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Klavan On The Culture

Let Em Speak

June 24th, 2013 - 12:35 pm

She has a big serve too.

Another example:  tennis player Serena Williams recently came under massive on- and offline fire after an interview with Rolling Stone in which she was asked (for some reason) about a rape case involving a drunk 16-year-old girl. She said:

I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you—don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”

I’m no fan of Serena’s. She’s a great tennis player, but a lousy sport with a big mouth. And she certainly didn’t express herself very cleverly here. But come on, we know what she meant. Rape is evil, but a girl getting drunk around a lot of drunk guys is foolish. That doesn’t make rape any less evil, but the evil of rape doesn’t make getting drunk like that any less foolish either.

And if you disagree — so the hell what? So a southern chef in her mid-sixties has issues with race. So an athlete speaks inelegantly about a heinous crime.  It’s not that we shouldn’t react or disagree or respond. But do we have to play the villagers in the last reel of Frankenstein whenever anyone steps two inches south of some imaginary line? All it is is a way of making ourselves feel righteous, of displaying our righteousness to others: “You can see what a good person I am by just how hard I kick Paula Deen when she says something wrong.”

Let people talk — let them talk without fear. They’re interesting. They’re, well, diverse. They say things we disagree with. They say things they shouldn’t. They use bad words. They make mistakes. It doesn’t kill us. It doesn’t even hurt us, if we have our heads on straight. We can just chalk it up to — oh, I don’t know — being alive with other people.

And by the way, you’re not that righteous and we all know it. You’re not fooling anyone.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

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Top Rated Comments   
I believe your assessment of other western societies as "not racist" does not withstand real scrutiny. Racism, or tribalism and ethnocentrism if you wish, is a natural and pervasive trait of humanity, and is found everywhere. Consider the conflicts in the Balkans, across the mid-East, and in Africa, but also across Europe between invasive Muslim populations and the native Europeans, who have been squabbling with each other too, for centuries.

My daughter spent a year as an exchange student in Germany, and encountered far more instances of racialism than she has ever seen in California -- and she was astonished by that perception. She even met a Mongolian who hated the Chinese, but when asked why, he could give no answer, and was astounded that she did not share his prejudice.

If a disinterested and impartial observer (like maybe a Martian) were to evaluate the level of racialism and tribalism in the world's societies, I'd bet the USA would be close to the best -- at least until we destroy ourselves by admitting millions who will not assimilate, creating new ethnic divisions that will likely tear us apart, as Pat Buchanan has eloquently demonstrated.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the left's most potent weapons is their ability to confuse the issues and muddy the waters. On the one hand, they lay total claim to the mantle of liberalism, but on the other they are repressive and regressive in their "tolerance". In tandem, they call themselves progressives, as if it is they who will usher in "progress".

Orwellian doublespeak is their method, yet many are clueless. And so while Americans are being silenced en mass by the PC police, along comes a generally offensive leftist who surprisingly is ripping off their mask. Yes, like true authoritarians, Deen had to be sent to the woodshed, all in the name of an omerta. Alas, only certain things are deemed offensive by leftist police, certainly not pissing on the sensitivities of white males, Jews, Christians, patriots. Hint: Sarah Palin.

Moreover, only within a nation gripped by leftist hegemony would a POTUS "make time" to call a basketball player who "came out", as if this is the mandate of the leader of the free world - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/05/06/the-leader-of-the-free-world-makes-time-to-call-gay-nba-player-even-as-the-west-stands-on-the-precipice-whats-going-on-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

It is all of the same debasing state of affairs.

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, I get it, racism is a Southern thing, is it?

Yeah, all those blacks living in Harlem and Roxbury and the Southside of Chicago? Well, that's just the way blacks are, they like living in ghettos! It had nothing to do with racism when blacks were mistreated in the north, right?

Right, yankees? You believe it's something in the water down south, or what?

Jeeze, I'm so sick of hearing that racism is some kind of endemic southern trait. I grew up in the deep south, and have lived the last 30 years in California, and I can vouch that people are just as likely to think in terms of "groups" and judge them because of the group they belong to as anybody I ever met in Dixie. And I promise you that I've heard the "N" word much more often here in San Francisco than I ever heard it back in Louisiana.

So enough with the self-righteous rubbish.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (37)
All Comments   (37)
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Maher has made so many outrageous idiotic bigoted statements himself, and being roundly criticised for them, he is somewhat tolerant of outrageous statements made by others. It is one of his few good qualities.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Never heard it used in a positive way - ni**er are you crazy! Obviously you never heard any rap. Or traveled on public transportation. Or been around any inner city blacks in general. Lets be frank, many blacks use ni**er in the same manner that white males use "dude". Paula Deen is 66 years old, which means she grew up in the South in the 40's and 50's, what the hell do you think they called blacks way back in the "bad old days". If we had people who could still add and subtract, which means they could have subtracted her age from the present date, and never asked this stupid damn question.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
What I'm curious about is WHEN did she use it? If she used that word in 1963, as a teenager before the civil rights movement, when people still used it, why is she getting fired 50 years later? I mean, it's a terrible word, but people all over the country 50 years ago were that offensive on a regular basis.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a world of difference between Bill Maher calling Trig Palin a 'retard', Serena Williams inelegantly commenting on a rape case...both within the past few weeks...and Paula Deen using the word 'n***** (I think it is ridiculous that the word, as obscene and objectionable as it is, has now been completely banished from any and all discourse, even when it is merely used in reference, or quoting others, and not as a racial slur) decades ago. The hypocrisy of a culture that showers untold millions on "artists" whose music is rife with the word (not to mention calling women 'bitches' and ''hos'), gives a media voice to Al Sharpton, who has made a very good living fanning racial divisiveness, and has incited riots that resulted in murder, and gives a pass to Jesse Jackson's calling NYC "hymietown" is beyond description. Yes...the Food Network is a private company, free to air or not air whatever they like. I would challenge those within that company to claim that none of them have ever in their lives used slurs, racial or otherwise, having fired Deen for simply being honest about something that none of the would similarly be.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Food Network is a wholly privately owned entity, and it's their prerogative to hire and fire their on-air personalities for whatever reasons they see fit, so long as they don't cross the line in doing so. Do I agree with the firing? Probably, no, though I don't know all the facts of the case. It makes Food Network look weak and terrified of the Left's Alinsky tactics.

