Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm torn

At first, I thought, this just sounds wrong. I really, really hate the notion that you can be fired for saying "the wrong thing."

And don't get me wrong -- what he said was ugly, offensive, and juvenile. But isn't that exactly what made creeps like Howard Stern filthy rich (and here I mean filthy in the absolute worst possible sense of the word)? Make no mistake -- I despise Howard Stern with every ounce of my being that isn't busy despising other anti-woman cretins like Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, and the like. This DePetro guy doesn't sound like much of a heavyweight in the brains department either. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't get to speak his mind.

But then I thought, actually, when you're talking about a radio talk show host, maybe he shouldn't. When you get to broadcast your thoughts to the public, maybe you really just shouldn't be making juvenile remarks. This isn't the same as my boss firing me for saying something pro-woman or pro-Christian or pro-whatever. This is like my boss firing me for saying to a newspaper reporter, "I'm an attorney for ____ and I think bald CEOs are retarded!" This isn't a political statement, this is a juvenile insult broadcast to thousands. So maybe this isn't a free speech issue.

But then I thought further and I realized that it's all boiling down to money, as everything in corporate America does (yech). Howard "Assface" Stern is still on the air because he makes the station money. I guess this guy's station figured he would cost them money because of his statement. In way, I suppose that's a good thing -- the type of people who would be offended by the phrase "fat lesbian" to describe the woman in question have enough monetary power to "matter" to the station. But I'm still really disillusioned by the fact that in America, nothing matters until it moves money.

Nothing against capitalism in general, but I think capitalism without morals is doomed. At least, I certainly hope it is.


At November 4, 2006 at 12:34 PM, Blogger Crankster said...

I understand your problem with soulless capitalism here, but it seems like the real issue is markets. If people didnt' want to listen to Stern, then he wouldn't be on. The question then becomes why do people want to listen to him.

At November 4, 2006 at 2:36 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Absolutely, it's a major problem -- but I hold *both* the purveyors and the consumers responsible. If you're in a position to decide whether to allow anti-woman speech or speech that isn't harmful and a waste of time, then I tend to think there's a moral choice there. Sadly, most radio stations make the wrong one.

At November 4, 2006 at 2:44 PM, Blogger The Special Sauce said...

Wow, so many angles to cover. I doubt his liteners were very concerned with his remarks. I mean c'mon, when you tune into to Howard Stern you know what you're going to get. So the problem here is, the person in question most likely heard the remarks second-hand, an applied "appropriate pressure" to the situation. That was the point when it stopped being a decency issue and it rolled int a money issue.

He's a jackass. We all know he's a jackass. It's only when somebody is specifically offended that some sort of action is taken. Sounds kidna petty to me. It's not like anybody takes him seriously, he's not a journalist. So why is he being held accountable like one? Idunno, it seems pretty stupid to me.

I don't like Howard Stern either, but if being called a "fat lesbian" is all it takes to get you steamed up, get some thicker skin.

At November 5, 2006 at 8:41 PM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

I agree with your low opinion of crude morons, but if free speech is to have any meaning, they must be allowed to spew their offensive views just like anyone else.

We should fear a time when the stations censor someone because that is a slippery slope we do not want to traverse as a society.

I intend to keep exercising my right not to watch or listen to people I can't stand. When enough of us opt out of such shows, the networks will finally pull the plug.

At November 6, 2006 at 3:10 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

special, while it's true that people need to get thicker skins, even more people need to just plain grow up. I mean, sure, it shouldn't bother me if a colleague calls me, let's say, a feminazi bimbo. But, um, shouldn't that colleague be, you know, too old for that shit? Or did I miss the part of being a grownup where you're allowed to call people mean names like children?

I kind of tend to think that most radio stations don't give a rat's ass about decency -- they'll do whatever it takes to make a buck and stop just short of upsetting the FCC. Note, then, that in fact there's nothing "risky" or "envelope-pushing" about stations that employ "shock jocks," etc., after all. They only do exactly what will make them the most money. Talk about lame and uncreative.

heart, I agree completely. I wonder, is it censorship when an employer does it? When a radio station does it? Obviously it is censorship when the government does it, but I guess for me I'm not one hundred percent sure where I think we should draw the line. For instance, if you come over to my home, I'm absolutely within my rights to ask you not to make derogatory remarks about, say, my gay cousin. I'm within my rights to ask you not to use certain words. Similarly, at a firm function, some minimal amount of censorship might be called for so as to maintain decorum. Thus, for example, you don't allow strippers to perform at the firm's annual Fourth of July party (sadly, this sort of message is lost on some partners...). So at what point does it stop being reasonable and start being censorship? I honestly don't know the answer to this question... but I sure wish people would display a little more sensitivity, particularly when we're talking about groups who are historically the objects of discrimination.

At November 15, 2006 at 11:01 AM, Blogger byrdeye said...

Well, obviously all Americans are not equal.

A White man can't call a woman a name (much less a slur), but Blacks can call Asians "chinks", and get away with it.

At November 15, 2006 at 11:48 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

byrd, is that a complaint? Yeah, I sure do feel bad for all you poor heterosexual white men. I mean, people actually *scowl* at you if you act like a jackass, and in exchange all you get is more money and power than any other demographic group in the country, plus the freedom of a life without having to combat the historical effects of centuries of oppression, repression, and unfair disrepute? Man, what a raw deal.


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