Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ultra-Sensitivity And Over-Reacction

"There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails." ~ Richard Rybolt

Forgive me. I know I have an opinion about this whole Don Imus' insensitive remark thing, but I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around how I feel. I know I feel something but I can't seem to articulate what I want to say.

The way I usually handle this kind of dilemma is to just start typing and whatever comes out is closest to what I want to say, but is rarely everything I have to say.

The issue is so petty and so unimportant, I don't know why it causes me to be unable to sleep thinking about it.

The remark, which referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy headed ho's", was absolutely insensitive, and on that, I believe we all agree.

I think the issue is not so much in what was said, but in the intent behind it.

Did Imus use the term as an intentional insult, or was he simply using a common colloquialism used routinely by blacks in an non-derogatory way? It can be argued that he was echoing the same kind of euphemisms that blacks use in their own everyday conversation, in an unconscious attempt to relate to his black audience members.

I don't think so. Don Imus is, in my opinion, an elitist, condescending, egotist who cares about one person and one person only. Himself. He believes himself intellectually above the masses. He is an angry, hateful man.

I don't doubt for an instant that he was forced by his radio network to issue an apology or face serious repercussions.

Everything and everyone is fair game to Don Imus. So, in that respect, he probably shouldn't be faulted for singling out one particular race. He is, after all, an equal opportunity offender.

Does he really have that much disrespect for black people? Absolutely. However, he has that much disrespect for all people regardless of race, color, or creed. Does that excuse his inappropriate remark?

Not on your life.

He did apologize, by the way, and his apology sounded quite a bit more sincere than others, such as Dick Durbin's and Cynthia McKinney's "If I have offended anyone" apologies.

Curiously, they still have their jobs.

On the other hand, I also believe the civil rights leaders who claim to be offended aren't really offended at all, but would never miss an opportunity to use any so-called offensive remark to generate more publicity and inflame as much public outrage as they can. Their entire motive is to further widen the gap between whites and minorities in this country, and Imus played right into their hands.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who has himself used similar offensive terms in referring to white people and has yet to offer an apology, had Imus on his radio show ostensibly, so Imus could apologize, and ended up pretending further offense when Imus inadvertently referred to Sharpton and his black Congresswoman telephone guest as "you people".

Obviously, Imus wasn't referring to all black people when he said that, but Sharpton was quick to object strenuously at the intentionally mis-perceived phrase.

Howard Stern, an equally egotistic radio shock jock, who has himself experienced some conflict with Don Imus in the past, nevertheless rallied to his foe's side, saying, something like, He shouldn't have apologized. He should have said it's just a joke, F--- You.

Now, Imus has been fired by MSNBC, and speculation abounds about whether CBS radio will fire him as well. If he is fired, it won't hurt him. In fact, it may turn out to be advantageous to him. Satellite radio will hire him and probably at a much higher pay rate.

Another thing I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around is this seeming ultra sensitivity to just about everything these days. It seems to me that too many people are much too thin skinned, and object to the most petty of offenses. If I am called a "cracker" or a "peckerwood" by a black person, I don't feel the least bit offended, but maybe that's because I really don't understand what it is about those words that I am to be offended. I know they are supposed to be insults directed at whites mainly because of our color, but I don't know what the terms mean.

Lewis Farrakhan has referred to whites in general as "white devils". I find that slightly offensive, but certainly not enough to rise up in outrage and demand his immediate execution. He never apologized for that, as far as I know. Jesse Jackson used the term "Hymie town" in referring to New York City's large population of Jews. He never apologized. Sharpton himself has ignited race riots with his racist pronouncements. Riots in which lives were lost. I don't remember an apology for that.

I find the loss of life resulting from irresponsible and unmotivated racist remarks highly and outrageously offensive. My outrage is not, however, predicated on what color I am.

It's not only over sensitivity to racist remarks that has me troubled. There are also all kinds of other examples of ultra sensitivity and the resulting over-reaction. I am thinking specifically of situations involving the relatively new problem of deadly road rage.

