Sunday, May 10, 2009
The return of the Golden Rule.
The guy with the spiky hair and sun damaged skin is CBS golf analyst David Feherty. The woman with the bangs and the much clearer complexion is professional poker player Annie Duke. This is not a post about the importance of sun block. This is about an application of The Golden Rule I wrote about two years ago, back when a lot less people read this blog.
The advice is simple. Don't wish people dead.
Here is how Mr. Feherty broke the rule, writing in D magazine, a publication about Dallas, Texas.
From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this, though: despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.
Here is the offending quote from Ms. Duke, aired as part of the promo for the finale of Celebrity Apprentice, where she is competing with Joan Rivers: "That woman needs to die."
Over on The Huffington Post, a center-left website with a large following and on Keith Olbermann's Countdown, there are calls for CBS to fire Feherty, much as they fired sports commentator Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder decades ago for some stupid comments about race.
There is no outcry for a public apology from Ms. Duke, as the bad blood flows in both directions between her and Joan Rivers. Joan has already broken Godwin's Law by comparing Annie to Hitler. I don't watch the show, so I had to go online to find out about this.
I want to be clear. This is not a spirited defense of Joan Rivers or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. I can't think of a celebrity I dislike more than Joan Rivers, and if I were to make a list of what is wrong with the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would be very near the top, possibly numbers one and two.
The point is this. When speaking in public or writing for publication, do not wish people dead simply because you dislike them personally or disagree with them politically.
Note that Feherty brings up murder fantasies about Bin Laden. The public accepts the view that Bin Laden is a mass murderer, though in fact he is really just the figurehead leader of a loose organization that commits mass murder. There is no political or personal fallout for wishing Bin Laden dead. It is put forward as our patriotic duty to do so. I would compare Bin Laden to Charlie Manson. Anyone publishing fantasies about a violent death for Manson wouldn't be singled out for public derision, even by me.
I think the general public's acceptance of the death penalty helps fuel these weird fantasies for the deaths of people we don't like or disagree with. Bill O'Reilly wanted terrorists to attack San Francisco because the Board of Supervisors took R.O.T.C. money out of the budget. Pat Robertson wished for the nuclear destruction of the State Department in 2003 when it was being run by Colin Powell. O'Reilly does not work for an actual news organization with integrity to defend, so his job was in no jeopardy for his stupid death wishes. Over at The 700 Club, Robertson owns the joint, so there's no one to fire him.
Feherty, on the other hand, works for CBS, and they would do well to let him go. Annie Duke can't be fired by anyone, except fake fired by her fake boss Donald Trump. I hope she finds it in herself to apologize for her death wish against Joan Rivers, though I fully understand the disapproval of one blogger doesn't exactly equal public outcry.
For those of you who do read this blog, I hope you take my advice seriously. Leave the death fantasies alone. We need to move beyond this, and all of us can help make a start.