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Archive for Monday, September 21, 2009

Jerks

As long as out-of-control showoffs are allowed to ramble fairly unfettered, we’ll get more incivility.

September 21, 2009

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It’s sorry enough that so many public figures are making fools of themselves with bad behavior. Every bit as unacceptable is that people in positions of responsibility are so reluctant or afraid to put these wayfarers in their place. At least the U.S. House of Representatives has bucked this trend in the Joe Wilson case.

Take the case of Serena Williams, perhaps the best tennis player in the world and the darling of many sports fans. She had temper tantrums at the recent U.S. Open tournament in New York and drew two censures that were a factor in her losing a semifinal match she might have won.

First off, Williams slammed her racket after she disappointed herself, and that drew an official rebuff. That was mild compared to the menacing demeanor and blue language she used later when an official called a foot fault that ensured her defeat. The furious Serena, clearly not the dear, sweet soul some think she is, used the f-word at least three times in approaching a female official and threatened to shove the ball down the official’s throat.

Such behavior should have erased Williams from the premises, right there. To be sure, she drew a $10,500 fine, a drop in the bucket considering her earning power, and got a little flak. But next thing we know she’s back in good standing and teaming with sister Venus to win the female doubles title and more adoration from a doting crowd. Serena never should have been allowed to continue competing in the tournament.

We have to blame the U.S. Open people for being too timid. Their decisions did not reflect favorably about the guidance tennis is supposed to have. Later, of course, Roger Federer got profane in his male singles title match and also needed to be censured. But would he even have let himself get carried away if Serena Williams had been kicked off the premises?

During an address to Congress, President Barack Obama was branded as a liar by a Republican loudmouth who later apologized but who drew surprising support from some corners. Too much has been made of this. The legislator apologized but the break in decorum was bad enough that the U.S. House formally rebuked him. That is uncharacteristic of how Congress people tend to take good care of their own, and it was a welcome and refreshing turn of events for many.

Then there was the incident where entertainer Kanye West, who apparently had been drinking heavily, leaped onto the stage during an awards presentation, and made it clear he felt somebody other than the young woman being honored on stage should have won the award instead. He, too, apologized, but he merits heavier censure from people in his own field instead of the “boys will boys” acceptance he got from so many. This kind of outburst is totally unacceptable.

During an off-camera moment, President Obama is reported to have called West a “jackass.” Good for Obama. That’s exactly how West behaved in this instance. And the president should not apologize because his evaluation was accurate.

We can expect more boorish muckerism until the reactions to such are so definitive that people are not encouraged to keep indulging in it.

At least members of Congress had the good sense to slap down Joe Wilson, something he fully deserved despite his prompt apology.

Comments

KS 5 years, 3 months ago

These folks need to learn this stuff at home from their Mamma. By the time they are adults, it is too late. Why should we expect the US Open or Congress or anyone else to be our Mamma? Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot! We can't discipline anyone anymore. We might get arrested or sued!

Blessed4x 5 years, 3 months ago

"During an off-camera moment, President Obama is reported to have called West a “jackass.” Good for Obama. That’s exactly how West behaved in this instance. And the president should not apologize because his evaluation was accurate."

So explain to me how Obama was NOT being a jerk in the same way the others WERE being jerks. Your logic escapes me.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

How jerky is it that the Democrats are pressuring the only Black governor New York has ever had to not run for re-election?

jniebaum 5 years, 3 months ago

Good editorial! Yes, the House voted 240 to 179 to reprimand Joe Wilson. However, only 7 Republicans voted in favor of reprimand, despite the fact that it was a breach of House rules. Of the Kansas contingent all 3 Republicans voted against reprimand and only the lone Democrat stood up for civility. Kudos to Dennis Moore. Furthermore, Wilson was WRONG. He should at least apologize to the House for being wrong.

scott3460 5 years, 3 months ago

"At least members of Congress had the good sense to slap down Joe Wilson, something he fully deserved despite his prompt apology."

Lest we forget, there was a distictly partisan aspect to which members of Congress sought to admonish Joe Wilson.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 3 months ago

it's a good thing everyone else in congress and hollywood are so perfect so as not to speak out of turn or say something completely stupid or reprehensible. I think that in each of these instances, the person who made the remarks realized that they spoke out of turn, made their peace with people and we should all move on. This constant bickering back and forth about sincerity of apologies is childish and a waste of public time. How much of Congress' time is wasted on apologies and thank you's? I think that if we cut all the BS and kept things to business at hand, we could cut their salaries by half, reduce the total number of members, and let them get back to their home states more often.

lawrencian 5 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if the rules of tennis state that a person is disqualified from all competition at an event for profanity, or just from the one in which they are currently participating.

beatrice 5 years, 3 months ago

Lest we forget, there was a distictly partisan aspect to which members of Congress sought to defend Joe Wilson.

jonas_opines 5 years, 3 months ago

“During an off-camera moment, President Obama is reported to have called West a “jackass.” Good for Obama. That’s exactly how West behaved in this instance. And the president should not apologize because his evaluation was accurate.”

