Thursday, January 24, 2008

Working Definitions Of Evil

'Evil' is a word that gets tossed out too frequently. It's used by religious types endlessly and usually gets applied following standards that aren't universal. It's unfortunate too; 'evil' ends up losing power it should have.

There are times when we need a word to describe dark and incomprehensible human thoughts and behaviors. Sometimes the evil is collective, as in Burma and Darfur. Sometimes it comes from individuals, like Fox News' John Gibson. From ThinkProgress:
Opening his radio show with funeral music yesterday, Fox News host John Gibson callously mocked the death of actor Heath Ledger, calling him a “weirdo” with a “serious drug problem.”

Playing an audio clip of the iconic quote, “I wish I knew how to quit you” from Ledger’s gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, Gibson disdainfully quipped, “Well, he found out how to quit you.” Laughing, Gibson then played another clip from Brokeback Mountain in which Ledger said, “We’re dead,” followed by his own, mocking “We’re dead” before playing the clip again.

The untimely death of anyone is a sad thing. It's especially sad when a young person is denied the full duration of what is likely our one chance at consciousness.

I get what Gibson did. A radio show needs listeners and Gibson and his team think that their listeners want to hear jokes about the death of an actor who played a gay man in an extremely closeted environment (There's so much humor there right?).

But how does Gibson walk around living with himself after such radio play? My guess is that a fat paycheck and his celebrity, such as it is, are rewards that, to him, justify using a young person's death to feed homophobia.

John, yours is an evil act with an evil justification.