This is over-sensitivity related, too.

Yesterday, a truck driver in Maryland deliberately rammed a car off the road, killing the two occupants of the vehicle. Reports from eyewitnesses say the drivers of both vehicles involved had been driving recklessly, shouting, and flipping each other off just prior to the incident. Needless to say, the driver of the pick up sped away and authorities are still searching for him.

Last night, another incident occurred in Virginia on I-95 which also may have been a case of road rage. It may not either, but in any case, a car was exceeding the speed limit by about 15 miles per hour and slammed into the side of a semi-trailer truck, forcing the truck off the road, where it overturned, killing the driver and blocking all lanes of traffic.

That angered me personally, because I was caught in the traffic jam myself. I felt no need to react violently. But then, I have learned to be patient in my declining years.

Hey! Here's a thought!

Perhaps the appropriate punishment for people who have difficulty with being able to be patient would be some practical education. They should be forced to learn patience the same way I learned how to be patient.

They should be forced to stand in the longest, slowest moving check out line at Walmart, and not complain.


Marshall Art said...

I don't much care about Imus. He appears to be the type of broadcaster to whom I wouldn't spend a moment listening. On the face of it, I would initially say that his remarks had no more intent than as throw out lines the purpose of which was humor. When two people get rolling on a theme, each subsequent remark is meant to add to the joke. Jokes, by nature, are funny due to someone's discomfort. Many times the discomfort is quite intangible so even the targets laugh.

Of course, Imus isn't funny. He just isn't. The worst that should have happened is absolutely no attention given to the remarks. This accomplishes two things: First, it puts the remarks in it's proper perspective. Was it a stupid remark? Probably so, but more so than most that dribbles from the mouth of Imus? Probably not.

The second is more important. As Mark implied, the over sensitive nature of the general public these days is harmful to our society and culture. It would fit Mark's arrogance thread nicely. One has to have an overinflated sense of one's own importance and worth to take so much offense for such a non-issue remark that one would call for the speaker's dismissal. Get over it. People say stupid things all the time and often without malice or evil intent. It is my humble opinion that we shall never overcome racism if those who have held fast to their victimhood insist on seeing racism where it doesn't exist. Who are they that they must never be mocked, critiqued or in anyway brought to account? And notice that I haven't specified a race since we see such handwringing by more than just blacks. But whomever, they really need to lighten up, stop insisting that they deserve some kind of justice for every little slight, and grow up.

Finally, I have to say that I agree with those who have used this incident to highlight the lack of concern for those who create, package and market for public consumption the very language Imus used. That would be the rappers and their recording companies. The Jacksons and Sharptons need to come down on those people before they'll ever have a shred of credibility with me.

mom2 said...

A very good post, Mark and an equally good comment, Marshall.
The comment about an overinflated sense of one's importance does bring about a lot of the senseless rage that gets going. Grow up, is good advice.

mudkitty said...

Imus will land safe and sound at a private concern, like Howard Stern, and then he will retire gracefully to do charitable works.

Don't cry for me Argentina.

Abouna said...

Mark: You are absolutely right about people being way to thinned skinned these days. I remember when I was a kid, we used to hear all types of ethnic jokes on TV, and they were funny as hell, not dirty, not hateful, just funny and nobody got all furklempt over them.

