feat_ludacris

Ludacris, Cheney: Language double-standard

When Ludacris insisted

that he had "hoes in different area codes," the country didn’t take

it too well. Bill O’Reilly blasted him. Pepsi fired him. Women’s groups all

over the country called for a boycott against him. The objection to Luda’s lyrics

was widespread and long-lasting.

But on the other

side, no biggie. O’Reilly alluded to a desire to kill Al Franken on his radio

show last year by saying that had he and Franken endured their now-legendary

conflict in the Old West, O’Reilly would have settled things by shooting Franken

"between his head." Public response to this was minimal and people

mostly only made fun of O’Reilly for the wording of his statements instead of

criticizing O’Reilly for the message he was conveying.

Back in the Fall

of 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush was caught calling journalist Adam Clymer

a "major league a–hole." Again, no big deal. There was about a week’s

worth of fallout from the public and seemingly no objection from the Bush-backing

Religious Right.

And now, just last

Tuesday, CNN News reports that Vice-President Dick Cheney used the f-word in

response to statements by Vermont senator Patrick Leahy after Leahy reminded

the vice-president that he had once called Leahy a bad catholic [In an exchange on the Senate floor with Leahy, the vice president told the Senator to f**k himself].

Again, limited

public objection and barely any mention of this incident from America’s conservative

moral police.

Is there a double

standard at play when Americans crucify rappers for profanity and negative messages

but let politicians off the hook? Some seem to believe the answer is no. The

reason why many Americans hold rappers up to higher standards of decency than

even they themselves live is supposedly because rappers reach children with

their messages and no one wants the children to be corrupted. Because rap is

marketed to kids, America wants rappers to keep it clean.

And I guess since

kids don’t follow politics, journalists and politicians can say whatever they

want.

Wrong.

Politicians should

be held to the same decency standards that rappers and other entertainers are

being held to. The rappers may be the ones who the kids are listening to in

their free time, but when the kids are in school, they are learning about and

discussing the actions of our elected officials. Some kids may feel that rappers

are telling the stories that they can relate to, but it is actually the job

of the politician to represent and make decisions for his constituents and their

families, including the child who has not yet reached voting age.

And yes, most kids

are imitating rappers, not politicians. But the behavior of a politician should

never be so unbecoming that children would be prohibited from talking or behaving

the same way. The argument that the children probably aren’t watching should

be no excuse; anything a politician does should be subject to observation and

scrutiny from any American that his actions are affecting or will affect in

the future, regardless of how old that American is.

The politicians

should be the people that we want our kids to emulate, but this won’t be the

case as long as politicians are name-calling, cursing people down, and behaving

like foulmouthed seventh-graders.

And O’Reilly? His

show is watched by children believe it or not. He has even considered writing

a book geared toward his younger fans and he was once e-mailed by a young girl

who complimented him for being able to withstand such mean comments from other

viewers. By his own admission, O’Reilly is reaching a young audience, so his

messages shouldn’t include the same thuggery that he so vehemently opposes from

rappers. Expressing a desire to shoot a man for dissing him? You’ll find the

exact same type of talk in the 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule rap feud. That said, O’Reilly

is a hypocrite and is no better than the rappers that he criticizes.

Politicians and

journalists are servants of the public and children are included in this entity

we call "the public." Members of these professions therefore should

not be let off the hook for making any statement that we would find objectionable

if made by a rapper or anyone else who influences children.

The writer can

be reached at jalston@hendersondispatch.com.

The original article

can be viewed at: http://www.hendersondispatch.com/articles/2004/07/03/news/youth/youth01.txt

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