Editorial: Free speech doesn't have to be disrespectful

A lack of regard for history, tragedy and each other is pervasive today

Along with “responsibility,” add “respect” to the list of character attributes seriously on the wane in America.

Singer Beyoncé recently released a song using NASA audio of the 1986 Challenger explosion – a completely crass commercialization of one of America’s most painful, poignant moments in memory.

And during its New Year’s Eve coverage, NBC’s guest comedian Natasha Leggero took note of the tacky way that the SpaghettiOs manufacturer last month tried to commercialize Pearl Harbor Day. Except that Leggero exponentially compounded the poor taste with her own – crudely joking that the World War II survivors had been exploited “by the only food they can still chew.”

Are there no standards in anyone’s head anymore?

Beyoncé is one of the entertainment world’s leading ladies. And neither NBC nor Leggero are hurting financially. It just goes to show you that neither money nor material wealth nor fame nor adulation can produce class.

It also shows you how utterly disrespectful American culture is today, not to mention wholly without perspective.

No media outlet is worse than MSNBC, the radical-left cable network which has constantly had to discipline its on-air “talent” for offensive remarks: Alec Baldwin, for an anti-gay slur; Martin Bashir, for a foul suggestion of what should happen to a conservative woman; and Melissa Harris-Perry, for her racist mocking of the Romneys’ black grandchild.

That’s just the most recent. Then again, there’s Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann. The NBC commissary apparently serves up its bile straight and undiluted.

Imagine that – the sanctimonious, self-righteous, “tolerant” far left, leading the league in racist, misogynistic and homophobic broadcast outrages.

But it’s larger than that. It’s a near-complete breakdown in respect. Never mind the hypocrisy or the politics of some of it; what are these people thinking, mocking someone for the race of his grandchildren, or suggesting human waste be put in a woman’s mouth, or calling people offensive names?

And why is MSNBC such a chronic sanctuary for such sewage?

What in the world was Leggero thinking, spewing such a sick joke about our Pearl Harbor survivors? How could anyone think of using audio from the Challenger disaster – which killed seven Americans in a hauntingly nightmarish moment – for commercial purposes, and in a pop song about kissing?

Beyoncé issued a tepid apology claiming it was an effort to pay tribute to the seven astronauts – even though, as one report put it, “there is no mention of them, or even allusion to their existence, in the song ...” And certainly no one in the Challenger family sees it as a tribute.

Respect – for history, for tragedy, for what goes on in another person’s shoes – requires perspective: a realization that the planet doesn’t revolve around you; the knowledge that other people’s pain is nothing to trifle with; a healthy view of your own place in the world; knowing when flippancy is completely inappropriate, even for comedians and entertainers; a reverence for things that others hold sacred; and, of course, the kind of civility that only comes with being well-bred.

Is there room for such things in a culture that seems to consider conceit and self-absorption to be more sacrosanct than fundamental Judeo-Christian principles?

More

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 22:23

Letter: Respect president-elect

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 22:22

Editorial: A tragedy compounded

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 22:24

Letter: Fund Alzheimer’s fight