Saturday, November 03, 2007

It's 1984 & Dog the Bounty Hunter is out of a job.

Back in 2003, when we reached "mission accomplished" status in the Iraq War after just a few months, a country group called The Dixie Chicks was boycotted. This was because they publicly dissed president Bush at a concert. Record sales dropped, and their songs were pulled from the radio. My sister Elena felt that their civil rights had been violated, but I didn't agree. They had made a public statement, and the public had responded. I said that I would agree if they had made the statements over the phone or at a party and were made to pay for it, because no one should have to worry about what they say or do in private. (As long as they're not breaking the law, etc. etc.)

Fast forward to 2007. For those of you who don't know, there's some show called Dog the Bounty Hunter. The star of the show apparently used the word "nigger" in a phone conversation with his son. His son recorded the conversation and leaked it on the internet. This has caused his show to be canceled. (Read the Reuters story here.)

(Disclaimer: Nigger is a bad word, no one should ever use it, or the phrase "Nappy haired ho," or anything derogatory, ever, under penalty of castration with a rusty potato peeler. This disclaimer hopefully keeps anyone from throwing an utter shit fit of me simply using words and missing the point of this article entirely.)

No, I'm not defending this person, or what he said, (though ironically, what he said in his tirade was that he didn't want his son's black girlfriend to ever overhear him say that word in his own home and ruin his life.) But doesn't it frighten anyone else is that a private phone conversation is being treated as if it were a public statement? I'm sure that everyone out there has at one or more times in their lives said or done something in private that would ruin their lives if exposed. Like Michael Richards and Don Imus before him, (who publicly made racist statements,) Duane "Dog" Chapman has been falling over himself to apologize. I would have said, "Fuck you, what I say in private is no one else's business," but that's just me.

Once again, before you flame, let me clarify my position. Saying racist things: Bad. Losing your job & being publicly vilified because of a private phone conversation: Very scary. I'll leave you with this passage from George Orwell's classic dystopian novel 1984 (Which, if you kids out there don't know, is where you get the term "Big Brother" from in regards to the government spying on you:)

'Are you guilty?' said Winston.

'Of course I'm guilty!' cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. 'You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?' His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. 'Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,' he said sententiously. 'It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit--never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?'

He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to utter an obscenity. '"Down with Big Brother!" Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I'm going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? "Thank you," I'm going to say, "thank you for saving me before it was too late."'

'Who denounced you?' said Winston.

'It was my little daughter,' said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride.
'She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don't bear her any grudge for it. In fact I'm proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.'

Something to think about.



Knitting Painter Woman said...

I agree with you. Totally.
DH and I were watching Blazing Saddles today, and the movie channel had emasculated the movie's pro-tolerance stand by bleeping "n*gg*r" every time.
Words are sounds. Sounds (except at 180+ decibles) don't hurt us. It pays to know what the intent of phonemes, diphtongs, etc. etc before going nuts.
Pick any "unacceptable" word. Say it aloud about a hundred times. It begins to have about as much power as a word like, um, gravel, or milk, or blue. It's people who haven't heard the words who are shocked and awed. (And usually they're oly pretending to be pure!)
It is scary to have word police in the public and private sector.

Tony LaRocca said...

I agree- it's always been weird when they censor Blazing Saddles, because the whole point of the movie is making fun of racists.

Rayne said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Censorship is scary enough when they are burning books such as Tom Sawyer and Alice in Wonderland. But now our own private conversations with family members are no longer safe. Isn't this how it is in a communist state? The best part of all is it's our own press that is making him a pariah. I think our press has become much too powerful in making people the hero or the villian. The story of the week or even the next president.
Responsible and unbiased reporting has gone out the window which is why I no longer work for the papers. Did you know that when you go to interview a person they teach you how to ask questions so you get the answer they want?

wildsnowflake said...

yes the privacy issue is big for me. granted, what his son did wasn't illegal. as long as one person in the conversation is aware of being taped, it's allowed. (states vary but in general that's the law).

However, it won't be long before it will be legal to tap phones that don't involve knowledge on either party's part... ah wait... that's what the patriot act is for :)

commie, pinko gaffe said...

Lemme make sure I've got this...

The cable channel geared up a show centered on some gross, low-life, scuzzy family...and now they balk cuz members of the family act gross, low-life, and scuzzy?