“, not “most“.

Jimmy Carter can defend himself. I will not dissect every angle of this for the sake of this singular posting.

I am simply saying you look at the words someone spoke for what they are. Not twist them around until they say what you want them to say.

And it amounts to a simple, and for some hard to accept, fact:

Fox News appears to be in the business of promoting and advocating for racist ideals in the U.S.

Until I see clear examples of the end of their unwillingness to accurately report on fabricated-scandals like ACORN, the controversy over Jimmy Carter’s words or something to the issue of finally questioning the wisdom in keeping an avowed racist like Glenn Beck on the payroll, I see no reason to think or say otherwise.

There are some good people who work at Fox News. But there are good people who work at the IRS, too.

Doesn’t mean they’re not working in a cesspool.

Talkin’ Alan Colmes & Radio Broadcasting

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know nobody cares about Alan and his radio show. If you remember he got a lot of press and did an appearance on Colbert after leaving the syndicated cable TV show Hannity & Colmes which holds the record for the longest running seasons of any cable news broadcast.

12 years some of us watched Sean and Alan (they are friends in real life to debunk that whole myth) duel it out on our televisions.

12 years of seeing an intelligent and thought-out man make his sound point; then be shouted down, cut off or done the finger by the people running the show behind the live feed.

No, I’m not board operator. I had a Public Access television program briefly as a youth and am not technology illiterate. I talked with my operators frequently. I am a host by nature, I can’t help it. Would you like me to design an interview for you? Pick a figure I’d know in politics.

I know only part of what it means to have a “reputation” in the public and we only did a rare few open-lines on a few shows, but that was more than enough of a taste what real broadcasting must be like.

My voice is extremely recognizable so I don’t call in much to shows on the radio. This writer’s pseudonym “Lightborn” I blog with is actually all over my bank records and college transcripts. I am like most these days where a monkey with an internet connection could find out everything about me through social networking sites and all that noise.

I’m not really into anything but thought-provoking discussion on the internet or radio. But I’ll dance if the steps are not too complicated.

Being a subject of public scorn, or praise, on a large scale is not an experience I personally enjoyed.

I’d go out to get something at the store and:

“Hey! You’re that guy from the TV!”

At first it was flattering but not for long. Soon it became an equal share of “fag boy” and “love your show” which took a toll on me. Seeing as how I wasn’t getting paid and no other people existed other than board operators who wanted to re-vamp the program, I left. (Funny note: They still play the old tapes sometimes. I am going down there and ripping them out of the recorders! So embarrassing!)

What most fail to recognize about any person you, and I, happen to toss around the name of in media / government discussions are real people with real feelings.

I recently said to mild shock of some that if I personally met Rush Limbaugh I would sit down and just love to talk broadcasting with him. It’s true. The same is true of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and many others.

Putting me converse them with the things they all say on air, while it would be entertaining, is actually not a good idea. I have no honest way to tell you or any operator that I wouldn’t swear every other word and say “radical” things rather than sound arguments. The “historical” perspectives and “social sentiments” are like stabs into the heart of a man who defies all these classic political definitions. (Cry me a river, I know.)

That’s the beauty & glory of this wonderful thing we call “blog.” I can just take a second to look at what they said instead of going to ape-town. Then it’s up here if anyone gives a hoot. I try to put out links to all sorts of media and not just my kind of media.

Back to Alan:

Alan Colmes has, in my opinion, the best talk radio show on Fox News Talk. Hands down.

He lets through callers at a higher rate than any other national host I am aware of. Of all opinions, and levels of insanity.

He doesn’t brag about the fact that he has been doing radio since the Vietnam-era and protested that war way back then. Before we could prove that it was started on a lie.

Like he protested the Iraq War. Another war predicated on a lie.

On the radio every night when you weren’t listening. (I podcast him mainly.)

He doesn’t brag about the fact that he was part of the same comedy scene that gave of George Carlin The Great, and many others. (Comedy and radio broadcasting has always been intertwined in American broadcasting.) Yes, he was a comedian first. Now he’s a talk show host with that weird ‘cheesy’ kind of humor.

Alan Colmes refuses to accept the mantle of the “Anti-Limbaugh.”

He beats Rush out in terms of just the raw amount of time working in radio specifically; if we engage in this whole Limbaugh-ism that the longer you talk into the radio the better a broadcaster you become. Yet still he won’t take on this title most likely because he views it as ‘silly’ just as I do to aim any part of what you do just to feed into another’s design. So to speak.

