More Bile Per Gallon
March 22, 2007
In a better world, Craig Carton and Ray Rossi could be left to pick fleas out of each other’s fur during their weekday afternoon sessions as the “Jersey Guys” on WhineOh WhinePointJive. They are what they are, after all, and anyone who can listen to their schtick for more than a few minutes while waiting for the traffic report is never going to be pried loose from the ranks of Bozo Nation. If nothing else, while they’re on the air the rest of us know what a good percentage of the Garden State’s jackass population is doing late in the afternoon.
But as lower tier shock jocks on a downmarket radio station, they have to work harder to stay in the spotlight. So they ridicule Dick Codey’s wife for speaking honestly about postpartum depression, slur an Asian-American citizen running for office in Edison, and threaten to expose the identities of gay politicians. With scores of other drive-time grunters engaged in a daily race for the bottom of the barrel, Carton and Rossi always have to be on the lookout for ways to give their drive-time fans more bile per gallon. And so they have once again fallen back on that reliable standby: encouraging racist violence against ethnic minorities.
Heavens, they wouldn’t dream of stating it themselves quite so bluntly. There are broadcast licenses to protect, after all, so they claim their vigilante campaign is meant to encourage members of the public to turn in illegal immigrants of any race or nationality. It’s just an accident, I guess, that they call it “La Cuca Gotcha,” which plays off the Spanish word for cockroach. Maybe you prefer the alternate name, “Operation Rat-a-Rat,” which at least puts Latinos in the mammalian category of life.
We’ve been down this road many times and other ethnic groups have borne the brunt of this brand of prejudice, so it’s no surprise to see El Diario/La Prensa calling Carton and Rossi out for what they are. It’s not like we don’t already know what Carton and Rossi stand for, but it’s always nice to see a newspaper willing to restate the obvious for groups who like to think they aren’t also defamed by this race-baiting:
Groups that favor strict immigration enforcement are lauding Carton and Rossi.
“The Jersey Guys are a bit like Howard Stern,” said Carmen Perez, a Middlesex County resident who belongs to “You Don’t Speak for Me,” a national group of Hispanics who favor strict immigration policies. “They say what other people are terrified to say because of the sensitivity of our Hispanic friends, Muslims and etc.”
Ms. Perez can kid herself all she likes, but the problem with the Carton and Rossi brand of attention-getting is that it has nowhere to go but down. Like Trashcan Annie calling John Edwards a faggot, the drivetime jivers have gotten away with calling Latinos rats and cockroaches, but shock quickly wears off. There has to be an even lower level of outrage to mine for ratings. Maybe they can start offering Do- It-Yourself lynching kits for those listeners who think the INS isn’t moving fast enough.
And if some of those listeners decide to take out their frustrations on the first vulnerable-looking Latino they see, we can expect all kinds of pious disclaimers from WhineOh- Whine-PointJive and the Jersey Guys. After all, they weren’t overtly encouraging anything so extreme. They’re simply doing their part by stinking up the public airwaves.