Why are we incensed by the rantings of the less than mentally titanic celebrity? That was not meant critically, my vitriol to those who use their accidental fame to spew hate, is equally baffling.
There have been many such incidents but three in the last decade stand out.
1) The New York Knicks, April 2001. A New York Times writer, Eric Konigsberg, had been attending a bible study run by Charlie Ward of the Knicks. Ward addressing the writer asked, ''Jews are stubborn, E. But tell me, why did they persecute Jesus unless he knew something they didn't want to accept?''
''They had his blood on their hands,'' Ward added.
Allan Houston, then cited a passage in the New Testament: ''Matthew 26, verse 67. Then they spit in Jesus' face and hit him with their fists.''
Ward added: ''There are Christians getting persecuted by Jews every day. There's been books written about this -- people who are raised Jewish and find Christ, and then their parents stop talking to them.''
At the time I shared a Knick season ticket. My friend and I have never attended a game since then.
I'm sure that this bothers the Knicks. After all we split a pretzel and drank one bottle of water each at the game. Now, I'm sure those tickets are used by people who drink a six pack each.
2) The second was Mel Gibson. who during a DUI arrest in 2006 was captured on tape. shouting anti-semitic remarks to a Jewish policeman. I understand that the current issue of GQ, quotes WInona Ryder that Gibson was anti-Semitic and homophobic, but “No one believed me.”
Ryder said that at a Hollywood party 15 years ago, Gibson called Jews “oven dodgers,” referring to the ovens of the Nazi extermination camps—a term she said she had never heard before.
Long after his Anti-Semitic rantings, Gibson was still a regular guest star on Jay Leno. I guess that Jay is more forgiving than I.
3) The third incident, involves Rush Limbaugh and Michael J. Fox. After a series of political ads, in which Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, and has been a tireless spokesman for others who suffer, supported candidates who favored Stem Cell research. Limbaugh without the benefit of any research said, "He is exaggerating the effects of the disease... He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
"This is the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has," Limbaugh said. "He can barely control himself." Later, still on the air, Limbaugh would apologize.
Why do I care what these people say. Ward and Houston are now ex-athletes. Their statements were made out of stupidity and should be given no credence. Gibson, it seems, may finally be a non issue. Everybody knows he is a bigot. I doubt that he will ever be a success again. Limbaugh is still on the air. Maybe more powerful than ever. He has unexplainable control over the Republican party. This is far from the first or the last time that this man was guilty of irresponsible journalism. This man is the second coming of Father Coughlin.
Somebody will respond to this and say that, "every time you write something negative about him you're giving him what he wants. If we ignore him, we make him less important." Yes and no. Because he has such a large and loud following we must continue to point out every time he makes a bigoted, insensitive or uninformed statement.
I believe in the First Amendment. He can say what he wants. It is also my first Amendment right to say what I want. The only way to shut him up is to show him for the person that he is. Like Father Coughlin before him, we must shut him up. The way to do that is to keep hammering at his lies, until all know him for the person that he is, and his ratings take him off of the air.