Saturday, April 07, 2007
Coming Up Rosie
Rosie O'Donnell is at it again. Having remade herself as a lightning rod for controversy, the former comedienne and current panelist on The View has reached new levels of pissing people off with her latest comments regarding the U.S. Government and, more specifically, 9/11.
Rosie, whose presence has energized (and not insignificantly) increased the ratings for The View, has never been afraid to speak her opinion. For that, she should be applauded. Whether or not one agrees with her is not the point - in a free society she has the right to say anything. Free speech is a privilege, and while there are some boundaries (yelling "fire!" in a crowded theatre comes to mind), saying things which might be considered as daffy by some should not be one of them.
Her latest "incendiary" rants concern 9/11. It seems as if she has been reading the plethora of blogs/sites which question the official version of what took pace on that fateful day. Specifically, she questioned the demise of WTC 7, a building near the towers which was not hit by any aircraft but nevertheless collapsed at free fall speed. She is certainly not the first famous person to question this (Charlie Sheen was widely mocked last year for like minded comments), but she is the most prominent. While not directly implicating the US, she continued on a "I do not trust nor believe anything this administration tells me" rant. Again, nothing that hasn't already been stated by others.
The question is not whether or not she has her facts straight - again, the constitution guarantees one the right to speak whether the facts are correct or not. She is simply asking some tough questions about what happened. Many people are determined to accept what occurred and move on. Google "9/11 conspiracy" and see how many others are equally determined to prove or find evidence that what took place was not as it seemed. Is there any validity to the questions? I don't know - I've done some poking around the net myself and found folks on both sides of the fence equally passionate about and confident of their view on the topic. Any event, when looked upon with intense scrutiny, will begin to reveal some anomalies.
I love a good conspiracy, believe me, but this one is tough to swallow. I'm not 100% convinced that everything is as it seemed, but I'm hesitant to explain it all away as a massive conspiracy.
Why, then, the angry response by some? I can understand that many people do not agree with Rosie O'Donnell, a dyed in the wool liberal if ever there was one. That's fine, we live in an allegedly free society where disagreement and dissent should not only be tolerated, but encouraged. The response of those commentators with personal attacks is simply way off base to me. I can disagree all day with folks like Bill O'Reilly (and often do), but I would disagree with the merits of his commentary, and try like hell not to resort to name calling ("Loofah Boy" comes to mind). The common complaint is that questioning 9/11 somehow is insensitive to the feelings of the families of the victims. On the contrary, if someone is of the mindset they are searching for the truth, how can that do any disservice to the victims? If anything, it is coming from a place of profound reverence and respect for said victims. Additionally, there are many families who have publicly expressed their displeasure with the 9/11 Commission report in particular and the Bush administration in general for their actions regarding 9/11, so the blowhards contention holds little water. Where was this outrage when Conservative commentator Ann Coulter publicly called out a group of 9/11 widows to "shut up and get over it"? Didn't hear a peep from Hannity, O'Reilly, et al then, did we?
Then the angry response is directed towards Barbara Walters, executive producer of The View. She has lost all of her journalistic credibility now, they wail. I point out that she has always been more focused on the entertainment end all along, what with her soft focus personal interviews with stars and inane "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" questions. She is no dummy, and knew that installing Rosie in the seat vacated by Meredith Viera would be just the kick in the pants the show needed to regain its relevance. Fire Rosie for her comments? Hell no, this should result in a raise! Is allowing O'Donnell to pontificate on this topic "irresponsible"? I don't think so, not when there are others at the same table who question her comments on the spot.
Democracy and free speech are not subjected to double standards. People will say things every day with which we do not agree. That doesn't mean we need to silence them. America gives one the right to make a fool of oneself. When the responses are angry, as opposed to simply dismissive, they look foolish by comparison.
An important lesson to learn, liberals, the next time Coulter says something completely off the rails, which should happen any day now.