Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bill O'Reilly gets nostalgic about those Golden Years when ethnic slurs were no big deal

-- by Dave

Well, apparently one good way to make sure your music video gets lots of airtime is to mention Bill O'Reilly flatteringly. Mr. Falafel Head will be sure to bring you on for a talk segment, as he did with Ray Stevens on Monday night.

Nevermind, of course, that Stevens' hit "Tea Party anthem" features a lyric about euthanizing Grandma, which he heard about "from Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh". O'Reilly replayed that part for us approvingly again.

But then he launched into a discussion with Stevens about his lame old 1962 hit novelty record, "Ahab the Arab," the video for which O'Reilly also played. And then he whined about how it's so politically incorrect to say that stuff now:

O’REILLY: So 48 years ago — 48 years ago in this country we could make fun of Arabs. … We could make fun of people in a general way, and certainly, Ahab was the Arab was a general parody. But now, we can’t. What has changed in America?

STEVENS: I think we’ve gone overboard with the political correctness just like so many other people think the same way about that. And I don’t know. We’ve got to come out of that, I think.

Yeah, it's just tragic. As Adam Serwer observes:

The subtext of this lament is O'Reilly mourning the demise of what he refers to as the "white Christian male power structure." It's not really that you "can't" make racist jokes anymore; it's that you when you make them, you can't expect everyone to remain silent as you assert your cultural or racial superiority through humor.

Still, while we're clearly a country where simply "making fun of Arabs" is seen in most circles as inappropriate, we are a country where it's not as taboo to whine about no longer being able to make fun of Arabs. Meanwhile there's also a bipartisan consensus that anti-Arab racism can be government policy.

But hey, what's racial profiling, indefinite detention, and unprecedented levels of warrantless surveillance when white guys can't publicly tell racist jokes? I think we know who the real victims are here.

Transcript via Think Progress.

Priscilla at NewsHounds has more.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

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