Where I grew up, my neighborhood was predominately Germans, Jews and a few French. If you walked about four blocks east, it was like entering Poland and the Ukraine. Seven blocks to the west and it was Italians and Greeks and Lebanese. I had childhood friends from each of these neighborhoods and when we got together either in school,on playgrounds or anywhere else, we thought nothing about throwing digs about each others ethnicity and nobody got upset or felt hurt. even our nicknames were based on our ethnic backgrounds (except mine, since I was a mixture of Italian, German, Native American and Lebanese, so the others just called "skinny" or "runt" because I was underweight for most of my life). One of our group was German so we called him "Kraut". Two of our group were Italian, so one was called "Wop" and the other was called "San Dego", then there was "Nose blocker the Polaker", "Ali Baba" our Lebanese friend and "Starving Starvos" a Greek kid who was always hungry and the best kid in the bunch, "little David the Darkie", our Afican/American buddy. I say he was the best kid in the bunch because he was so small for his age, but he was the first to jump in when a fight started. Also because when we would meet at a playground or soda shop, and one of us wasn't there, "little David the Darkie" would rush off to the missing member's house to see if they were ok. We were a tight group, almost like brothers. I think of them often, even today and I miss each and every one.

We were the best of friends and we backed each other up in fights. Today, if we used those nicknames, we would probably end up being shot or stabbed.

As for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, those two make their living stirring up racial strife. Neither one could make an honest living otherwise. They pretend that they are the champions of their people, so that the Black Americans will continue to give to the organizations of these shisters. Then Jackson and Sharpton lobby for entitlement programs which are designed to keep the minorities down, so that Jackson and Sharpton can keep the money rolling in. Jackson is one of the biggest extortionists I have ever seen. He will go out of his way to look and see how many employees work for different companies and organizations, and then looks to see how many are Black. If Jackson feels that there aren't enough Black employees, he threatens the company with law suits and boycotts, pressuring them into giving lucrative business deals to him and his family members.

Concerning patients, I don't think that lack of patients and road rage is related to people being thin skinned. I believe that that has more to do with everything being so fast paced in the world today. Everthing has become faster, communication, travel, you name it.

There seems to be a link between new technology to speed up how fast we access and download information, how fast we are able to travel from one point to another and the ever increasing lack of patients. Everybody is in a hurry to go nowhere fast. The increased lack of patients has, in turn, led to a decrease in civility toward one another. we really need to slow down and smell the roses

Marshall Art said...


I had similar circumstances in my high school years. We also had a mis of ethnicity and never hesitated to use that for humor or mockery. One guy was a Jew and we'd call him "the Kike". We had a few Italians that we'd call "wop", "dago", "Guido" or a few other things. I'm mostly Polish, though they'd take off on my German last name. Another guy was Polish. One dude was a mix of Mexican and Japanese. Once while he was bouncing on a trampoline, we all started shivering because there was a "nip" in the air. In fact, that was his nickname, "Nip". Another guy said his family is from Spain. No one ever asked his parents, but we assumed he was really Mexican and thought being from Spain sounded better. But him we called Horace, because it was his dad's name and we found it funny.

But it didn't end with ethnicity. If you were known for some stupid move on your part, it was never forgotten and you could get a nickname that highlighted it. We'd get on each other about one's mother or sisters. People outside of our group thought we were the most heartless bastards around, but we were all very tight and as in your case, defended each other. We didn't understand people getting upset over being called a name. It just didn't compute.

mudkitty said...

The only people here who are thin skinned are the people defending Imus. Imus can defend himself. You guys aren't helping him.

mudkitty said...

Marshall...if you have to explain the aint funny.

anne altman said...

you might not agree on everything, but you all agree on this: imus is one weird looking dude.

Jason H. Bowden said...

Imus is a douche, and Sharpton is a demagogue. It doesn't get more complicated than that.

Abouna said...

Marshall art: You said: "We didn't understand people getting upset over being called a name. It just didn't compute."

Right on and Amen. How would like to have those days back again.

Dan Trabue said...

Mark, I'm not especially interested in this story, haven't been following it and all.

But I DID notice a story today that relates to an earlier post you had. You said back in March:

"If Ms. Palfrey's [a Madame] list becomes public, and we all know it will, eventually, I hereby make some predictions:

First, there will be many more Democrat politicians on the list than Republicans, a point that Lone Ranger made himself."

You wanna guess who the first name to come out was? And are you prepared to stand by your original assertion still?

