Friday, July 16, 2004



I know this is kind of "old news," but Slim-Fast has dropped Whoopi Goldberg as their spokesperson. This is only the latest in a very disturbing trend. For those of you who aren't aware, Whoopi Goldberg made some disparaging remarks concerning George W. Bush at a John Kerry fundraiser. Apparently, the remarks concerned the homophonic relationship between the president's last name and a slang term for a part of the female anatomy. Not necessarily original material, but it was enough to anger the Slim-Fast corporation.

We've seen this before. This week it's Whoopi Goldberg and Slim-Fast, a few months ago it was Howard Stern and Clear Channel. Both of these "artists" were fired from their respective employers because of "offensive" material. Both Goldberg and Stern had a reputation for this type of behavior. You can't tell me that Clear Channel wasn't aware that Howard Stern was offensive. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Clear Channel signed Howard Stern BECAUSE he was offensive. It was his controversial material that made him famous and was therefore going to make Clear Channel a lot of money. The same goes for Goldberg. She has been performing her raunchy, albeit funny, comedy material for years. This is what made her famous (before Sister Act of course). Slim-Fast knew this when they hired her. Now both companies act as if they are surprised by the behavior.

I think this feigned outrage actually has a different source. It goes back to the Dixie Chicks and the controversy caused by Natalie Maines' comments about their embarrassment over the President. The band was ostracized by main stream radio, labeled as un-American, and even threatened with death. Why? Because they dared to criticize authority. Our country's founding fathers are regarded as heroes for doing that. No, I think it comes down to something else: FEAR.

Fear is what fuels these decisions. Fear of the government's wrath. Fear of the media scrutiny. Fear of being labeled "un-American." Fear of losing money because of the Republican's/conservative's fake outrage. Dick Cheney says "Fuck you" on the Senate floor to another elected official and he's blowing off steam. Howard Stern and Whoopi Goldberg make the same jokes they've been making for years and it's a scandal. It's not a scandal, it's fear. People in this country are afraid to criticize the president because we are at war and it would be unpatriotic.

I call bullshit! Our country was founded on criticism and dissent. Questioning authority is what eventually made us the country we are. However, our government has us so afraid of being labeled that we will do anything to stay in their good graces. Watch the media. They grill John Edwards on his lack of experience, yet they ask Laura Bush which glamour pictures of her daughters she likes best. They question whether or not John Kerry actually earned his purple hearts, but refuse to press George W. Bush to actually release all of his military records explaining why he was suspended from flying and whether or not he actually fulfilled his required service time. Why do they do this? Fear. Fear that they will be cut off from the White House. Fear that they may not get the next big scoop. Fear that they won't be allowed to ask another pointless question at the next scripted Presidential Press Conference. Fear of Karl Rove and his pack of attack dogs.

Thomas Jefferson said: "When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny." This is tyranny. This is what we supposedly removed Saddam Hussein for. If you can't speak out against your government, then the government has total control. We can not let this continue. Our country has survived and flourished on dissent. I urge you to speak out whenever and wherever you can. Hang signs, pass out flyers, volunteer for a campaign, or just talk to people. Do not be afraid, it is almost over.

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