Manners

It seems that Juan Williams, a National Public Radio analyst, said recently on The O’Reilly Factor, “ . . . when I get on a plane, I gotta tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb, and I think that they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” Some people were offended by what he said, and NPR fired him.

It reminds me of when Trent Lott, a politician, said he wished Strom Thurmond, another politician, had won the U.S. presidency in 1948. Thurmond was virulently anti-Negro and said so. Lott apologized, not for wanting a white-supremacist administration in Washington, just for saying so.

Lou Harvin, when he was public affairs director for the Minnesota DFL, said that Republican legislators were “of the KKK mentality, but totally without the hoods,” and “I’ve found out what Republicans do is lie. They lie, they lie.” Harvin then apologized, not for lying on Minnesota Republicans but for telling his truth about them. As I recall, a prominent Republican said that he was “hurt” by Harvin’s assertion and thereby verified it. I love it when that happens.

Ward Churchill caught hella flak when he pointed out that the World Trade Center was fair game for an enemy because it contained military targets, making the people killed on 9/11 just collateral damage by the U.S. government’s own rules. Too bad about them, but they were in the way.

I’m the last one to ask about the propriety of Juan Williams’s statement, which may be why no one has. At first I thought the range of public discourse is just narrowing faster than Williams realized, but then his other employer, Fox News, gave him $2 million a year to work for them full-time, so maybe he got what he wanted. Right after that Williams went on Glenn Beck’s radio show and from what I heard online Williams pretty much tried to suck Beck off over the phone. That’s how it sounded to me. They might be dating.

I’m not surprised that Juan Williams gets his undies in a bunch when he sees a suspected Muslim on a plane. As a media figure, he’s immersed in professional journalism, so it’s no wonder he gets nervous when he thinks someone is a Muslim. I’m guessing Williams has never been attacked by a Muslim. He’s just a deluded consumer of mass media and reacts accordingly. What terrorist would dress up like a Muslim to get on a plane in the United States? Would you?

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