Bozell Column: Ingraham vs. Cultural Blight
Laura Ingraham calls her newest book "Of Thee I Zing" a “comedic intervention” on the sorry state of our popular culture. It begins with a declaration of independence from the moral soup in which we swim: “When in a coarse state of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the bonds between themselves and the cultural blight degrading the Republic...they should declare the causes that impel their separation.”
Ingraham's willingness to mix it up on the culture is refreshing and was apparent during her book interview on NBC's “Today,” where she underlined to Matt Lauer that Today's "own" Summer Concert Series included vile artists like woman-battering singer Chris Brown and F-bomb-dropping “artists” Enrique Iglesias and Cee-Lo. How big are these cultural icons? Ingraham and her collaborator on the book, Catholic TV journalist Raymond Arroyo, were amazed at what they thought must be the new homelessness on the streets of New York, but then realized people were camping out two nights early to acquire a choice spot to witness Chris Brown perform on NBC.
Brown is vile. His "music" includes usage of all the mandatory filthy language along with the N word, which vile "musicians" like Brown can use with impunity. There is also the perfunctory misogyny in some of his top songs like “Look at Me Now.” Here’s a little sampler, which requires a lot of bleeping: “Lil n---a bigger than gorilla / ‘Cause I’m killing every n---a that try to be on my s--- / Better cuff your chick if you with her, I can get her / And she accidentally slip and fall on my d--k.”
“Better cuff your chick?” Does he mean put your woman in handcuffs, or “cuff” her as in beat her? The website Urban Dictionary suggests it means “For females: that man in your life that knows how to hold you down.” Brown should know. He confessed in 2009 to physically beating his girlfriend, the pop star Rihanna. And yet, Ingraham lamented, pop stars like this are adored by crowds and honored like royalty by the TV networks.
Ingraham also singled out Enrique Iglesias, the son of Spanish singer Julio Iglesias. She notes the father registered a monster hit with “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” which wasn’t exactly an ode to monogamy. The son has now updated the message in today's culture with a song called “Tonight I’m F---ing You.” The lyrics are completely oxymoronic: “Please excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but tonight I’m f---ing you.” If a man said that to a new female acquaintance, she might have to call the police, or at least a couple of older brothers.
Pop stars are more revered in our culture than God. There’s a chapter in the book on religion titled “Eat, Pray...Just Keep God Out of It.” Ingraham reports a 2009 survey from LifeWay Christian Resources found 72 percent of the “millennial” generation described themselves in a poll as “more spiritual than religious.” Ingraham mourns, “Either Oprah Winfrey has a lot of fans or these people have a commitment problem. It’s like telling a spouse ‘I love you, but I’m not passionate.’ Odds are, they really don’t love you that much.”
“Spiritual but not religious” even defines a website called SBNR.org, which claims as its catchphrase “All religions contain some wisdom, but no religion contains all wisdom.” God is what you say He is. In fact, who cares who God is? The focus isn’t so much on God as the face in the mirror. Another motto on their home page: “Love is the answer. You are the question.” Ingraham thinks SBNR should stand for “spiritual, but not really.”
It's not just anti-religion, it's full-fledged anti-religious bigotry. Ingraham recalls how the secular crowd saves its anti-Christian outrages for Holy Week, just to give Easter some added heartburn. On this past Good Friday, Oprah invited author James Frey to discuss his new book “The Final Testament of Holy Bible,” a novel in which Jesus is a recovering alcoholic in a dirty Bronx apartment “who impregnates prostitutes for kicks.”
All this “zinging” has a deeper meaning: to bring some sobriety and focus to the point of raising children in a world that doesn’t want to grow up. The culture-curdlers won’t give up without a fight. Chris Brown and his fans have piled on the insults on Ingraham’s Twitter account, including Brown sticking to his usual vocabulary: “the haters look just as old as F**k!” Twitter was just another forum for his vandalism, another wall for ignorant graffiti.
For this “artist,” it was just another day, another barrage of verbal assault and battery – which hurts a lot less than the beating Brown gave Rihanna.