Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Bill Mahr and Rev. Jeremiah Wright Have in Common

Don't laugh but last night as I was watching "Real Time" with Bill Mahr I realized that he and Rev. Jeremiah Wright have a great deal in common.
  • They both have a huge audience

  • They both make controversial statements and,

  • people who listen to them faithfully don't always agree with their comments
I was also reminded of why I'm really glad that I'm not Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or, for that matter, any candidate running for public office.

You see I watch Real Time with Bill Mahr every Friday evening and I manage to sit through the sexist jokes, the religion bashing and even his disdain for anyone who still dares to consume meat. And despite all of the comments with which I disagree and the jokes that I think are simply mean-spirited, this Christian woman finds that "Real Time" offers some of the best social and political commentary on television. And yes, most of the time, Bill Mahr is just plain funny.

Does this make me a hypocrite? Or, I am just "filtering" out the messages that are not in agreement with my personal value system.

In a recent article for Political Voices of Women, Penny Ronning started me thinking about the "personal filtration systems" that we all use to decide how to integrate what we hear into what we believe.

In her post Penny stated, "Listening to Barack Obama's speech in response to specific messages of racially charged anger delivered from his church's pulpit by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, I wondered what kind of personal filtration system Barack had in place all those years Jeremiah Wright was his pastor".

It's probably the same personal filtration system that I use in facing the world.

I stopped watching the show "24" two seasons ago because I thought that it glorified torture. I don't shop at Walmart because of its treatment of employees and its impact on local small businesses. I don't wear real fur. And I once left a church because I disagreed with the pastor's teachings.

But I still watch "Real Time". I'm sure that if I was running for public office I would have to explain why I watch Real Time if I disagree with Mahr's comments about women and religion.

Of course Bill Mahr is a comedian and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a religious leader and Bill Mahr isn't an advisor to a political candidate (hmm) but questionable comments are questionable comments, aren't they? Should we find out which candidates are listening to Bill Mahr and not disavowing his comments about women and religion? Of course not.

So why, during this presidential primary campaign, have both of the Democratic candidates been asked to denounce or disavow every questionable comment made by their associates on the subject of race while the GOP candidates have basically gotten a pass?

Is this some form of new, "are you a racist" test for Democrats only?

In the following video clip Bill Mahr and Tavis Smiley discuss just this:

Maybe this entire "Jeremiah Wright controversy" was just what America needed. Maybe we all need to look at our personal filtration systems.

What do you filter out and what do you take in?

1 comment:

  1. Pam, interesting comparison and analysis. I agree that we all need to do a lot of filtering out.

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