Yet as his liberal critics always say about him:

“He is a total liberal push-over.”

Is simply untrue. He tries to conduct himself in very certain fashion and sometimes … well … on the air he just has had enough Republican-garbage for one night and lets it be known. We all know conservative daily talking-points are nonsense but sometime has got to say it aloud.

Those who still hate him should know his show brings in guest-hosts, full panels and little features like Radio Graffiti where everyone calls in and gets one sentence only.

Lastly, he has read the names of every single causality in the Iraq War right up to this very moment in time. The same is true for the entire American-Vietnamese Conflict. You show me one broadcaster in America with that kind of obvious record of bipartisan media and experience using formats like AM Talk Radio the way they were meant to used. For the people.

Possibly the best hire FOX has ever made, or will ever make. As you can tell I’m a fan. There’s a chatstream community and I only ever speak with the staff via email if your thinking I work for them or something. I am one of many “contributors” to the show. We influence it greatly and often with simple suggestions..

Nope, not employed by any media agency. No real life plans around that.

The popular term to best understand about Eric Lightborn is:

political-junkie

(March 17th 2009)

What’s the Difference Between a Liberal and a Conservative?

We hear this question often in our lives, if we are a political person ourselves.

I recently heard a response to this question that I disagree with but I still believe desires to be heard. I am afraid I cannot offer it as anything but anecdote.

Response: “Think in terms of kind and unkind.”

While this sentiment starts to address the huge gap between these ideologies it only touches the most bare and stereotypical edges of the matter.

It is hard to identify one single clear ‘line in the sand’ on this issue to illustrate and thus it becomes a little troublesome to answer simply.

The truth of the matter is more that historically both liberals and conservatives morph and relocate themselves throughout the political spectrum in all nations. Only certain key values and standards define each group and it is easier to grab one specific location and timeframe than to just say all liberals or conservatives are so.

Modern American liberals are clearly defined against modern American conservatives in terms of their views of separation of church and state.

Modern American liberals are clearly defined against modern American conservatives in terms of their views of the use of military budgets and international policies.

These kind of statements are the only real response to this question and it is obviously verbose to try to answer this question with what sounds like reading a textbook at someone.

It is said sometimes that these groups are defined by the members they attract. I believe this only partly defines the ideology and the group. The common views and desires are the true backbone of every movement.

Some claim the liberal movements to attract the more ‘fringe’ elements of society while conservative attracts a more ‘common’ element of society.

That may have been true in days past but in our world, right now, the conservative movement has attracted the truly fringe elements of our society in the past national campaign and to this day on talk radio and certain websites. Unquestionable willful destruction of non-partisan debate is expressly un-American.

I think my answer to this question is more like an answer one might get from Yoda or some wandering mystic.

“Ask me again when you know which one you are.”

I think if someone is even asking they are just fresh into politics and all political types, even myself, must claw backwards into our memories to a time when we were apolitical and remember that nobody comes out of the womb with a position on taxation rates.

We form all these things we call ‘opinions’ as we go. So cut a break to people who were spacing out on their nation when we needed them the most because we still need them now that they are paying attention.

UPDATE:

I think I was wrong here. The best way to understand what a liberal is and what a conservative is in this day and age is exactly what was said in the first response here: think in terms of kind and unkind.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Race

[Related link]

I have never presumed to have any more means by which to judge of others but by their actions and their words, just like any other man. For my part I take a rather wide surveillance of the modern American media and open-outlets of public opinion that is simply an attempt to balance my own politics and avoid misinformation.
In the process of this I have long known what Holder said so frankly to the American public yesterday to be a simple fact of American life. The greatest of comedians help us laugh about the differences between us and the greatest of dividers desire us to hate each other for the same differences.
I always attempt to speak within my own experience as often as possible and I am doing just that when I say I have personally encountered racism in my life in the form of Neo-Nazi groups approaching me. I am blonde hair and blue eyes so these misguided individuals saw me as a ‘good catch’ when was an adolescent. I am disgusted every time I hear people speak the perspective that we have conjured the race issue or that America has all-but completely balanced racial tensions.

In a free society there is no other compromise than to allow the pro-segregation or groups like these Neo-Nazis to exist in so far as The Freedom of Speech allows, but not many Americans today understand that it means to look one these individuals right in eye and tell him you don’t agree with the prejudiced statements they made.

