Tag Archives: imus

Don Imus and JL Kirk

tdaxp, D. 2007. Why is it that if I refer to Irish as provo coal-crackers…. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. April 14, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/04/the_best_analysis_on_imus.html#comment-18335.

Weeks, C.G. 2007. I’ve been pondering the differences between the two approaches. tdaxp. April 16, 2007. Available online: http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/04/12/j-l-kirk-associates-not-a-better-business.html#c1539569

Weeks, C.G. 2007. I wonder if the garish offense is not JLK’s business practices in general…. tdaxp. April 16, 2007. Available online: http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/04/13/the-real-time-consequences-of-the-jl-kirk-associates-kirking.html#c1539382.

Recently, my blogging energies have been consumed by two scandals, Don Imus’s “nappy headed hos” remark and JL Kirk Associates’ threat of a lawsuit. Both cases show visceral reactions against relatively week targets (an MSNBC/radio host and a Tennessean employment agency) by groups known for political activism — blacks and bloggers. Yet Jews were silent when Don Imus called guests pointed-headed Jews, and most of the thousands of companies involved in lawsuits don’t raise a hue and cry. So what’s going on here?

The Don Imus of the Blogosphere?

Simple: outrage is a product of perceived group powerlessness and a perceived attack on the group. In the case of Don Imus, “blacks” correctly perceived their political weakness and then perceived an attack on black-ness. In the case of JL Kirk, “bloggers” correctly perceived their political weakness and then perceived an attack on blogger-ness. As Curtis says:

Not only might this describe Coble’s sense of outrage at what she perceived to be a hostile interview; but more to the point, it may explain the blogger response to the threatened lawsuit. To the degree that many bloggers may feel generally powerless in their lives — and, perhaps, also before the law of the land as adjudicated within the courts — such a lawsuit as threatened by JLK creates a backlash and outrage.

And likewise, Don Imus and JL Kirk were targets of outrage, instead of evildoers who actually mattered, because blacks and bloggers are too weak to cause substantive change. So instead, they go after symbolic targets like a cranky radio host and a litigious company:

Again, as Curtis says:

Her one post may have had more effect against JLK than a single post might have against a Microsoft or Google or Ford Motor Company that operates globally.

Both bloggers are blacks are in weak political positions. Bloggers are subject to violent, litigious assaults by corporations and do not have the resources to strike back. At best,
they can go bankrupt defending themselves from rich predators or swarm their opponents.
Likewise, widely visible black culture has transitioned from slavery to serfdom to female-farming society (arguably a lateral transmigration).

As I wrote on Tom Barnett’s blog:

Outrage is not a function of validity of argument. Outrage is a function of powerlessness, a function of Olive Treeism, a function of life in the Gap.

Because of many factors for blacks, and because of our judicial system for bloggers, too many blacks and too many bloggers experience Gap-like conditions even within the United States.

As we move into the medium a generation or two, we can expect less outrages from bloggers but probably an equiavelent number from “African-Americans.” The reason is that “African-Americans” — those blacks who are descendents from slavery in the southern United States — are considered wards of the state. So like the Lakota Indians before them, the federal government contiually makes their lot worse while trying to make it better. Bloggers, on the other hands, are ignored by the government. They exist in a state of benight neglect.

America’s Non-Integrating Gap

Chirol of Coming Anarchy has done great work on domestic application of the work of Thomas P.M. Barnett (“Pentagon’s New Map (PNM) Theory”). In three now-famous posts

Barnett himself (commenting on an excellent article in Reason) note that caboose breaking, “voting more populist candidates into office in democracies (e.g., India’s Congress Party) to political unrest and violent protest in authoritarian states,” “is basically when politicians/leaders realize and fear/anticipate/respond to unrest from disconnected populations.”

An early American attempt at caboose-breaking the country’s Gap was the Great Society, succeeding in driving up Gap unemployment and fatherlessness to record highs. Another attempt, affirmative action, was nearly a textbook case of how to teach racial resentment and divisiveness.

Now that another wave of agitprop is subsiding – a failed lynching in North Carolina and a “high-techone on the air. – one might except a second wave of this. Obvious possibilities might include zero-sum transfers of wealth, property, and position (a Jackson / Sharpton plan). However, considering that the most popular black candidate yet produced in America is the descendant of slave-owners but not American slaves, the political possibility of that seems unlikely. Another, different, take woudl be attempt to overload America’s gap with feedback in the hope of forcing a deeper change. Yet inciting riots is dangerous, and not the risk.

That takes us to the most obvious form of Gap-shrinking that can be expected in the near-future in America: nothing. Those who power makes them important feel outrage must less than those who are powerless, and thus little can be gained from Imus or Mangum agitprop. Life will continue, with those in America’s core living good lives, and those in America’s gap not.