Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Found: A Jackass in Boston

In spring of ‘09 a Boston radio host launched on-air
attacks on Mexican immigrants to the U.S. He was counting
on ratings but was met instead with a suspension. He was
subsequently reinstated by his station but with a change in tune.

I had last seen a jackass years ago in the Missouri Ozarks, and it is curious to find one now in the urban confines of Boston. Radio host Jay Severin’s lawyer might like to sue you just for reading this, but he’s busy defending his nut-case client for being less than a Shakespeare or Cicero–you know, someone with great thoughts and the words to go with them.

Severin’s verbal assault on people from Mexico is egregious, but his attorney was of a mind that his suspension would be brief once he and the station “put (this) past us”–as in, yell “Fire!” in a theater, call it free speech and put it all behind you.

News reports call Severin a “right-winger,” but we already guessed that. He doesn’t blame England for Mad Cow disease but he faults Mexico for swine flu. Surely someone like Lou Dobbs would have fallen all over himself to get Jay on his program and they could have sung a duet of, “Go Back to El Rancho Grande.” When Lester Maddox, the Georgia governor who had said AIDS was God’s judgment on gays, thought he got a dose of it from a hospital injection, it made him somewhat of a kinder, gentler person, but it is yet to be determined what it will take to sweeten the bilious temperaments of Dobbs and Severin.

In radio, a big mouth plus a microphone equals success, and the intellectually challenged, of whom there are a frightful number in the world these days, will pass up their mothers’ funerals to tune in. The world is a mystifying place to them, and if they feel they understand what a numbskull is saying, they think he’s brilliant. Larry King showcases several at a time on CNN and in seconds you know that nine in ten, mentally speaking, are two bricks shy of a load. If politics is show business for ugly people, so is radio for the errant mouths of moral defectives.

Hispanics are the last line of defense against the bottom-feeding right wing. Society is more careful these days what it says about blacks, women, and gays: such intolerance can cost ratings and one’s job–as Don Imus found with his two-fer comments on black women athletes, and Anita Bryant’s gay-bashing ended both her marriage and career. In their infinite wisdom, social bullies have turned now to hispanics as those next most vulnerable.

This goes way back to when Mexico honored “immigrant” requests to buy land cheap in their country’s north region, only to have those white “migrants” become a majority and create the state of Texas–who then, as Texans say, “stole the land, fair an’ square”–all accomplished with the obligatory blood-letting.

Jefferson hadn’t been much help: his lovin’ feelings for Sally Hemmings led him to a belief in the intelligence of Africans, which didn’t extend to Caribbeans or South Americans but, after all, he wasn’t shagging a Mexican girl. It’s misleading that those from south of the border are more typically small of stature, since changes in parentage and culture are fast remolding them, as it has others.

My father was Mexican but married into a family of rangy Kentuckians whose genetics rubbed off on me. I didn’t have to put up with the Jay Severins of this world because they knew I could take care of myself; they are, at last, cowards looking for the easy skirmish, and Mexicans are wrongly so viewed; their reticence to retaliate is due to being newcomers here or, yep, necessarily undocumented and can risk deportation.

We don’t want a wealthy, powerful nation next to us, but unlike Japan and West Germany, whose strength we needed against post-war communism, we begrudge Mexico our real partnership and support, regardless that we grabbed over half their country in our own imperialistic moments.

I don’t know Severin’s racial or cultural heritage; that’s beside the point, but he lacks the respect of intelligent persons because he doesn’t earn it. But he isn’t alone–there are too many people who have listened to and defended him.

The radio station, WTKK, says he’s suspended “indefinitely” but we’ll feel better when that changes to “permanent”. After all, it was on that station’s watch that he called Mexicans the “lowest of primitives” who export VD. They should keep in mind that the station’s call letters lend themselves to an extra “K”–and that’s the last thing they would want the city’s wags and comedians to pick up on.

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