The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
September 29, 2002
"If You Don't Cut,
You Can Kiss My Butt"
I think we have a new Jesse Jackson rhyme.
He didn't say this, of course. I made it
up. But it sound like something the good reverend would say. He's said
plenty of other stupid, offensive, and derogatory remarks over the years,
few of which he's apologized for. He's called Clarence Thomas and other
black conservatives "house slaves" and uncle Toms. He routinely
labels conservatives and Republicans racists and Nazis.
That's what makes Jackson's complaints
about the movie Barbershop so interesting. He's got little to right
to complain about others writing or saying offensive remarks. But Jackson
has rarely let hypocrisy or race-baiting concerns slow him down.
In case you haven't heard, Jackson (and
lately Al Sharpton) object to a few lines from Barbershop. The
movie (I haven't seen it yet) centers on a barbershop and its clientele.
The men talk and discuss freely, as happens in small-town barbershops
across the country.
The barber, Eddie, is cantankerous and
grumpy, and rips on some venerated civil rights icons. For example, he
calls Martin Luther King, Jr. a "ho" because of his extramarital
affairs. Rosa Parks, he explains, "ain't do nothin' but sit her black
a** down." Rodney King, Eddie opines, "should have got his a**
beat." And, of course, "O.J. did it."
The other characters in the film razz Eddie
for these views, and one warns, "You better not let Jesse Jackson
hear you talk like that."
Eddie's response: "F*** Jesse
I don't think the comments are that bad,
certainly no worse than what Jackson has said about his critics. But it's
interesting that Jackson picks this movie to protest, and not the numerous
movies and TV shows that demean Christians and Christianity. No outrage
about that. Funny, coming from a man who is supposed to be a reverend.
And where's the ACLU and People for the
American Way, who shudder whenever a conservative criticizes a public
person or performance? These groups portray themselves as soldiers for
free speech. Have they denounced Jackson for his heavy-handed bullying?
The ACLU's web site says nothing about
it - nor does PFAW's. That
should tell you something about their supposed zeal for free speech.
Nevertheless, Jackson released a statement
on September 19, demanding that the actors, directors, and studio
apologize for the remarks. Worse, Jackson wants MGM Studios (who, to its
credit, has not apologized and will delete the scene) to "delete the
portion of the film that is insensitive and inappropriate to both Dr. King
and Rosa Parks from future DVDs, videotapes and any other future
Now Jackson's complaint isn't so funny.
First Amendment notwithstanding, he wants those lines and scenes censored
from the film, because he doesn't like them.
That's pretty intolerant and imperialistic.
I mean, aren't we all supposed to respect other people's views, even those
that are a bit out of the mainstream? I thought we couldn't impose our
morals and values on other people. If the Klan and neo-Nazis have the
right to march down Main Street, surely MGM can spoof MLK.
But maybe it can't. Jackson seems to
suggest that MLK and other certain people are immune from any satire or
humor. No criticism of these people is allowed, even if it's based in fact
(King did indeed cheat on his wife). No one can say anything slightly
negative about MLK or any other deified figure. Is this really what
Freedom applies to everyone. I don't like
Jackson's opinion on the movie, but he's got every right to say it. I can
rip his opinion. That's also my right. Sharpton wants to lead a boycott of
the film. He's got every right to do so, and I've got every right to say
that's a stupid idea.
No one has the right to censor anyone else.
MGM can demean whomever it wishes, MLK or anyone else. It's called
freedom. Get used to it. Get over it.
I know this is basic stuff. But obviously
some still need to hear it. Like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.