Wednesday, April 9, 2014

An update on the Nugent concert controversy

Every once in a while I reproduce on this blog comments that I submit to Galveston County Daily News, for the benefit of those who don't have a subscription (it's a paywalled newspaper, although a while back, a reader pointed out to me that non-subscribers can sometimes access comments even if the news articles themselves are blocked).  That's what I'm going to do below, but first let me orient you on the topic.

TJ Aulds did a good job of writing a summary of where we are with respect to the upcoming Ted Nugent concert in League City, which is scheduled for April 12.  If you haven't been following this controversy, basically what's happened so far is that the City of League City contributed about $20,000 of our taxpayer bucks to help bring Nugent to League City in order to give a concert that will raise funds for a social services organization to build a home for a disabled military veteran.

On February 21, 2014, I published an editorial in which I systematically described why I personally believe that Nugent's recent "sub-human mongrel" comment was racist, and why I think that's important within the context of League City's involvement with him.
Here is an excerpt from that deconstruction.  
In that same editorial, I also advocated for a peaceful public protest during the concert.  But what has transpired in terms of a planned protest is not at all what I envisioned on February 21, which prompted me to re-address this situation today.  For your consideration, here are the comments that I submitted to GCDN.

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This [TJ's article] is a well-written piece - I'm especially glad that the City of Longview's decision [to cancel a scheduled Nugent concert at their own financial peril] was described here. I wish that the City of League City had the courage to take a similar stand. When a guy like Nugent makes racist comments such as "sub-human mongrel" and then a city like LC declines to impose any consequences in response, it reinforces and validates his belief that he's justified in saying things like that. Longview let him know that he crossed the line, whereas League City has done its part to further embolden him, to the tune of twenty thousand bucks and a blind eye turned.

And the citizens of League City share in the responsibility for this situation. I believe that Cobarruvias was the first local blogger to alert to the fact that a protest is planned for the League City concert, which is fast approaching. Neither of us know much about the group which is planning the protest, but from an examination of internet content, the group does not appear to represent a mainstream social position. For crying out loud, at what point in our history did protesting racism and sexism become a "non-mainstream" pursuit?! In my day, "mainstream" college and high school kids would have rallied around a thing like this, social justice being the purview of youth. But maybe these days they're too distracted by Angry Birds and watching Netflix at artificially-depressed streaming speeds to notice what's going on around them.

Just to add insult to injury, it's a terrible lesson we're collectively teaching those same apathetic young people with this event - follow the money irrespective of any other factor. No doubt part of the reason why there's so little local protest is that people are figuring, "Oh, well, a veteran is getting a house out of this, so it's a wash." Sure, but that same goal could be achieved *without* prostituting ourselves to the kind of ideology that Nugent actively promotes. The City of Longview figured out that its citizens could achieve their social goals without his ideology, even if they had to pay to get rid of him. Pity we can't do the same.

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