Story here.

Mark said...

I stand by my predictions. One possibly false accusation against one man (who may even be a Democrat)does not a majority make.

Marshall Art said...

Really. Even the broad's attorney doesn't think the guy used the service for sex. And that IS the point of seeing who's in her book: to find out who's buying sex.

Dan Trabue said...

Just giving you the chance to back out sooner rather than later...

mudkitty said...

There's always a sacrificial Charlie Sheen was with Fleis. But if you think this book is going to get out you've got another thing coming. That woman will die of "natural causes" before that happens.

Poison Pero said...

Copied from what I commented at Mary's site
I've repeatedly said Imus should be fired, and am glad he was......Not because of what he said, but because he wouldn't have lasted 2 days had he been a Conservative host.

Limbaugh made a fairly harmless comment about the media wanting a Black QB to do well (McNabb) and he was fired at ESPN......He was correct, but fired anyway.

Savage made an off the cuff harsh comment about wishing a gay caller would get HIV on MSNBC and was fired.......Over the top no doubt, but no more so than Imus's comment.

All three should have been kept on the air, but the first two were canned, so Imus should have been also........Had he not been it would have been Liberal bias.

This way they are wrong all around......Three wrongs do make a right, because not doing the third would have been completely wrong.

Am I worried about them going after others? Yes, but they are going to anyway as soon as the Dems get the votes to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine.......Which is BS, but will be a reality as soon as they can. It's one thing for stations and sponsors to fire people for their content, but the Feds shouldn't be mandating it. It is a complete stomp on the 1st Amendment, but if we don't have the votes or the courts it will happen......AND IT WILL BE OUR OWN FAULT FOR NOT HAVING THE VOTES OR THE COURTS!

Like them or not, Savage and Limbaugh landed on their feet because they have great shows, with huge ratings. Therefore they will always have sponsors willing to take them on.....Imus sucks. Not because he's a Libby, but because he sounds like a damn drunk and has nothing to say. I'm not sure he will recover, and am not sure he should.

Henry said...

Dan, your point is...?

Pretty feeble.

Timothy said...

I actually agree with Dan... just not a story worth commenting on... yes, when Sharpton and Jackson show up, hypocrisy has arrived... but other than that...

Dan Trabue said...

"dan your point is...?"

Sorry, this was off-topic and I'll pass on belaboring the point.

Mary said...

The entire thing has just snowballed out of control.

Imus made a despicable remark. He needed to apologize. He did, but that wasn't enough.

I know this is not just about Imus anymore. It's about free speech and decency.

What really makes it rather complicated is the players involved.

The matter is just dripping with hypocrisy, thanks to the high profile role of anti-Semitic Al Sharpton and the thoroughly hypocritical responses from those on Imus' elite lib guest list.

All those media types and politicians eager to be on Imus' show must have suffered from "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" syndrome for years.

Moreover, what sort of "reverend" refuses to forgive when someone asks to be forgiven and admits to wrongdoing?

The whole thing is nauseating.

If we're taking out the trash, let's take out ALL the trash.

The selectivity in this case doesn't sit well with me.

(I gave you a Thinking Blogger Award, Mark.)

Trader Rick said...

I can't for the life of me see why Imus would want to pick on a basketball team playing in a championship game...but one thing this whole mess brought to light once again is how despicable the black racists like Sharpton and Jackson truly are. And I don't believe for a minute that one player was "scarred for life" as she claimed. That's a load of carp, just designed to inflame the situation. Everybody involved in this has behaved badly...including the drive-by media that has hyped it so relentlessly.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"Sorry, this was off-topic and I'll pass on belaboring the point."

What point?

Shouldn't you say:

"I pass belaboring my hopes and desires"?

You made no point, Dan.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Mark, I hope you see this. Iwas chosen for the Thinking Blog Award and posted my choices today and you are on my list.

Your writings are always thought provoking and interesting.

Keep up the great work.

Here's the link