Tag: Bill O’Reilly

Quick on the Draw

Recently, I wrote how everyone (except for you and me) is prone to furious outbursts of racist invective at the slightest provocation.

That got me thinking about a related issue.

Namely, why are conservatives so quick to defend someone who spews racist, homophobic, or otherwise hateful speech?

After all, it wasn’t liberals who said, “Hey, that’s cool, Mr. Oldman. Tell us more about your sophisticated sociopolitical outlook.”

bram-stokers-dracula-gary-oldman1

Nope, it’s primarily conservatives who say it’s no big deal, or that the First Amendment protects such language, or that it’s time to take a bold stand against the insidious forces of political correctness.

Now, I’ve written entire posts about how pulling out the First Amendment or bashing PC is a loser’s lament, so I’m not going to repeat those points here. And to be clear, there are plenty of conservative libertarians who support the right to free speech. Just as there are plenty of liberals who would like to see Bill O’Reilly legally forced to shut up. However, these perspectives are not so closely aligned with the general philosophy of right wing and left wing.

What I’m talking about here is your basic social conservative, particularly when it comes to hate speech. It is a bit disturbing how swiftly these individuals rush to defend — or even praise — idiotic, racist bullshit.

I would like to think conservatives are earnest lovers of the concept of free expression. However, in many cases, these are the same people who threaten legal action if someone says, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” And remember back during the Iraq War, when up to 40 percent of conservatives believed that protests against the conflict should not be allowed (and that was constitutionally protected free speech, no less).

In fact, there is some evidence that this issue pops up in the ultimate justice-is-blind venue: the US Supreme Court. A recent study found that “liberal justices are (overall) more supportive of free speech claims than conservative justices,” and that “conservatives on the court are far more inclined to bias than their more liberal colleagues.”

Conservatives have historically shown little love for the idea of allowing people to speak their mind, and in truth, live and let live is not traditionally associated with the conservative movement. Whether it is gays getting married, or a mosque being built down the block, or some anarchist burning an American flag, there are usually conservatives there denouncing and demanding and denigrating. Rarely do you hear a Fox news anchor defend such actions.

But if some washed-up action star says that Mexicans are wetbacks, then conservatives abruptly clutch the flag to their chests and say, “It’s his right, damn it.”

But once again, we have to ask, why is this?

Well, maybe it’s because defending morons gives conservatives the perfect opportunity to appear principled and astute. Or maybe it’s because so many of their heroes are actually, well, racists. Or maybe it’s because these comments reveal what so many of them are really thinking.

Damn, I hope it’s not that last one.

 


By the Time I Get to Arizona

My recent site upgrade has distracted me from tackling what is probably the biggest news story affecting Latinos right now. I’m referring, of course, to the Arizona bill that allows (or compels, depending on your opinion) state police to check people’s immigration status.

To be honest, I’m also late to this party because I gave in to a brief stint of procrastination. You see, this issue has lit up the blogosphere so much that I wasn’t sure what else I could add to the debate. So I’ve put off addressing it.

Yes, we know that cops in Arizona, under the proposed law, will be able to racial profile at will and stomp around saying, “Your papers, please.” The Orwellian implications are pretty damn obvious. You don’t need me to point that out.

It’s also well established that the Arizona law is a new tactic of nativists who want to do an end run around federal law and deport every undocumented worker, except of course, for the ones who fix their roofs and water their lawns and raise their children. Yeah, check that aspect as well.

In addition, it’s been hammered to death that Arizona is the land of right-wing nuts who seem to have a problem with anybody who isn’t white. Its hesitancy over acknowledging MLK Day is the stuff of political legend. And currently, state legislators are pushing a birther bill, when even Fox News commentators have moved on from the “Obama isn’t a citizen” conspiracy noise. Ok, that angle is covered as well.

Then there’s the concept, discussed ad nauseam, that the bill would push illegal immigrants further into the darkness and erode whatever communication they have with police or community leaders, all while effectively terrorizing a segment of the population. Yes, we all know that already.

I could comment on President Obama’s decision to slam the bill, which he just did today. But honestly, whatever he says is always twisted into some kind of “He’s a socialist” diatribe by people who are actively rooting and hoping for the country to suffer while proclaiming how patriotic they are. And I really don’t want to get into that.

So what is left for me to say? Well, I did uncover one aspect of this mess that has received less attention than it deserves. Our old friend Senator John McCain, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, said that in Arizona, “the drivers of cars with illegals in it… are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway.”

Well, here’s my fresh angle.

Clearly, illegal immigrants don’t care about their own safety or property, ramming their cars into others just for the sport of it, so what chance does a red-blooded citizen have? Hell, one might be driving next to you on the freeway right now!

