The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Bob and The Showgram Off the Air



Freedom of speech is at the heart of the triangle's biggest topic today: The suspension of the popular crew of G-105's morning radio show “Bob and the Showgram”. I heard the Public Service Announcement style apology on the radio this morning and was immediately in a state of panic. Did they take Bob off the air? I rushed home to scour the Internet for the story and found it on newsobserver.com. A recent 15 minute humorous conversation by Bob and his co-hosts about the Lumbee Indians being “lazy” has stirred up a very passionate response from the area's Native American community. They feel that Bob and his crew should be taken off the air permanently for their racist comments. In order to appease the angry crowd, the producers suspended the Showgram crew until Monday without pay.

I think that it's ridiculous that Bob has been suspended over this. I listen to his show several times a week, and he is always making jokes directed at stereotypes. Rednecks. Blacks. Rich girls. Fat people. The list goes on. And it's FUNNY! If I wanted to listen to a watered-down, very unfunny, politically correct morning show, I would tune into easy listening or something, but the truth is, I tune into G-105 because they make me laugh. If everyone took him seriously and got offended at every crazy thing that came out of his mouth, he would not still be on the air. Instead, most people realize that he's just joking around, which is proven by the fact that he's got the number 1 morning radio show in the area.

Freedom of speech is the bigger topic here I think, and it's a tricky one. Yes, he has the right to express his opinions and to make fun of whatever the hell he wants to. On the other hand, he only has the ability to do it on the radio if the people that employ him let him do it. You're kidding yourselves if you think that those owners and producers give a shit about the feelings of the Lumbee Indians. All they care about is ratings and money, and who can blame them since they are trying to run a business? That's why they haven't fired the Showgram crew. They simply gave them a slap on the wrist to show that they “care” about the hurt feelings. The truth is, though, that even bad publicity is still publicity, and come Monday, the show will probably have a renewed listener base because people will either want to show their support or see what he'll say next.

Thankfully, we live in a country where you can believe and express whatever you want, and no one can stop you from it. Each and every one of us has the right to our own opinions. Maybe we all don't get to host our own radio show, but if enough people loved what you had to say, you might just get that job. My mother used to say to me “You can't please everyone.” I consider this one of the best lessons she ever taught me. Everyone might not like what Bob has to say or think his jokes are funny. Some people are going to get pissed off, while others are going to laugh their tushies off. If they fire him, 100 Indians might feel they got justice, but thousands of listeners would be angry and feel robbed of their morning giggles. You can't please everyone.

Another topic of conversation surrounding this event has been that unspoken rule in America that says you can only make fun of your own race or other people just like you. Have you noticed that? Blacks can call each other the dreaded “N” word, and Chris Rock can joke all day about Church's chicken. Chinese people can get together and laugh about their slanted eyes, and even Lesbians can make fun of themselves. But the second a straight guy makes a joke about a lesbian or a gay man, you better watch out! Now, there do seem to be some exceptions to the rules. Men can make fun of women and that “time of the month.” Women can make fun of men and their wife-beater t-shirts or their beer guts. Black guys can even laugh at white men that can't dance or play basketball. All of these comments are made in a joking fashion, though, in the name of comedy. The tone behind it is what matters.

One reader on triangle.com actually compared Bob's comments to Hitler. “This kind of behavior is like burning crosses and wearing hoods. It is like drawing swastikas on doors.” Are you seriously going to compare harmless comments made in a spirit of humor with the murder of millions of Jews and the horrible racism associated with the KKK? Get over yourself! You just have to look at the meaning and tone behind those things to see the difference. No one was killed or beaten. Okay, so maybe some feelings were hurt, but get over it. Stop taking yourselves so seriously or change the station and let the rest of us enjoy our morning dose of Bob and the Showgram.

4 comments:

Anonymous June 9, 2008 at 7:25 AM  

Hate speech should not be protected under free speech. And Bob Dumas is a dumbass and a racist.

Sweetie June 9, 2008 at 9:02 AM  

I think you are missing the point of most comedy. You show more hate in your words than he ever does in his comedy.

Anonymous July 3, 2008 at 11:18 AM  

Are you honestly going to say that having an all-White cast that makes disparaging comments about an individual's or group's race or ethnicity (or gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) on a radio station that reaches more than a million people is harmless? Believe it or not, there are a lot of people that listen to this show because they whole-heartedly agree with those comments, and that's what makes the show humorous to those fans. Calling someone a dumbass for their actions is a slap against that person's decision-making ability and their discretion (or lack thereof) - not an indictment of an entire group of people that have been historically (and legally for hundreds of years) discriminated against.