Deen is not being pilloried. Pillories were set up as a shaming device *by the government.* So far as I can tell, the government is entirely uninvolved in the public shaming of Paula Deen. If the folks on the Right want to, we could Twitter to the skies in defense of Deen, arguing that the unfair treatment she received should at the very least merit her reinstatement. But we'd have to be infuriated enough by her treatment to actually follow through and DO something about it. Otherwise, in the court of public opinion, her shaming is being uncontested, pressure is brought to bear upon FN and their corporate sponsors, and Deen becomes a liability and must go.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The proper use of "shame" has been banished from our society to the point that people don't know how to use it anymore.

Recently one of Jon Stewart's comedy writers tweeted a stupid joke *during* the Oklahoma tornado. I think it was very appropriate for other tweeters to point it out as being childish, thoughtless, etc. The comedian was properly shamed. She admitted her mistake, apologized, and deleted the tweet. That should have been the end of it. But of course, there were many who wouldn't let it go. This undermines the power of shame. If you make it so that you are "damned if you do and damned if you don't," then what is the point of learning from one’s mistakes and repenting?

And we see that being done here with Deen. She has only admitted to using the n-word at some point in her life. (I guess she may have learned from the OJ Trial not to put a date on when that was because you might be off by a few days.) She was honest about her mistake and has apologized. What else can she do? Is this the unforgivable sin?

She has denied all the other allegations in the lawsuit which if true would be a whole lot worse than uttering that word which cannot be named. Too bad her employer has decided to assume she is guilty until proven innocent.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the interest of full disclosure, I have never been a fan or ever seen her show. I only know her as the woman who frightens me from the cover of her magazine as I stand in line at the grocery store--the white hair, the wild eyes, and the Joker grin. And so even though I would be glad not to have to see her staring at me from the newsstand, I don't think she should have to lose everything for some careless words in the past.

On the other hand, if she really is the wicked witch depicted in the lawsuit. Then she needs to go back to just running her little restaurant and stop terrorizing innocent shoppers. ;-)

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't believe Nycote. They want 2500 up front.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The best response to bad speech is more speech.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maher may be a bit tolerant in part because he's been on the receiving end of this kind of grossly unfair treatment.

Back during Gulf I, under Clinton's reign, Maher commented about the cowardice of throwing missiles at the enemy, how comfortable and safe it was to order long range attacks while incurring no danger to oneself.

He was pilloried, and lost his show, for calling our soldiers cowards. (Only, he hadn't done any such thing.)

STUPID, knuckle-dragging, drooling IDIOTS on the RIGHT called for, and got, his head.

That was wrong.

Even Rush Limbaugh defended him, but no amount of reason could stop the frothing-mouthed mob that wanted his head.



If we want to see fairness in the political arena, we have to be fair.

If we think the Bush twins should be off limits to political attack, then the Obama girls should be off limits, as should Chelsea have been off limits (when she was a minor).

If Hillary gets falsely accused of disrespecting the Gold Star Mothers, we on the right should be LOUDLY defending her.


If we want to see fairness in the political arena, WE have to be fair.

Why is that so hard for some people to understand?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Back during Gulf I, under Clinton's reign"

Ooops. No, it wasn't during Gulf I, but I think his remark may have included that. It was in response to Clinton tossing a few cruise missiles into Iraq.

But the point remains.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, wrong again--it was a couple of days after 9/11. And what he said was, “We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly.”
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, that's it! Foggy memories.... Thanks for the correction.

He was right, too.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really?! You think he was right?

Clinton's cruise missile policy may have been ineffective, but it wasn't cowardly. Risking American lives to take out a threat should always be a last resort. Clinton never followed through on anything. If he had he would have taken out Bin Laden and 9/11 never would have happened.

And suicide is always a cowardly act. There is nothing noble about killing thousands of innocent people. Those guys were losers, they had nothing to live for. It was easy to kill themselves.

If jihadist were really brave, they would declare war on the US, don uniforms and fight us on the battlefield rather than hide behind women's skirts and blow up children.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
... and they KNEW that once they died, they would each get 99 virgins. They had no fear of death because they believed their experience AFTER death would be BETTER than life. There's no heroics in choosing a transition to that "better, after-death" experience.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I grew up in the South in the 50's and 60's, but have lived in northern Ohio for nearly 50 years. The South certainly has no franchise on bigotry. Indeed, some of the worst I have ever seen comes from people preach tolerance but live a life that is anything but.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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