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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

September 25, 2007


Bill O'Reilly Says: "I Can't Get Over It!"

BILL O'REILLY: I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. They're getting away from the Sharptons and the Jacksons and the people trying to lead them into a race-based culture. They're just trying to figure it out: "Look, I can make it. If I work hard and get educated, I can make it."
MADMAN: If O'Reilly really thinks this, then one must ask what does he think of white Americans who don't succeed? In Bill's mind they're probably all just slackers. Or is it more likely that Mr. (No)Spin-Factor truly believes that the vast majority of black people simply don't have the necessary intelligence to succeed? Reading, and listening to O'Reilly's comments, one has no other option than to come to the conclusion that Mr. Bill finds black people, as a whole, less intelligent and less resourceful than their white counterparts, and when a person of color succeed does the work which an ordinary white man might do, this black man is an exceptional black man.
It reminds me of the time when Los Angeles Dodger General Manager Al Campanis lost his job for saying, blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager." Campanis lost his job of nearly 20 years for the statement.

O'REILLY: You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy. And he comes on The Factor a lot, and then I treated him to dinner, because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. I had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful. They all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was like a big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice.
MADMAN: And just what did Mr. Bill expect? Respect comes from how one is brought up, and the diners at Sylvia's were, obviously, brought up better than most people in general, because they were able to put up with you, Bill.

O'REILLY: And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks... it was the same... There's no difference. There's no difference.
MADMAN: Just what did he expect, anyway? It has to appear obvious to even the casual spectator that the reason O'Reilly "can't get over it," he's never gong to be able to "get over it." There can be no doubt that, in Mr. Spin's view, black people are inferior to white people in intellect, civility and in mannerism. If anyone has shown that racism is indeed live and well in the United States, Bill O'Reilly should have cleared out any of that doubt.

MADMAN: In an apparent effort to explain away O'Reilly's blatantly racist remarks, on the phone was Juan Williams, a conservative black face on the Fox Network, attempted to spin his own brand of self-hating racism to aid his "friend" (assuming Mr. Williams is O'Reilly's "some of my best friends are black" friend).
WILLIAMS: Well, let me just tell you, the one thing I would say is this. And we're talking about the kids who still like this gangsta rap, this vile poison that I think is absolutely, you know, literally a corruption of culture. I think that what you've got to take into account that it's still a majority white audience -- young, white people who think they're into rebelling against their parents who buy this stuff and think it's just a kick. You know, it's just a way of expressing their anti-authoritarianism.
MADMAN: Williams attempt was made at the black urban youth, the music they listen to and the role models they choose. But, the truth of the matter is that much of the white suburban youth listen to the same music and idolize the same role models as their black counterparts. It isn't "just a kick", as Williams says. Children are children and are open to the same influences in their lives regardless of color. Williams remarks are equally as racist as O'Reilly's but because of his race, Williams was able to state them without fear of retribution. In fact, Williams remarks are even more damaging because they give bigots like O'Reilly a safe run at race - all they have to do is agree!
O'REILLY: But it's a different -- it's a different dynamic, though.
WILLIAMS: Exactly right --
O'REILLY: Because the young, white kids don't have to struggle out of the ghetto.
WILLIAMS: Right, and also, I think they can have that as one phase of their lives.
MADMAN: See? Allow the most racist black-on-black hatred to come out and just agree and - just like that (*SNAP*) - instant affirmation! The truth is kids were getting out of ghettos for as long as there have been ghettos, and by implying that it's harder for black children, and offering them music (among other things) as an excuse only festers the notion among way too many white people that black people are inferior.
There is no doubt that O'Reilly feels that way and one can only wonder what, other than money, motivates Williams.

