Savage Beasts

Savage Beasts

To the right of Rush Limbaugh on the prison torture issue, there was Michael Savage, who advocated increasing prison torture and sticking lit dynamite in the anuses of Arab detainees. (Savage May 10-11, 2004)

I found a similarly racist clip from a morning show on NBS called Imus in the Morning, which was showing pictures of Palestinians mourning the death of Yassir Arafat. One of the voice-overs from the Imus show was calling the Palestinians “animals” and was advocating dropping “the bomb” on them and killing everyone. The other co-hosts laughed along with this idea. A week later, they played a clip of someone pretending to be General Patton, speaking about a real event in which an embedded reporter had just filmed footage of a US Marine shooting an injured, unarmed Iraqi insurgent. “Patton” used the term “raghead,” and the phrase “bearded fatwa fairy.” (Imus in the Morning) Imus’ racism was thus clearly linked to his homophobia. During the Arafat sequence,, one of the male voices said something about the “fat pig wife of [Arafat] living in Paris.” Another commentator, noting the emotion of the Palestinians said, “It’s like the worst Woodstock.” Hippies are liberals are feminists are Palestinians are ragheads are gay are women are Iraqis are French. Alien others are thus interchangeable. Every group is standing in for every other group. And while they laughed, one of the commentators kept repeating “animals” and “kill them all.”

As I worked on the piece, I became discouraged. NBC was forced to apologize for the content of the Imus show (“MSNBC apologized for racist commentary on Imus”), but the piece only reminded me of the left’s failure to turn torture into a mainstream issue. I decided that offensive statements about the desirability of torture were not enough to support the piece, as clearly, not enough people would care. Also, “here’s a guy saying something offensive” seemed too weak to carry a piece.

I decided to focus on the laughter. I looped the laughing track and played violent phrases from Imus and Savage on top. Thus the Imus men laugh hysterically at themselves and at Savage. The entertainment value of genocide, violence and torture is thus highlighted.