The I. Man’s tempest in a pisspot is a wake-up call for all Americans to blow the whistle on the deepening, spreading coarsening of our public discourse. Daily News thinker, Elmer Smith, hits a homer with his pun, discoarse. Our public discourse is altogether too coarse, in almost all the media all the time.
This week(18 April edition of the Philadelphia Weekly) Steve Volk’s excellent piece on the stupid cashiering of the Inky’s legendary TV columnist, Gail Shister, is headlined “Tube Tied”, a gratuitously gynecological allusion absolutely inappropriate. And Duane, editor at the competing “City Paper”(19 April) defaces his otherwise commendable fury over Philly street crudities as he squires a visiting Scottish crime novelist about town with neologisms like assholeteria and dipshits per square inch.
I know it may sound so 1950, but we all need to clean up our linguistic acts. (I apologize for using “pisspot” in the first sentence, and won’t do it again. Soon. We have long realized that our first using four letter words is a teeny bopper’s pretense at growing up.Learning how immature that tendency really is usually is the first dependable sign of maturity. As I look back on we liberals’ too quickly idolizing of potty mouths like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Talking tough is a fool’s substitute for thinking hard. In our eagerness to subvert Puritanism in American culture, we demeaned ourselves into a teenybopper culture.
You can parse IMUS as I’M US. That’s the problem. Using dirty, cheap language never leads to thoughtful analysis. It simply reveals an utter lack of thought, a triumph of a teeny, tiny vocabulary over developed thought processes. Alas, we really are all in this together. When black rappers flaunt their “nigger” talk about “ho’s” and such, they are simply showing what empty vessels they are creatively.
And the late Delores Tucker was absolutely right in presciently knocking such mindless lyrics as generate misogyny and amorality. She was derided as being sissy and uppity for her thoughtful critiques. It is not logic chopping to infer that there is a direct connection between such self-demeaning talk and the crime crisis in the black community.
We have indeed created unwittingly for ourselves a truly dangerous urban society with its Columbine’s and Virginia Tech’s. I asked my East German wife yesterday how many gun-related murders she thought there were in the United States last year. After pausing a minute or so, she replied: “Oh, about 300!” I ruefully had to inform her it was closer to 33,000. Think of it. That’s almost a hundred a day!
And yet most Americans pride themselves on living in a Christian society. Almost 90% say they believe in God and an afterlife. Europeans look at these disparities between our official Christian compassion talk and our actual behavior and shake their heads sadly. Global Warming may be the Next Big Crisis. But our scatological ways of talking about both ourselves and others is a global collapse of ethics, after which all sorts of unexpected calamities may ensue.
And Imus’ picking on the Rutgers basketball team is dangerous foolishness. The plight of the black women in general in America is monstrous. We should all be bending over backwards giving them a break. The National Urban League’s “The State of Black Americans 2007” is just out, and its details are horrifying. The black male is twice as likely to be unemployed as his white counterparts. And they make only 75% as much.
They are seven times more likely to be incarcerated, with ten month longer sentences for the same offenses. Among blacks between 15 and 34, they are nine times more likely to be victims of homicides than whites. In this demoralizing chaos, black females find it Sisyphean just to be normal, let alone superlative, like the Rutgers women. To mock them is truly blasphemous.