WILLIAMS: I think too many of the black kids take it as, "Oh, that's what it means to be authentically black. That's how you make money. That's how you become rich and famous and get on TV and get music videos." And you either get the boys or the girls. The girls think they have to, you know, be half-naked and spinning around like they're on meth in order to get any attention. It really corrupts people, and I think it adds, Bill, to some serious sociological problems, like the high out-of-wedlock birth rate because of this hypersexual imagery that then the kids adapt to some kind of reality. I mean, it's inauthentic. It's not in keeping with great black traditions of struggle and excellence, from Willie Mays to Aretha Franklin, but even in terms of academics, you know, going back to people like Charles Drew or Ben Carson here, the neurosurgeon at [Johns] Hopkins [University]. That stuff, all of a sudden, is pushed aside. That's treated as, "You're a nerd, you're acting white," if you try to be excellent and black.
MADMAN: And if you want to know why black people don't trust the right wing of our nation, as evidenced by voting behavior, the above should be your proof.

O'REILLY: You know, and I went to the concert by Anita Baker at Radio City Music Hall, and the crowd was 50/50, black/white, and the blacks were well-dressed... The band was excellent, but they were dressed in tuxedoes, and this is what white America doesn't know, particularly people who don't have a lot of interaction with black Americans. They think that the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg.
MADMAN: So what lesson did O'Reilly come out with on seeing Anita Baker? Nothing other than Black people can actually wear nice clothes.

O'REILLY (back onto Sylvia's in Harlem): There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, "M-Fer, I want more iced tea."
WILLIAMS: Please --
O'REILLY: You know, I mean, everybody was -- it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all.
MADMAN; And this is exactly what Bill O'Reilly, and much of his audience, I'm sorry to say, expects. This is how they view others who simply look different than themselves. Let's face it, by stating differences which he perceives, Mr. Bill and Mr.. Williams are just creating another way to drive wedges between people. And it's just the way they like it. On wonders what "please" meant, as issued by Williams as he was cut off by O'Reilly. Maybe he had had enough and was going to come to his senses, but I doubt it.

In the end, Don Imus lost his job because there was an outrage in the black community. I hope that Al Sharpton does the same thing for The O'Reilly Factor as he did to Imus in the Morning. If not, we should all ask him, "Why not?" And if the answer is "Because Fox pays me," it should be the last we ever hear from him.

-Noah Greenberg

Ahmadinejad and Bush

Personally, I find Ahmadinejad about as crazy and disgusting as Bush. The two of them should shut up already and step aside early. But, alas we are likely to be stuck with both mad men awhile longer..

I am disturbed at Cheney's efforts to drum up a war with Iran. It is completely unnecessary and widely opposed by the Pentagon. Even General Abizaid has criticized Bush-Cheney for trying to provoke yet another war.

This country is in deep economic trouble. We are already 1 trillion dollars in the hole with Iraq (forget about that 500 billion number that has been quoted for almost two years now). We have a real crisis brewing at home with sub-prime mortgages. We are going to need cash to bail out banks when the problem hits hard next year. The last thing we need is another war.

Where will the troops come from anyway? Is Bush planning on reducing troops in Iraq only to send them right into Iran. What will that accomplish when the main problem is a whacky PM? I sure hope that Americans don't buy into the fervor being whipped up for a war with Iran. That would be a tragic mistake that I fear will be unrecoverable.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to, "I thought I was listening to George W. Bush himself," while listening to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University, Rhian writes:

I thought I was the only one who had noticed the similarities.

In response to, "Iran's Voice Speaks at Columbia", Victoria Brownworth writes:

While I almost always agree with Noah Greenberg, I have to disagree with the headline of his piece on Ahmadinejad at Columbia.

"Iran's Voice Speaks at Columbia" was simply inaccurate. Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia, perhaps, but since a large portion of the protesters were Iranian, since every Iranian professor at Columbia objected to the decision to allow Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia, since Iranians themselves give Ahmadinejad an approval rating that is even lower than George Bush, Ahmadinejad no more speaks for Iran than Bush speaks for America. Titularly, yes. Literally, no.

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-Noah Greenberg