This editorial is in response to my partner Tony Vahl’s two articles on Michael Savage and Rihanna.
We are fortunate to live in a society where we can debate like in this forum. My issue with the Michael Savage controversy is that he is an entertainer (i.e. not to be taken seriously), who makes a living on radio ratings, website hits, books sales, fueled by free publicity thanks to his controversial personality.
The reason I used the pro wrestling/Tito Santana “injustice” analogy is because it’s all a work and there was no true injustice, just like Michael Savage getting banned is not a true injustice. The price of freedom of speech may be hateful statements, which are generally non-criminal, but the price of hateful statements for the sake of self-profit is bad karma, i.e. you will be isolated from many groups, be threatened, sued, advertisers will leave you, local stations will drop your show, and you may be banned in certain places. Savage loves the ban because the newswires picked it up, and he painted himself as a victim. It was better than when Obama made a comment about Rush.
Savage loves this…he was probably hysterical laughing and then hacked into a coughing fit, that’s how happy he was, when Jacqui Smith(who most English citizens can’t stand) in the U.K. put HIS name on that list. Instead Savage said he was angry and depressed. I doubt Savage would make a stink of this if Uruguay banned him – it’s not marketable enough: “Banned in Uruguay”. Savage can’t travel to the U.K. Neither can an anti-gay preacher or a terrorist. No sweat off my back if I get banned from the U.K. because of a blog post.
Jacqui Smith is like a version of GW Bush: she’s trying to impose cultural standards and ban hate mongers from visiting the country. I don’t agree with her, but U.S. rule of law does not apply in the U.K. As far as Savage not literally saying to take up arms and overthrow the government, to me that’s being semantic. If someone listens to him every day (and believes his speech- after all Savage is never out of character) they may buy into his theories and decide to “take matters in their own hands” when it comes to some injustices Savage rants about.
Therefore I cannot defend Rush, Beck, Maulkin, Hannity, Olbermann et al when they spread the fear, hate, and anger every day as entertainers. They want it both ways. They want to push people, but not take responsibility. The LDoTR
(Last Days of Talk Radio) will not happen as long as ratings are high and advertisers are happy. If a deranged Rush fan does something dumb and tells the world he did it because of Rush, well, maybe Rush will lose some radio outlets.
Usually the ACLU helps people like Savage, but Savage hates the ACLU, so why should they help- that’s the price of venom:
“If I had the power by executive order, I would round up every member of the ACLU and of the National Lawyers Guild, and I’d put them in a prison in Guantánamo and I’d throw the key away. Or I would reopen Devil’s Island and I’d put everyone in the ACLU into — onto Devil’s Island.”
And what does Savage himself say about freedom of speech?
“Deportation, not re-education. You can take C-A-I-R and throw ‘em out of my country. I’d raise the American flag and I’d get out my trumpet if you did it. Without due process. You can take your due process and shove it.”
Or freedom of religion in the U.S.:
…in order to “save the United States,” lawmakers should institute an “outright ban on Muslim immigration”. Everything about Savage is a “work”.
He wants to sue the U.K. for defamation, yet he compares Obama to Castro and Obama to Hitler all the time. It’s all a big joke like The Comedian from Watchmen, so I don’t really think this particular case should be used to defend freedom of speech. Savage is actually a poster-child for freedom of speech in the U.S. since he gets away with so much. He is part of the de-evolution of society as well, just like Howard Stern. Maybe one day society will rebound. (ha!)
I’m sure the U.K.’s decision will be reversed. If this happened in the U.S. (as in Savage was expelled or imprisoned) then I can see the issue as being “real”. I believe- for the most part- the U.S. has a good system when it comes to allowing freedom of speech, and if the U.K. doesn’t- well, it is what it is.
Regarding your deep thought provoking questions based on censorship and Rihanna: I don’t dig the song either…wouldn’t want your daughter to listen to the song. I think with songs, books, TV, and movies society dictates what is offensive and what is acceptable. Since our society continues to devolve and sink to lower depths, the standards are gone and more and more things become accepted.
Like socially acceptable sexual acts on a first date.
There was much more censorship in the past, and it has been proven to be wrong time and time again. All we can do is exercise our freedom of speech by pointing out our misgivings about songs like Russian Roulette, perhaps protest or boycott things which offend us. Unfortunately, we get into situations like craigslist, where the lunatics run the asylum because they have no standards. We get into the silent majority and LME (Lazy Man Ethics tm) when it comes to accepting the de-evolution of society.
So keep up the good work my friend and call people and systems out and spread your messages.