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Last week, fellow Sentinel columnist Jesse Jackson intimated that, although having little or no experience as a surgeon, it was his firm desire to perform a gonadectomy on Senator Barack Obama. Were he indeed qualified to perform such a delicate surgical procedure, it’s isn’t at all difficult to fathom that Mrs. Obama would be none too pleased with the prospect. In plain English, regarding the Presidential candidate, Jackson told a fellow interviewee on Fox News the following: “I want to cut his nuts off.” Jackson’ ambitious medical aspirations aside, I personally think the low tonal nature of Senator Obama’s voice is just fine the way it is.
With experience in having his own radio and television shows, Jesse is both a seasoned interviewee and veteran interviewer. He’s a battle-scared warrior who’s been in the trenches for a very long time. Ironically, because of this, some wonder if he actually intended for his comments to be heard when he opened his mouth in range of an open mike. Others beg to differ, insisting that passion punctuated the moment; spontaneity, they say, at its best—or worse—depending on where you sit.
Being plunged into the media spotlight as Spokesman for Michael Jackson’s Family during his last trial was my baptism by fire when it comes to the rules of being interviewed, holding press conferences, and the dynamics of other related behind-the-scenes matters. One of the cardinal rules I learned early on was to watch what you say when the microphone is clamped on your lapel. You’re forewarned that it may be live because they ask you for a mike check—several times in some instances—before you go live on air. Given Jesse’s credentials and background, many remain unconvinced that his was not a purposeful act of envy and jealousy; a shameful effort to sabotage or derail the well oiled Obama Machine. Such alleged behavior has earned him the unflattering titles “Messy Jesse” and “Jealous Jesse Jackson” in certain circles.
But, to be fair, after the sound check is done, you could easily get the distinct impression that they’ve killed the mike. They even listen in on conversations between two guests when a third one is being interviewed to determine who they’ll go to next to keep the controversy moving. “I was in a conversation with a fellow guest on Sunday,” Jesse said. “He asked about Barack’s speeches lately at the Black churches. I said he comes off as speaking down to Black people,” Jackson said. “It was very private,” said Jackson on CNN’s Situation Room. Recognizing that his comments were “crude and hurtful,” he stated further that if “any hurt or harm has been caused to [Obama’s] campaign, I apologize.”
Look what happened to Jesse during his 1984 run for the presidency on the Democratic ticket when he shot himself in the foot over “Hymiegate.” According to the Associate Press (AP), “In 1984, he called New York City ‘Hymietown,’ referring to the city’s large Jewish population. He later acknowledged it was wrong to use the term, but he said he did so in private to a reporter.” Few would argue that Jesse’s sentiments, though considered offensive, were meant to be private. Still, along these lines, Jesse’s bitter. Before uttering “Hymietown” it wasn’t identified as an offensive term in any dictionary that this columnist researched prior to 2003. Take these seven for example:
(1) Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, 1953. (2) Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, 1956. (3) The Barnhart Dictionary of New English Since 1963. (4) Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English, 1963. (5) Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, 1988. (6) Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1991. (7) Cambridge Dictionary of American English, 2000. Some of these dictionaries specialize in rare, little known, or infrequently used words. And though mohels are Jewish men who perform circumcisions, I doubt if Jesse’s ambition to become a surgeon is a serious threat to job security for New York’s mohels.
Given Fox News’ horrible reputation among liberals, many feel Jesse should have been extra careful. The AP reports that “When he learned Wednesday that the Fox News program The O’Reilly Factor would air his comments that night, Jackson apologized for ‘hurtful and wrong’ remarks.” Hours before Fox News aired his statement, Jackson called a news conference to offer a public mea culpa. Why? Because “I know that they will further violate the context of it” he said. The recently deceased retired White House spokesman and former Fox News commentator Tony Snow did a feature on me in my capacity as Jackson Family Spokesman, complete with video of me at a news conference, but did not face me himself. Snow was substituting for Bill O’Reilly at the time. Previously on The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly, too, referenced me, but both he and Snow declined to debate me. Why? One reason is that if they know you’re on to them, they’re not likely to face you. One can’t help but to believe that Jesse had to have known this.
Graciously, Obama forgave Jackson, but Michelle is mad as hell, and she’s not alone. “I’m deeply outraged and disappointed in Rev. Jackson’s reckless statements about Sen. Barack Obama,” said Jesse Jackson, Jr. “His divisive and demeaning comments ...contradict his inspiring and courageous career.” He stated further, “I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric.” The Rev. Al Sharpton said Jackson’s remarks were “most unfortunate.” Pleased that Jackson apologized, he then added: “I hope people will remember the great work he’s done in this country as one assesses this last incident.”
Sure, no one’s perfect, not even Rev. Jackson. On a lighter note, even the apostle Peter, on the night of Jesus’ arrest, cut off a man’s ear. But did Jesus exacerbate matters by saying, “Gimme that damn sword Peter! You don’t know what the hell you’re doin’ anyway. If you’re going to go for something, go for the gonads!” No, Jesus didn’t utter these words.
Certainly, if our Lord wanted to flick the man’s nuts off with unwavering precision, and then, for good measure, have his apostles play soccer with them right there in Gethsemane, he could have done so. And yes, he could have miraculously reinstalled them later. This reality notwithstanding, Jesus passed on the opportunity to detach the man’s testicles from the rest of his genitalia. In this, we can be thankful. Proverbs 12:18 says, “There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword [ouch!], but the tongue of the wise ones is a healing.” In the twilight of his tortured political career, the reverend would do well to heed these words.
The controversy as to Jesse Jackson’s intentions will rage on unabated. And whether you love him or hate him, in the opinion of this political analyst it’s doubtful that in the final analysis we’ll see someone take to the Internet with a face contorted in angry frustration shouting the plaintive, teary-eyed cry of a banshee: “Leave Jesse alone!” Amen.
Word for the Week (or is it “Weak”?): gonadectomy—“surgical removal of an ovary or testis.”
Dr. Firpo Carr n can be reached at 800.501.2713 or