Glenn Greenwald’s recent headline, “Extremism Normalized,” reminded me that I wanted to write about John Rocker. If you remember him, it’s probably more for the ridiculous statements he made as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, as opposed to anything he ever did on the field.
Rocker is the latest addition to a long line of conservative miscreants rehabbed, recycled, and lionized by the right. G. Gordon Liddy (burglary, conspiracy ) and Chuck Colson (obstruction of justice) emerged from their prison sentences and earned millions riding the wingnut welfare gravy-train. Oliver North somehow escaped prison after selling powerful munitions to Iran, laundering the money, and using it to fund illegal wars in Central America. He’s a Fox News contributor and a hero to many conservatives. Mark Fuhrman, the racist cop that probably contributed more than anyone to OJ Simpson’s acquittal, was hired and feted by Fox News Channel. More recently, Bob Ney got out of the federal pen and immediately was provided a sinecure on right-wing talk radio. Jack Abramoff – who had a lot to do with Ney’s conviction – is making the rounds as a redeemed man, devoted to fixing the system he broke.
So it shouldn’t surprise us that John Rocker is writing for World Net Daily (sorry, I won't link there), selling a book and making the rounds on talk radio. But… I’ve got a couple of things to say about it.
First, let’s look at the first sentence again. “Extremism Normalized.” John Rocker is being welcomed back into the conservative fold, and nobody seems to shocked by that. For a long time, he was a pariah. He’s not anymore. He’s being “normalized”.
Do you remember why he was exiled? Do you remember what he said?
In late 1999, he was asked by a reporter if he’d be willing to pitch for the Yankees or the Mets. He replied:
“I'd retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”It’s sad to write this, but the truth is, I don’t see anything there that I don’t hear on talk radio:
see at Tea Party rallies:
or watch on C-Span:
What was extreme in January, 2000 is run-of-the-mill and institutionalized today.
I don’t want to leave you on a sour note though, so let me get to my next point.
John Rocker is shockingly stupid. I mentioned that he is now writing for World Net Daily… Let’s try a sample:
Over recent years, it seems the term “free speech” has become more of an oxymoron than an absolute in our society. Technically, as our Founding Fathers intended, we are all given the undeniable right to voice our thoughts and opinions freely without fear of scorn and/or ridicule derived from non-agreement. I supposedly have the same right to express myself as you do. In a perfect world, my rights should be no different from yours. I’m quite certain that given the current stage of the world’s social climate, however, anyone ascribing to the ridiculous notion that our world is perfect is kidding himself. Our “perfect” world was replaced many moons ago by the defective reality in which we are all forced to reside – and one of the most blatant areas to view the erosion of perfection is seen in the lack of ability many in this great country have to speak freely without fear of chastisement.I'm not going to give his... uhm... whatever that is... the benefit of a thoughtful response because I'm fairly certain it was ghost-written...
There is without a doubt an unwritten but staunchly understood “pecking order” when considering who has the right to freely voice thought without the fear of public scorn and who must tread very lightly on certain obvious topics of socially sensitive subject matter. Media, along with a brainwashed segment of the American populace, grant asylum to different degrees according to what segment of society one belongs. The seemingly more oppressed an individual and that individual’s group is the better. Let’s face it, some have the ability to wage verbal holocaust and go virtually unscathed in the court of public opinion, while similar thoughts or opinions voiced by one whose existence does not grant them immunity will most likely be subjected to scorn and public rebuke from all sides until penance has supposedly been paid. Undoubtedly, the conservative, heterosexual, white male gets and most likely will continue to get the proverbial short end of the stick when it comes to speaking freely. Those who fall into this unfortunate category had better watch their backsides with both eyes when discussing any topic with a script of politically correct verbiage that must be followed.
By this guy: