Gaffe ’08

I always enjoy getting comments on my posts (well mostly), but I do not often blatantly request people to post their opinions.  However, today I find myself in a quandary.  Recently, we have been graced with two of the greatest faux pas in the history of the English language, and I find myself wondering which one is worse.  Which one is the most painful?  So, here they are, and please let me know which one you think is the worst. 

The first is a nice fluff piece from NBC’s Toady Show in which Matt Lower asks Robert Kennedy Jr. how his father is doing.  It can be seen here.  Enjoy.

The second is the famous Joe Biden gaffe in which he asks wheel chair bound Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham to stand up.  After realizing what he has done, he has the crowd scoreboard the poor guy by standing up ‘in his honor’ and showing him how good all of their legs are working.  See it here, and please cast your vote for the one that is most uncomfortable.

Thanks.

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Fears Going into Thursday Night’s Vice Presidential Debate

I want to preface this by saying that I am a Republican, I will vote for McCain (though he would not have been my first choice), and I was thrilled with the Sarah Palin pick. 

This morning I read a story on foxnews.com.  It seems that choice of Gwen Ifill, who by the way is black, to fill the role of moderator in Thursday night’s Vice Presidential debate is being questioned.  She has written a book (The Breakthrough), and its premise is that ‘the civil rights movement has cleared the way for post-racial politicians to ascend to new heights.’  In layman’s terms, it is a book that chronicles the rise of African Americans in American politics since the civil right’s movement began.  Obama’s success, among that of others, is discussed in the book.

The point made by Foxnews and the National Review is that her appropriateness as an unbiased debate moderator is now being called into question because of this.  While I can understand why a person would be given pause when presented with the basic facts of the issue, I do not believe that it is fair to assume that because she is black, and wants to write a book that spotlights the recent political successes of African American, then she must be pro-Obama, and as a consequence is not professional enough to moderate a VP candidate debate.  Considering the subject of the book, it has to include Obama, just as it has to include Clarence Thomas (I am just assuming that it does).  At this point, I do not think it is realistic to think a person could find an intelligent person in the media who is not already leaning one way or another (Personally, I am convinced that 95% of media personalities wear ankle weights on their right legs to keep them from toppling over).

When Sarah was chosen as the VP candidate, some were questioning the vetting process in the McCain camp.  I think they would vet the moderator of the VP debate with almost the same scrutiny as they did the actual VP, considering the weight that the VP choice has been given in this campaign.  As a result, I am now beginning to question the McCain camp’s vetting process also.  I am less concerned with the book than I am that Ifill is an anchor for PBS, the home of Bill Moyers.  If they did not vet Ifill well enough to determine that she is ‘pro-Obama,’ then that is their problem.  I’m sure that it would have been easy enough to discover that she was publishing a book!  In the end, I still do not think that there is enough evidence of her perceived ‘bias’ to recuse her from consideration as a moderator, and I will even give her credit for not pushing her book to press before the election.  She could obviously make more money, and hedge her bets in the case of an Obama loss, if she were to release the book during the election.

In truth, I believe that this, unfortunately, is an example of the newest strategy regarding Palin to come out of the McCain camp.  They have observed the fact that the public has risen to her defense in the wake of the flood of unwarranted attacks on her coming from the left.  This has been good for her, up to this point, but as it begins to look like a strategy, it will quickly wear thin.

The current cry coming from the National Review and other conservative publications that Ifill cannot be objective, begins to ring hollow in the light of all of this.  It looks like a preemptive strike to make Ifill look bad if she asks Palin any tough questions, calls het to the carpet on an answer, or lets Biden savage her.  I believe this is being floated to force Ifill to water-down her approach to Palin in the hope that she will not want to even give the appearance of any bias.  Mark my words, the McCain campaign will not ask her to recuse herself from the debate.  They want her there, and they want her (Ifill) on the defensive.

I believe the McCain strategy of making Palin look like a victim is a mistake.  I do not have a lot of faith in the American public to be able to understand what is going on in general, but at this point they have been conditioned by recent events to be aware of unfair attacks on Palin.  If Ifill is an unfair moderator, and if Biden attempts to savage Palin, it will be readily apparent.  The McCain camp and the National Review do not need to do the attempt to set the stage for it.

