Where does one go to see vapidity posing as intellectualism? One answer: A Matt Lauer interview.
There is something slightly stomach-turning about watching Matt Lauer and the national media spend multiple news cycles on a celebrity chef who said the word ‘nigger’ 30 years ago, in private to her husband, after a man stuck a gun to her temple during a bank heist. As the NSA gleans data on millions of innocent Americans in real time, Matt Lauer crosses his legs, puts his smart glasses on and gets serious about a word that was said decades ago by a woman who does things with butter. NSA bureaucrats and the politicians who would rather talk about race than surveillance programs are laughing their heads off.
An excerpt from the infallible Matt Lauer’s interview with Paula Deen includes:
Matt Lauer: Are you here to stop the financial bleeding? … I’ll ask it to you bluntly: Are you a racist?
Paula Deen: No. No, I’m not. …
Matt Lauer: By birth, by choice, by osmosis — you don’t feel as though you have racist tendencies? … You raised your right hand, you swore under oath that you have used a word that is the most offensive word you can use to describe an African American. And you’ve talked about this wedding, this wedding you wanted to plan — that plantation-style wedding — whether you used the N-word or not. How does someone use the N-word in a joke or in private and not be considered a racist?
I will answer that question for Matt. Here is what I said concerning “N-word” hysteria:
When you give words more power than they deserve, they will always be readily available weapons — and desperate, dumb or scared people will use them. This is the end-result of political correctness. When the word ‘nigger’ is so scary to people that it is unacceptable to utter under any circumstance (we actually have people who think censoring Mark Twain is a good idea) it takes on a life of its own. …
Speech always wants to be free, even if it’s ugly. When you try and lock a word away it ferments into something uglier and more potent than it would ever be if left to its own devices. I do not condone the words of either of these individuals, but I do think that political correctness serves as a steroid for the stupid-centers of our brains.
Paula Deen had a weapon stuck to her head by a bad man, and she had … nothing. After the fact, the most powerful “weapon” she had against a black man was the use of the word ‘nigger.’ Why? Because men like Matt Lauer have given it so much power that it can’t be uttered. Ever. In any context. And if it is said, people like him incredulously ask: “How does someone use the N-word in a joke or in private and not be considered a racist?”
Years ago I was a substitute teacher while saving money for graduate school. I was subbing for an English class, which was reading Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men.’ As students took turns reading out loud they would awkwardly pause over the word ‘nigger’ for seconds at a time. Meanwhile, everyone giggled. Finally, I said, “Listen, we’re all adults. Just read the word because the pauses are ridiculous.” One student replied that the teacher said “only racist people use that word.” My response was that it was a fictional book with fictional characters, and that merely reading a word does not make someone a racist. The next day the teacher found out I dared to let them read “the N-word” out loud and had a “talk” with me. When I defended my decision she said: “That’s not something we do around here.” I was never asked to sub for her class again. Which one of us should have been in charge of guiding and shaping young minds? You tell me.
Have I ever called someone a ‘nigger’ in my life? No. That’s because I understand that stupidity does not discriminate. There are mean dumb people from all walks of life and of all colors. There are also incredibly uplifting intelligent men and women of all colors. Regardless, I also know that a person who sincerely repents for their sins deserves a shot at redemption. It is disgusting to watch people gleefully pile on as a woman’s life’s work crumbles before her very eyes over the course of a few days. Over what? Crude jokes, a simulated sex act with a chocolate eclair and the single utterance of a repugnant word.
America’s history with slavery will always be long and ugly scar on a body that is, overall, an impressive piece of work. Today, its problem isn’t so much its past, but those who use any opportunity to open up old wounds and prevent us from collectively moving forward. If Matt Lauer spent half as much time grilling elected officials as he does doing puff pieces and superfluous “scandal” segments, the world would be a better place.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll listen to James Brown. He says more in ‘America is My Home’ in three minutes and twenty-five seconds than Matt Lauer has said in three years.