Therefore, consider this entire post a public-service announcement. If you see a Latino in the lane next to you, play it safe and assume that he’s illegal. And then take the next logical step and assume that he’s going to intentionally broadside your car.

As such, take action and run him off the road. After all, it’s either you or him… or us or them… or with us or against us – something like that.


Cold Case

As a rule, I don’t follow news stories that contain any of the following elements:

  • Celebrity misbehavior
  • Fashion do’s and don’ts
  • Golf
  • Young, pretty white women who go missing

I have to make an exception to this last category, however, by mentioning the Chandra Levy case. There are two reasons for this.

First, I have an odd personal connection to the incident. No, I never met the woman. But I vividly remember the day that she disappeared, in early 2001.

I was living in Los Angeles, and my wife and I had dinner plans with a co-worker who I thought might become a friend. But I clearly didn’t know him well.

The guy, henceforth called Crazy Eddie, was an acquaintance of Chandra Levy. But one would have thought that they were Siamese Twins by how much he played up the closeness of their relationship. Over dinner, he talked of nothing else but her disappearance, and he did so in a freeform, rambling manner that overwhelmed my wife and me.

I soon realized that what I had thought were Crazy Eddie’s good qualities at our job (ie, unlimited energy, passion for his work, extreme attention to detail) were actually the symptoms of a cackling mania. The guy couldn’t shut up, and he hatched conspiracy theories and metaphorical meanings and personal reflections that all centered on Levy’s disappearance, then swirled around each other and overlapped until none of us could figure out his original point.

It was, understandably, the only time my wife and I socialized with Crazy Eddie, and we vowed to never again dine with a madman. The last time I spoke to him, shortly before I left LA, he tried to enlist me in his scheme to fly to Washington DC and investigate Levy’s disappearance personally. He insisted that, with my help, he could find out what happened to her. I politely declined and then fled the state.

The second reason I’m thinking of Chandra Levy these days is because police apparently cracked the case last week. The alleged murderer is… yes, Latino… in fact, he’s an immigrant… from El Salvador, my family’s homeland… fuck.

This creepy guilt-by-association feeling is what I wrote about in a previous post. We have enough cultural baggage to carry without some moronic thug fulfilling stereotypes faster than Bill O’Reilly can spew them.

It is, of course, completely selfish to dwell on what this means to me and other Hispanics. But seriously, of all the imbecilic criminals to become national news, did it have to be the Salvadoran immigrant rapist-murderer?

In any case, I’m glad that Chandra Levy’s friends and family can find some comfort that her killer has been nabbed. But I have to wonder if, somewhere in LA, my old friend Crazy Eddie is babbling in his apartment, desperate to find a new outlet for his amazing powers of insight.


Not Quite Ready for My Close-Up

The email was unexpected, even alarming.

It read, “I book guests for an Hispanic television show. We’re taping a program on Latino bloggers, and we’d love to have the Fanatic appear. Please let me know if you’d consider being a part of this show.”

Obviously, I replied that I was interested. What red-blooded American living in our reality-show culture of a society could pass on the opportunity to appear on television, which is the very pinnacle of existence?

In truth, it should be clear to everyone that if I really wanted to be a celebrity, I wouldn’t be a writer. I would be a rock star or, at the very least, a pathetic hanger-on to some washed-up actor (whichever is easier).

So it wasn’t about my getting my fifteen minutes. My only motivation was to publicize the blog.

I agreed to talk to the booking agent to see if I was a good fit for the show’s topic. After speaking with this very nice, albeit fast-talking woman from New York, I found out that I would appear as a panelist on the show, via satellite no less. I would debate, banter, cajole, and confront the other panelists on live television. It sounded good to me.

Later, I did some research on the show. The publicity for the program refers to the hosts as “multicultural journalistic powerhouses,” which sounds pretty damn cool. Of course, it also sounds like the hosts are Latinos who have been exposed to excessive radiation.

In any case, I was excited to appear on the show. This would be my television debut, unless one counts the myriad times when I was a teenager that I snuck into the background of a hapless reporter delivering an on-location news story. This time, I had no plans to stick out my tongue and wave rabbit ears behind someone’s head. Otherwise, my maturity level would probably be identical.

Alas, the producers decided that my blog’s subject matter didn’t quite fit the show’s theme, so I won’t be appearing. They broke the news to me via another unexpected email. In less than twenty-four hours, my small-screen debut went from genesis to untimely death. After my brief flirtation with fame, it is indeed a bitter pill to go back to a life where I cannot introduce myself with the phrase “as seen on tv.”

Nevertheless, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before some other television program recruits the Fanatic. And when that day comes, it will be a foreshadowing of my future multimedia presence, when I’ll be exchanging bon mots with Jon Stewart, snipping with Bill O’Reilly, and slapping high-fives with David Letterman.

Can’t you just see it? I know I can.


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