I have never said that racism is isolated to white racism and the reality of racism in all the colors is present. Personally I do not try to keep some grand tally of how much racism is in each group at any given time, due to fact that all racism is founded in same place of ignorance and hate.

Even in risking my life to disagree with real life racists in rare instances I would still call myself a coward as Holder suggests. I have very little to speak on outside of my own comfort zone regarding race and politics.

I certainly am prone to the overreaction and quick accusations of racial motives but in my case it is at times just previous experiences shading my perception. This was foremost in my mind as I first saw this now political hot-potato New York Post cartoon of a gunned down chimp associated with authoring the stimulus.

Racism?

Racism?

I still see this image as racially influenced and designed to degrade Black Americans, not Congress or the Speaker of the House. As the cartoonist has since implied.

Eric Lightborn

Ann Coulter Still Sucks

On CNN’s Larry King Live tonight: Ann Coulter expressed that the appearance of Rush Limbaugh running the Republican Party in recent weeks was an excellent thing.

Condoning the viscous partisanship and unpatriotic intolerance of any policy not generated by Republican means as an outright impassable bill. This constitutes a complete breakdown of debate and any further progression toward any mutual goal.

She also contends that someone who is a New York Times Best-Seller couldn’t possibly be someone who is hated in America. I wish I could walk some moral high road on this but I’ve uttered these exact words aloud many times. I hate that extremist wingnut calling herself a “conservative” when she is more a nationalist than anything else.

I try to focus on the viewpoint and not the person but this brand of character makes it extra difficult for even the mellow tempered group, who I have never claimed to be a member of anyway.

She wants all of America to believe that the size of Limbaugh’s daily audience as well as her own book sales in combination are proof of a conservative majority that agrees with her and not with Obama or any of the Democrats. Anyone who knows about modern media, knows that you can’t judge public opinion by simple things like ratings or sales of specific materials. It gives a general idea of what people wish to read or hear about but is not in any way affirming the policies or agendas expressed in the material itself. (Side-note: Rush Limbaugh generates roughly 20 million listeners a show which is an incredible number but compare it the roughly 16 million listeners a show for Coast to Coast AM; a paranormal, philosophical, scientific and investigation oriented program which remains somewhat apolitical to this day. You can also use these same numbers to see that only a small percentage of Americans even listen to any radio programming on any given day.)

Public opinion is always somewhat intangible and fiends like Coulter always seek to twist it to fit into their politics. Even in the absence of facts.

This woman is one of the most obvious far-right political shock-jocks out there, and even I have to step back and just laugh at this silly woman from time to time. She enrages me, she irritates me, she lies at us all and then smiles. But at the end of day she is just spouting old rhetoric from bygone eras of the enemy being the ‘”commie pinkos” and a return to the days of McCarthyism.

May her disdain for Americans be recorded and may her hatred for our country and its values be seen by all who think her worth their time. If anyone not of her party does anything it is bad for America and she practically admits exactly that.

This is anti-Americanism and if I have to explain that to anyone, they are disrespecting the Founding of this nation and the blood shed to see us free from the yoke of tyranny.

Let it be known, this level of misinformation and slander quickly escalates past idle commentary and into the realms of criminal activity as we demonize real people with real lives. The whirlpool of bunk statistics and broad generalizations coming from this unseasoned wench is some of the worst American politics has to offer.

I do not claim any level of innocence in this. I am as guilty as she is for as much as responding to this nonsense.

As long she and I can roll around in the mud of politics together then I have no complaints. But this woman tries to get fresh before you finish reading the first two words of the title of her book. I can write slam pieces on conservatives and try to publish them but I don’t view it as constructive use of my time as a writer in any way. She honestly wants America to believe she really believes even half the garbage she prints and says.

Also she said something to the extent of a real man being a “conservative man.” I think your average “conservative man” is too frightened of goons and gays to please any real woman. She will remain unsatisfied with her sex life until she gets back to dating liberals again. If she puts a bag over her head I’ll take her out to diner!

Republicans who buy this brand of garbage are misinformed, racist, sexist or anti-American. Buy my books! They are called The Military Code of Conduct, The Bill of Rights and The Geneva Convention to finish you up.

Interesting how to learn my perspective on national affairs you don’t end up filling up my bank account in the process…

Fox News and Other Outlets Fuzz the Stimulus 2009

http://mediamatters.org/items/200902180019?f=h_latest
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-nLS6FJtSM