So explain to me how Obama was NOT being a jerk in the same way the others WERE being jerks. Your logic escapes me."

Note: off-camera, reported to have called. Also, responsive, defensive.

In other words, different. Not so hard.
/Wilson's censure is Still stupid

kansastruthteller 5 years, 3 months ago

hey you forget Jesse Jackson's comments about Obama during the campaign and Obama saying the police acted stupidly when he didn't have the facts.

Let's get all the uncivil and stupid comments out there.

BTW, Wilson's comment might have been accurate, but it was inappropriate in that forum.

georgiahawk 5 years, 3 months ago

Is it so hard to agree, no matter what side of the political spectrum you subscribe to, that we should not be jerks to each other?

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

scott: "Lest we forget, there was a distictly partisan aspect to which members of Congress sought to admonish Joe Wilson."

beatrice: "Lest we forget, there was a distictly partisan aspect to which members of Congress sought to defend Joe Wilson."

Correct and disappointing on both counts. But not surprising. The continued call for censure of Wilson is ridiculous, however, and merely lends him more free air time.
Agree whole-heartedly w/ the piece, though. That's an excellent grouping of recent jerks.

jonas_opines 5 years, 3 months ago

georgiahawk (Anonymous) says…

"Is it so hard to agree, no matter what side of the political spectrum you subscribe to, that we should not be jerks to each other?"

Well, depending on where you stand, the answer might be "Pssh, that sounds like your brand of liberal lefty socialist nonsense!" or "Whatever, if we weren't jerks the fascist right would have us all chained to church pews by now."

beatrice 5 years, 3 months ago

ktt: "BTW, Wilson's comment might have been accurate, but it was inappropriate in that forum."

Except, of course, Wilson's comment wasn't accurate. He was both innaccurate in inappropriate.

That is one of the problems with outbursts like these. People want to believe them, even when they have been shown time and time again that it is not the truth. I guess this is why some people still to this day believe Saddam Hussein had something to do with the planning of 9/11.

As others have noted on factcheck, "The president is correct: The House bill contains a section (Sec. 246) titled 'NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS,' which states: 'Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.'" http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/obamas-health-care-speech/

Phillbert 5 years, 3 months ago

Subhead: "As long as out-of-control showoffs are allowed to ramble fairly unfettered, we’ll get more incivility."

Does this mean no more Saturday Columns?

scott3460 5 years, 3 months ago

"Correct and disappointing on both counts. But not surprising. The continued call for censure of Wilson is ridiculous, however, and merely lends him more free air time. "

I disagree. What will act as a deterrent to future outbursts if Congress does not indicate some sort of consequence for the behavior?

And please do not tell me that an insincere call of apology to the President's Chief of Staff has been any sort of deterrent in this instance. a. Wilson has stated that he was forced to make the call by republican Party leaders, and b. he used the noteriety of the incident to raise funds for his reelection.

With regard to continued calls for censure and free air time, you raise an interesting point. He gets free support, I admit, from the ubiquitous right wing/corporate media. They need not trumpet his cause on the public airwaves, but do so nonetheless. That "free" air time, however, should not quiet calls for appropriate discipline.

ralphralph 5 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

"What will act as a deterrent to future outbursts if Congress does not indicate some sort of consequence for the behavior? "

Considering this instance is so incredibly rare, I don't believe a rush to censure is necessary. Thousands have known and understood the proper decorum in the House, especially as audience to the President. Nor do I believe a censure is a realistic deterrent and in this man's case, with his constituency, apparently, it would serve as a badge of honor. No, a censure is a collosal waste of time, imo.

"he used the noteriety of the incident to raise funds for his reelection."

So has his opponent. And spare me the "right wing/corporate media" nonsense, scott. You're an intelligent individual, but throwing that conspiracy-theorist crappage out there detracts massively from any decent points you'd otherwise offer.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

How in the world did 9/11/01 hijackers/terrorists get by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice?

Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice dropped the ball in a very big way. Gen. Hayden of NSA knew the hijackers were living but a few blocks from his NSA headquarters yet never invited the FBI to pursue and provide ultimate security information. YES BUSHCO failed the American people. WHY did the headquarters for the nation's premier covert intelligence gathering organization fail the United States of America? The RINO repubs failed the nation!

Why did Bush/Cheney not resign?

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office?

Who has history with financial institutions going south such as the savings and loan scandal? Republicans!

About the Bush/Cheney/Greenspan/Bernake fraudulent home loan scandal:

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

About the Bush/Reagan Savings and Loan Scandal(home loans) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

Bush family weapons deals to the evil empires:

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4120/we_arm_the_world/

McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate ... http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1989-11-29/news/mccain-the-most-reprehensible-of-the-keating-five/1

CRIME: Who hosted the Iran Contra secret illegal sale of weapons? Republicans! http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/publications/irancontra/irancon.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reagan/peopleevents/pande08.html

CRIME: Who brought the nation Iran Contra number 2? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/5/iran_contra_20_how_the_bush

CRIME: Which party illegally spied on the democrats to win an election? Republicans! Watergate! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/index.html

CRIME: Which party held secret energy meetings and refused our elected officials its' content and who attended? GW Bush and the republicans!

CRIME: Which party lied to congress and the world,went against military advice and created the worst strategic blunder in the history of the USA aka Iraq War? Republican Party! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10348418/

Which party has held secret oil deals with Saudi Arabia? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2004/4/20/did_bush_cut_secret_oil_deal

CRIME: Secret Oil deals for Iraq Oil- Republicans! http://www.pubrecord.org/nationworld/262.html?task=view

The USA has fewer jobs for taxpayers today as a result of a Texas republican governor exercising his executive decision making powers as president of the USA

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

Republican CRIME AGAINST DEMOCRACY : PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members held highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Martini_Boy 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry merrill neither party has a monopoly on this country's problems, boorish behavior, law-breaking tax-evading congressional members, or stoopidity.

It's people like you that want a one party system that suck....

jonas_opines 5 years, 3 months ago

It went quite well, and I'm well on my way to recovery.

(and no, I don't)

Paul Decelles 5 years, 3 months ago

A Journal World editorial with which I agree? What the....furball?

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

jonas,

Didn't know you'd gone through surgery. Hope it's your last, bro, fingers crossed.

jonas_opines 5 years, 3 months ago

jaywalker: Well, after this one (I've had three, all on the same disc) they told me that there's really not enough left of that particular disc to herniate anymore. A grim sort of reassurance, I suppose, but I further suppose that for someone who bucked probably a 1 in several hundred thousand at least chance and had a herniated disc at the terminal age of 14, grim reassurances are all I really have.

It probably won't be my last, but I hope (and will do what I can to ensure) that it will be my last for at least a couple decades. I'm averaging one a decade right now, and that's really not good enough.

jaywalker 5 years, 3 months ago

jonas: Perhaps technology will make the difference for ya in the future, I'm thinkin' a Steve Austin kinda 'we can rebuild him'! That's tough stuff. Take good care.

jonas_opines 5 years, 3 months ago

jaywalker: Yeah, I've been hoping for a bionic spine for some time now. They could do my legs, too.

Hell, who am I kidding? I'd love to be a pioneer bionic-man. Of course, I would then become a villain, but they don't know that.

If that fails, though, my hope is on synthetic disc replacements. Those are really being implemented.

Ernest Barteldes 5 years, 3 months ago

Times have changed: John McEnroe amused us. Serena scandalizes us... sigh

bearded_gnome 5 years, 3 months ago

So, Mr. Obama can be excused because he was correct?

the Congressional Research Service says that Joe Wilson was right: Mr. Obama was lying, no provision in the several health insurance bills at the time would have verified citizenship! also confirming Wilson's statement dem senator from montana in his plan stated that they'd fixed the problem where illegals would be covered. was also a statement from a house member.

Joe Wilson was right.

now, evidence that Mr. Obama is trying to sneak things around here: he wants to legalize, blanket amnesty, the dozen or more millions of illegals, then give them health care, thus they'd not be illegal then, just with the drivers licenses he wants to give them (ref dem primary debates), and legalize all of them. think he's trying to stuff the ballot box, too? naw, he'd never do that.

commuter 5 years, 3 months ago

Is Kanye racist??? I bet if a white person would have interrupted Beyone saying that some white performer had the better video, that person would be called a racist.

I have been called a racist because I did not vote for Obama, or agree with his policies but black people can say they voted for Obama because he is black and that is ok.

Based on personal experiences, there are just as many racist black people as racist white people.

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