I have a friend (www.exploded.wordpress.net) who has called on the McCain camp to let Sarah be herself, and take her off the leash.  He is absolutely right.  She needs to be allowed to go back to the Sarah we saw bowing-up to Charlie Gibson. 

Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling about this debate.  I am afraid that she is going to be given a list of talking points and a script by her McCain handlers in the hope that she will be able to stay on message while Biden makes an ass of himself.  If this is the case, she will look off-balance, and she will indeed be savaged by Biden.  You cannot be a ‘pit bull’ and a victim at the same time, and remember by definition victims are losers.  My greatest fear is that she breaks down and we will have a Ferarro incident.  If that happens we all might as well vote Obama because it will be over.

 

The Rushdie Rules Apply

Sherry Jones, author of Jewel of Medina was recently informed by her publisher, Random House, that her book, which was ready for release, would be ‘postponed indefinitely’ because it ‘might be offensive to some Muslims’ and ‘could invite acts of violence by a radical segment.’

I was surprised last night when I was talking to e friend, and he defended Random House by saying that he thought they were doing nothing wrong.  The more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with him.

My friend claimed that the publisher was doing the right thing by going ahead and paying her the $100,000 advance and allowing her to seek another publisher.  I don’t see it that way.  They had to pay her the advance, because they were contractually obligated to do so.  They let her leave to keep her from suing the pants off of them.  But, they did her wrong when they let it go so long before canceling the book, and then saying that their reason was that it ‘might be offensive to some Muslims’ and ‘could invite acts of violence by a radical segment.’  By doing so, they have put her in the unenviable position of being accused publicly of producing a book that is offensive to Muslims before it is even released.  Other publishing houses will have increased pressure from Muslim groups that will only be fed by the words used by her publisher.  She has also been put in danger by these same inflammatory words.  Some might say that this was great for her, and she would have never gotten this kind of publicity if they had simply released the book.  Funny, the editors at Random House did not see it that way for themselves.  She claims that she never intended to offend anyone with the book, but by their actions, her publishing company has placed her in a no win situation with the book.

I looked at the excerpts from the book, and I think it is safe to say that the content and tone of the book is no different than that of the DA  Vinci Code, another book published by Random House.  If anything, it is much less offensive.  Jones’ book, chronicles the marriage and life of Muhammad’s bride A’isha.  In the author’s own words, “My book is a respectful portrayal of Islam, of A’isha, of Muhammad. And anyone who reads it with [an] open mind will come away with an understanding of Islam as a peaceful religion.”  She has attempted to write a work of historical fiction that is a positive portrayal of Muslims.

In Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, the author uses the story of Jesus to develop the idea that he had a daughter who moved to France and continued his (Jesus’) bloodline.  In this case, the author actually claimed that his work of fiction was based in truth (though this has been proven to be an untrue statement).  This book definitely did outrage people in the Christian community, especially Catholics.  The theological implications in the plot of the book were obvious, and damaging to the Christian religion.  Unlike the case with Jones’ book, however, Random House did not pull the book from production.  In fact, they rolled up the Brinks truck for this blockbuster, made a movie and a produced Brown’s sequel.

The double standard is clear and leads to only two possible conclusions.  Either the publishers at Random House are more sympathetic to the Muslim religion than they are to Christianity, or they are pissing on the great journalistic tradition of the free press that the greatness of the United States has provided them with by cowardly knuckling under to threats of violence by a bunch of religious thugs.  I suspect it is a lot of both.

Shame on Random House for their cowardly ways.  It is simply another example of the press self-editing simply because they are afraid to offend Muslims or are afraid of Muslim retaliation.  Random House has a long history of publishing books that are offensive to the Christian religion (see The Golden Compass or How Jesus Became a Christian for good examples).  They need to be more consistent.  The intellectual hand-down that is continually provided by people who defend their violent ways is tiresome, and reveals the truth that these progressive people do not believe that Muslims are on the same plain with them or Christians because they do not hold them to the same standards.

Shame also on the Muslim religion that continues its thuggish attempts to restrict the press.  It’s time for them to start winning over the hearts and minds of people they do not agree with like other religions do, rather than killing people.  It took Christianity a long time to get this point.  It’s time for the leaders of Islam to grow up, take charge of their religion, and curb the violent factions therein.