Context is all, especially in media, unless you're a liberal intent on smearing the most prominent voice in radio who also happens to be conservative. At that point, context becomes an inconvenience quickly to be jettisoned.
Two days before Christmas, Rush Limbaugh was talking about the leaked Sony emails when he said something that proceeded to make news during the traditionally slow news drought of the holidays.
After referring to a specific email from Sony co-chair Amy Pascal suggesting that black British actor Idris Elba portray James Bond after actor Daniel Craig's contract playing the super-spy ends, Limbaugh dismissed the suggestion by pointing out that Bond was "white and Scottish, period."
Given the faux outrage to follow, you'd think Limbaugh lit up a huge cross at the entrance to Sony studios.
On his radio show yesterday, Limbaugh played audio clips of media reaction of his remarks and pointed out what critics neglected to mention that he also said --
The totality of what I said was, why do we want to blur these lines? James Bond is a fictional character created by a real man, Ian Fleming. He's white, he's Scottish, he wasn't black, and then I furthermore said, let's look at it the other way around. Let's say some Hollywood bigwig wants to do a biography movie, the life and times of Barack Obama, and cast Mel Gibson. What do you think the reaction to that would be? And playing Michelle My Belle Obama would be Gwyneth Paltrow. What do you think the reaction would be? And I said to Snerdly (Limbaugh's call screener), I don't want to play these sound (bites) because all it is is the media calling me a racist and I said, frankly, Mr. Snerdly, my audience is tired of me being called a racist. They know I'm not one and they hate it and they're not amused by it. He said that's true but there's a life lesson ... not a life lesson, but there's an object lesson in this.
After playing clips of criticism directed against him, Limbaugh said this --
Is it racist to suggest that James Bond is a white character created by Ian Fleming? It's not racist to suggest it. We're so far off the beaten, we can't even talk about it. Eric Holder runs around, we don't have any courage in this country, we're a bunch of cowards afraid to talk about race. I'm not, despite what happens to me when I do. But there's no racism intended here. I have no bias whatever against Idris Elba. In fact, I think he's a great actor. It isn't even about him. This is about this gal Amy Pascal who thinks that Idris Elba would be a great James Bond and we know why she says this, she's trying to buy off Al Sharpton, she's trying to buy off any of the other hustlers because she's in problems, in trouble because of the Sony leak. But it is not racist to make an observation like this.
Holder's "nation of cowards" criticism of Americans as too timid to talk about race clearly doesn't extend to Limbaugh. But Holder's claim does warrant an asterisk -- any observations about race from conservatives are automatically deemed racist. Left wingers loathe property rights, but they long ago staked a proprietary claim to "dialogue" on race. Conservatives who cross this line will be promptly branded with a prominent scarlet R --
These people, I guarantee you, none of them knew the entirety of what I said because not one of these people actually ever heard me say this. They all heard this or probably read it from one place. They are the last thing that you would associate with being reporters. They're not curious, they're not interested in the truth, they are the ones looking for easy comments. They're the ones looking for easy controversy, by invoking me. They're the lazy ones! They're the ones trying to get noticed. And I had 47 seconds here and every damn one of these people had the same comment. They're no uniqueness, no originality in these people, they're just a bunch of followers. I simply asked an associated question -- would it be accepted if the movie of the life and times of Barack Obama was cast, pick your white guy, Mel Gibson because he's universally reviled in Hollywood right now just to tweak 'em (Limbaugh alluding to his suggestion earlier in the show of Gibson cast to play Obama), but pick anybody, pick any white actor, pick .... Clooney! (George) Clooney would be honored by the way to do it. Pick Clooney. Do you think that the Al Sharptons of the world would sit idly by and applaud it?
Undoubtedly not it's safe to say. But isn't Limbaugh muddying the waters by suggesting that outrage would ensue if white actors were cast to portray historical figures who were black, such as Obama and Mandela, whereas Bond is a fictional character, so what difference does it make?
Apparently it meant a great deal in 1990, Limbaugh pointed out, when the Actors' Equity union initially refused to allow white actor Jonathan Pryce to portray a fictional Eurasian pimp in "Miss Saigon" on Broadway, as Pryce already had in London. (audio) . The union quickly backed down and reversed its decision.
Does anyone actually believe that Americans have become less politically correct since then?