It’s sad and something I don’t cheer.

Now that the title cleared away any notion that I’m happy when someone gets hurt, Scott Adams nailed the analysis of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s car accident from the perspective of who is to blame. (The accident occurred while he was en route to the Governor’s Mansion to host a meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team.)

Post Removed

I removed today’s post so that my governor would not have a car accident.

I wish I’d written that. I rarely laugh out loud at the written word, but that brought on a full sixty seconds of out loud laughter.

Post Script: Just to be extra clear, I wish Gov. Corzine a complete recovery. That recovery will be difficult, apparently. Now that I’ve ruined the humor…

Bigotry can be defensible?

From Andrew Sullivan, a comparison of bigotry:

As for Sharpton, surely Imus hs a minor, but valid point. Sharpton deploys the vilest form of racist assumptions against whites in general, and gets away with it. He got away with it while accusing specific people of rape – people who turned out to be innocent. Again, since whites still enjoy vastly more cultural power than blacks, Sharpton’s bigotry is more defensible than Imus’s. But it’s still bigotry. (And, to give Sharpton his due, he has spoken out against the rhetorical depravity of much hip-hop.)

Surely Mr. Sullivan left something out of that paragraph? Bigotry is not defensible. When we start laying out levels of defensibility, we start laying out levels of acceptable responses to the same type of statements. A standard with degrees based on victimization will never end well, as we should be able to see from the current Don Imus mess.

Unpopular is not synonymous with bad.

Yesterday, I wrote this in response to a judge’s moralizing about an American’s speech while upholding its constitutional protection:

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the judges had any business inserting the court’s opinion that it has little regard for her vulgar epithets. So what? If it has no bearing on how the case should be interpreted under the law, keep the subjective disdain out of the ruling. I might accept “While the court recognizes that A.B.’s use of vulgar epithets is unpopular, …” or some such pandering to community morals. I doubt it, but even then, speech is speech.

It turns out I only had to wait one day for an example of how it should be done. Via Hit & Run, a federal judge in Orlando demonstrated how to approach this correctly. Consider:

Should strippers be allowed to touch themselves on stage? Orange County thinks not. County law specifically prohibits “fondling, stroking or rubbing of human genitals or anus.”

On March 30, however, a federal judge in Orlando struck down that and other portions of the county’s adult entertainment code as unconstitutional impediments to free speech. “Some self-touching, even of the genitals or anus — no matter how crude or distasteful — may be ‘central to the expressive nature of the dance itself,’” ruled Judge John Antoon II, quoting from a 2005 ruling from a case in Georgia.

“The First Amendment cannot both protect the expressive element of erotic dancing and also restrict and contort it by prohibiting the very movements that contribute to its erotic message,” Antoon wrote. “While the public en masse may not approve of such explicit performances, the First Amendment does not turn on generally accepted views of propriety.”

Bingo. Objective interpretation of the Constitution without the subjective opinion about the content being protected. Exactly as it should be. Bravo to Judge Antoon.

The apology machine is in gear.

Don Imus said something stupid and offensive¹. Normally I wouldn’t care because I don’t listen to him. There is no need to decide whether or not I will listen to him. I just don’t. I trust others to do the same, if they’re so compelled. But the fallout is absurd:

Imus said he hoped to meet the players and their parents and coaches, and he said he was grateful that he was scheduled to appear later Monday on a radio show hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has called for Imus to be fired over the remarks.

“It’s not going to be easy, but I’m not looking for it to be easy,” Imus said.

Sharpton has said he wants Imus fired and that he intends to complain to the Federal Communications Commission about the matter.

“Somewhere we must draw the line in what is tolerable in mainstream media,” Sharpton said Sunday. “We cannot keep going through offending us and then apologizing and then acting like it never happened. Somewhere we’ve got to stop this.”

I agree. Such nonsense as this has no place in our society. Yet, people have the right to believe and say such racist ideas. If someone wants to put this on the airwaves, don’t listen. It’ll stop eventually. Easy enough?

Going to the FCC, though, is ridiculous. What is the FCC supposed to do? Even in the context of the unconstitutional mission of the FCC in monitoring “indecency”, Imus’ words were merely objectionable. How strong are our ideas of modernity if the truth of equality can’t withstand one deejay? How strong will they become if “respect” for those ideas is imposed by the government? Sheer lunacy.

¹ The article includes what he said. Read it there, if you’re interested.