Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rush got "Dixie Chicked" out of the NFL

Fox Sports Radio, which has a tendency submerge itself in the political swamp of its corporate master, the GOP propaganda machine that is Fox “News,” was blathering away this morning about how the “PC police” had chased poor Rush Limbaugh (hereafter referred to as “FB,” which stands for “Fat Bastard”) out of the group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams. Right-wing whining aside (poor, poor rich white men—they don’t have any wealth or power, boo-hoo), this was an economics decision driven by political reality.

Fat Bastard got “Dixie Chicked.”

Remember a few years ago when Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines said from a concert stage in London, England, that she was ashamed that President George W. Bush and she were both from the state of Texas? Free speech, right? Well, in America, we don’t really believe in free speech for everyone. We only approve of free speech that we agree with. Everyone else needs to shut up or be forced to shut up.

In the case of the Dixie Chicks, country music stations stopped playing their songs, and inbreds everywhere crawled out from underneath their trailers to burn their Dixie Chicks CDs. Setting fire to anything we don’t like—witches, books, Muslim countries—is the American way, after all. They responded by breaking their contract with their country label, signing with a rock label and winning a bunch of Grammies. Living well really is the best revenge, it seems.

Well, FB was one of the loudest promoters of that anti-DC sentiment, so the irony here is just chocalicious, the fact that his own public statements, of which there is a long and vomitous record, has resulted in economic consequences. To be precise, St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts dropped FB from his group that is bidding to purchase the Rams because it became clear to him that FB’s presence would result in failure.

But isn’t this a result of political correctness? Absolutely not. FB is a racist, pure and simple. If you don’t think so, then you don’t know where he’s from. I’m from the same place, southeast Missouri. I grew up in a town smaller than his hometown, but it’s only 75 miles away and culturally identical. This is still, culturally speaking, the Confederacy. You still hear racist jokes targeted at African-Americans. People still use the “n-word” regularly to refer to anyone with brown skin. FB’s audience is partially composed of this remnant of the racist south, and his popularity stems from the fact that he says things on the radio that people would get fired for saying in real life. Haters love to have their hatred validated.

Now, combine this element—the central element of FB’s success, mind you, not just a few random statements taken out of context, but the whole raison d’etre of his career—and mix that into St. Louis. St. Louis is a strange place. It’s mostly liberal, but with strong pockets of radical conservatism, people for whom Dick Cheney is the ideal politician. It’s mainly segregated, with black living in the north city and county and whites in the south city and south/west county, but with pockets of multicultural tolerance.

For the average St. Louis Rams fan, FB wouldn’t have made much of a difference. But there are a lot of people in the St. Louis area, and the surrounding eastern half of the state, that would have completely abandoned the Rams had FB become even a minority (savor the irony) owner, myself included. I would have sold every scrap of Rams clothing I own, never tuned in to another broadcast, never attended another game, or done anything to contribute one thin dime to the franchise.

Now, if even 25 percent of current Rams supporters feel this way, how would this have affected the franchise? No more home game sellouts, which means local TV blackouts and loss of ad revenue. A mostly empty stadium with no hope of upgrades or improvements. With the lack of revenue, the team would surely languish at the bottom of the league, unable to sign big-name talent or lure free agents—especially African-American players—to a team owned in part by a man who said that NFL games are like gang wars without knives.

The NFL is full of controversial figures, many of whom are very conservative in their politics, some who may even refer to their own black players with the “n-word” behind closed doors. The difference is they don’t make millions of dollars pushing these ideas on the radio. If they did, the same firestorm of controversy would certainly result.

This is a free country. FB is free to say whatever he wants to say. But the rest of us are equally free to tell him that his hatred for every American who isn’t rich, white, male and conservative is something we don’t want behind our football team. But what if all this results in the Rams leaving St. Louis? As a lifetime St. Louis sports fan, I can honestly say I’d rather have no team at all than one owned by someone like him.


Mrs. Sandman said...

I love to read your posts! You are so insightful and brilliant!

Mrs. Sandman said...
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