I’ve been watching the news in the US lately, rather appalled at what I am seeing and hearing. Basketball sensation Jeremy Lin has broken records and splashed onto the courts in ways that make the all star players take notice, admire and hate him all at once. Somehow, instead of the media lauding his achievements and this underdog story as the example of perseverance and believing in yourself, I have heard what I once thought were reputable media outlets resort to terrible headlines and comments such as ESPN’s “chink in the armor”.
A Los Angeles radio show, upon the tragic demise of Whitney Houston, called her a “crack ho'” and another radio station tried to defend the DJs behavior, dismissing the term as “a common slang term for someone addicted to crack”. Even if it is, which my children seem to think it is not, it shouldn’t be. And this radio station should not perpetuate it. If someone, even a celebrity, is addicted to drugs and dies, it is a tragedy, not something to be mocked outright, particularly when that person made such a great contribution to society in his or her chosen field.
So, I have to ask, what happened to class? Have Americans lost all sense of it?
It seems to me that everyone is trying too hard to be witty and out shock each other to the point that all sense of class, sensitivity and diplomacy have gone out the window. Triste! (How sad!) One would think that a journalist on ESPN and its producers would know better than to have run the headline “chink in the armor”. There is nothing funny or witty about it. It is degrading to Chinese people to use that pun in that way. ESPN is also not a comedy show. They are, or were, a respectable news outlet, and they should have showed more decorum, more sensitivity and in a word, class. Cretini! (Cretans!)
The DJs in LA, are a comedy show, but mocking someone after death is about as disrespectful as one can be, not just to the dead, but to the grieving family and friends. It is fair to discuss the tragedy and state that Whitney Houston chose to do drugs and that choice destroyed her career, her family and ultimately her life. It is also fair to say that given her prolonged usage of drugs, that her death was not a great shock, but to refer to her as a crack whore is to diminish her contribution as a great singer and performer and to diminish the tragedy of her choices and ultimate end. These DJs were not only not funny, they also showed no sensitivity to Whitney’s family, particularly her daughter, who apparently was so distraught by her mother’s death, she had to be admitted to the hospital.
Since when has being cruel and having no class been so cool? Why are the media working overtime at being offensive? In trying to be so witty and shocking, all the media is doing is showing the world that these individuals have no sense of class, no sense of boundaries and no sensitivity. Sure it is your first amendment right as an American to speak freely, but the Constitution does not say that in speaking freely, you should abdicate your ethical sense of right and wrong. It also does not say that you should abdicate your responsibility to being a constructive member of society. One can argue what that means exactly, but we all have certain lines we should not cross. People should have a sense of boundaries and show respect for each other rather than work overtime to show disrespect. It’s not about political correctness, but rather about human correctness. No Constitution can legislate that. Only our conscience can do that. Believe me, these media members would not have liked it if others had shown such cruelty to them. And that is how you decide. Think about how you would feel in that person’s shoes and then decide if you want to be so offensive, demeaning and cruel.
If you do, it doesn’t make you funny. It just makes you a classless jerk.