Though I find the seeds of a further discussion of the relation of Freedom and Liberty particularly interesting, and a large degree of Nomos’ blabbering making sense, and I find myself compelled to agree with much of the comments made in the ‘Imus & Freedom of Speech’ post on the 23rd, I think there are, at the very least, a few departures from reality in Nomos’ thinking.
The emphasis here is the departure from reality. Ideally, those who prefer to listen to the ‘crude, rude, and otherwise offensive’ will express their liberty’s and freedom’s with the corresponding rights and responsibilities in the best manner possible.
In reality, when someone ‘on air’ or otherwise paid attention to, makes a comment, one should expect that comment to get commented upon and all the more so in a direct proportion to the popularity of the person and the degree to which the comment was controversial, offensive, or news worthy. All comments that ‘get commented upon,’ thus get passed along to a larger audience than the original.
News saturated comments like Imus’ usually have the largest audience as only a tertiary listener of the original comment (1. Commenter, 2. News (usually through a secondary replay of the original), 3. Tertiary listener) â€“ but the really controversial comments stretch way beyond a tertiary listener. No one but those who where actively listening to the live broadcast could have had an an option, or ‘could have been free’ to touch that dial. The overwhelmingly vast majority of people heard Imus’ comments through an unsuspecting medium.
Yes people do have the option and freedom to watch the news, and thus the freedom to turn off the tv or radio. One also has the freedom to poke out their eyes, mute their ears, and live in a cave where they’ll never accidentally be subjugated to an offensive comment. This ‘freedom’ is part of the departure from reality when considering Imus or offenses of speech in general.
No one in reality acts in such extremes to avoid offense – we either deal with the offense, shrug it off, or get pissed like most people did with Imus.
More to the reality of your point, esp. considering Wondering Dude’s comment as well. Wondering Dude may be exactly right that Imus’ faced a tougher crowd since he’s an old white guy that said something controversial / hateful / ignorant / bigoted about a young African American demographic. Imus adhered to his first amendment freedoms by saying what he said, but he also adhered to a nomenclature and colloquialisms, that may absolutely be fit for a gangster rapper, but absolutely abhorrent from an old white guy – but even here, who knows if it would befit an African American rapper; has the phrase been used in any lyric to date?
Reality (and decency) dictates: be respectful. But, if your like Imus’ and can’t be respectful, reality dictates: at least know the realities of the culture(s) your dealing with.
Imus being a seasoned veteran in all that’s offensive should have known where a ‘real’ line lies. He was free to speak, he used his freedoms. He did so in a manner that was offensive to who knows how many people, most of whom didn’t elect to hear his bigotry to begin with; and the reality of his remarks stretches beyond any measurable ‘culture’ divide or use of nomenclature.
Imus’ isn’t completely stupid and should have though before he spoke.
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