The fact that Bob Dumas actually does wield influence over the minds of the more simple-minded listeners of his show because of his career and the reach of his voice and ideas gives him the power to spread either positivity or negativity. He chooses to spread negativity in the form of stereotype humor, and not even in a creative way. It's reminiscent of those "Truly Tasteless Jokes" books that were popular in the 80s, except due to technology over a million people could hear it live and now they can play it back at their leisure due to their being snippets of it on the Internet - that type of reach eclipses the reach of Hitler! All of this qualifies Bob to be considered a racist by the mere definition of the word.

So your comment about the other post being filled with more hate is inaccurate and has no basis. I'm the last person to jump on the protest bandwagon for every off-color joke that is told, but damn - when you are in such a position of influence, it is your responsibility to behave appropriately particularly when you are on the air. Bob represents Clear Channel when he's on the air, and the advertisers. Money talks, bullshit walks, and eventually his antics will have him pulling on his boots and taking a stroll to the unemployment line or at least to a smaller, less diverse market. As an entertainment personality myself, I find it sad and pathetic that anyone has to make their 6-figure living perpetuating a stereotype (calling himself a "redneck") that spews stereotypes against others. Such work requires virtually no creativity, no personality, and profits on the ignorance of others. Truly pathetic! But as long as you, and other like-minded listeners continue to turn a deaf ear and act like everything that's said is in good clean wholesome fun, then Bob and his crew are here to stay.

I challenge you, as a listener of his show, to evaluate your own cultural awareness and sensitivity. Would you find all of these jokes funny if you found out tomorrow that your great-grandmother was Native American or African American and grew up Down East? And that she had a heart attack and died after seeing her husband murdered by the local "police" and their home burned to the ground all because her husband refused to be treated any less than any other American man? And the tragic death of those two family elders led your grandfather to be raised in an orphanage and eventually on the streets, having to pull himself up as best as he could after losing ancestral property and the wealth his parents had accumulated? I highly doubt you would have the same perspective on his so-called humor. As a matter of fact, I suggest that your entire perspective on life would be completely different, even though you would be only 1/16 African American or Native American. I've heard dozens of similar accounts from friends and colleagues that are native North Carolinians, so don't be so naive as to believe that such hateful ideologies that Bob and the Showgram show spread are something of some long-forgotten past that does not impact people to this day. And the people that I know that are the descendants in these situations are all under 35 years old, and those that have children, their children know what happened to their ancestors less than 100 years ago.

If anything, you are the one missing the point of most comedy. Comedy is to make you laugh, not humiliate someone that does not have the opportunity to respond or defend themselves. I guess picking on overweight children and cancer patients is funny too then right? Good comedy does not have to resort to mocking others based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc. in order to make people laugh; that type of comedy alienates others, therefore being ultimately funny too less people than it could have been. It's actually wiser and more profitable to make as many people laugh as possible when you are in the entertainment business and use comedy to drive your income. With that said, there is a reason why Bob says the things that he says, and that so many people actually do listen to him. It's because either a) it's how he feels and he doesn't give a damn if it hurts or damages others, or b) he doesn't see anything wrong with it because "everyone else" finds it funny, so they must agree with it, So if you choose to continue to think that this sort of humor is funny, even after assessing yourself and how such "comedy" can influence people to act in subtle and overtly racist ways towards others, then take comfort in the fact that you have the privilege of not belonging to a group that is to be continuously bombarded with hate speech even in 2008. I hope that instead you will acknowledge that more than feelings are hurt when such comments are broadcast to the masses; that people are influenced - either consciously or subconsciously - and that as result others are treated differently because of someone else's opinion and not because of who they are. If you really do enjoy the show, as I know the entire show isn't based on that type of humor, I hope that you do draw the line at certain types of "humor" and that YOU change the station during that time. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the comment was correct - hate speech should not be protected under free speech. I'm more for free speech then most people are...if the KKK wants to come out and say something atrocious, that's fine - you know why? Because they are the KKK - we already know what they think and whether or not they should be taken seriously or not! It's the subtle racist commentary that doesn't say kill anyone but makes you judge someone because of their race or ethnicity that we all should be aware of. And if young people like us do not take it seriously and ensure that all rights are protected - including CIVIL RIGHTS - then history will be destined to repeat itself, and there will be no one to blame but ourselves because Bob and his generation will be long gone and replaced by something far more horrific.

Anonymous January 13, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

I think that the bottom line here is that what Bob said was true. Lumbee's are extremely lazy. It's no lie. I have to deal with several Lumbee Indians on a day to day basis in Lumberton. So what he said wasn't hate speach. It was true speach.

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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