CNNâ€™s Rick Sanchez decided to go toe-to-toe with faux newser Jon Stewart and suffered the same fate as the last CNNer to do so â€“ Tucker Carlson. However in the aftermath, we have a sort of â€œhow many J-Words can dance on the tip of the tongueâ€ argument brewing.
Stewart had been doing to Sanchez what heâ€™s done to so many others for weeks â€“ made fun of him. Itâ€™s the penalty one pays when one is famous and says dumb things. Itâ€™s all too easy for Stewartâ€™s crack staff to find double-speak video and other public statements to hold crapweasels up to ridicule. I think Stewartâ€™s brand of ridicule, despite its definite bite, is far less passionate than Keith Olbermannâ€˜s skewers of the famous and inane. One gets the sense that Jon knows itâ€™s a joke while Olbermann actually believes his targets are the Worst Persons in the World.
But then, I ainâ€™t famous so what do I know?
If you live under the glare of studio lights and talk for a living â€“ incessantly â€“ youâ€™ll punk yourself occasionally. It happens. And when it does, you have to either have a great sense of humor or develop tough skin, because the dumber you are, the more youâ€™ll be held up to ridicule. Exhibits A-D, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Christine Oâ€™Donnell, and Sharron Angle, et al.
Sanchezâ€™s skin is apparently as thin as John McTheuselaâ€™s, as is the skin of Sanchezâ€™s CNN overlords. Sanchez let the J-Bombs fly, CNN fired him, he apologized to Stewart soon after and Jon and Rick rode into the sunset, at least if not BFFs, OK with things. And, Christopher Hitchens takes up Sanchezâ€™s cause.
Hitchens? Really? Famous crusading atheist? Has cancer?
One in the same.
Hitchens argues that Sanchezâ€™s anti-Jewish statements are literally true. Despite the anti-semitic overtones, he says Jews (along with white Christians) actually are disproportionately represented in media and entertainment boardrooms. To Hitchens, Sanchez simply stated a fact no more problematic than saying African Americans are under-represented. And as boneheaded as Hitchens often is, he has a point. But, it was never about THAT point and it isnâ€™t a necessarily a socially polite thing to say.
It all boils down to a â€œwho can safely say the N-word, or in this case, the J-wordâ€. Sure, Sanchez was unbelievably stupid, but if weâ€™re going to fire every TV personality whoâ€™s stupid, TV would consist of lots of HD snow and annoying test pattern buzz.
But, you could make an argument that would be an improvement.
Not a White Supremacist Candidate
I personally find Sanchez annoying and I suspect his assumed anti-semitism may be real to some degree, although, barring any information to the contrary,Â Iâ€™m not so sure heâ€™d be a good candidate for your neighborly white supremacist enclave.
I donâ€™t condone what he said. In fact, I donâ€™t think it is as literally true as Hitchens does either. But, Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s a firing offense when put in context.
Sanchez did the right thing in calling Stewart to apologize â€“ though he wimped out by letting his wife announce it to the public on Facebook. Everyone might have been better served if the apology was both personal and public. A true mea culpa with some teeth â€“ perhaps a show or series of shows devoted to anti-semitism coupled with some work with Jewish charities and up close and personal exposure to Jewish people. The Jewish religion believes in atonement, a earthly one to be sure, but atonement nonetheless.
If Sanchez refused to do these things, if his superiors had to co-opt him to do them â€“ in a very public way â€“ they, and those calling for his resignation, would have every right to say, â€œdonâ€™t let the door hit your ass on the way out.â€ Or, if he did it again, ala Mel Gibson, away with him. No one has to cut the man some slack and some believe no one should.
But we might all learn a little about ourselves and each other if we did.
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!