Reeling from a hellacious first day hosting The View, Whoopi Goldberg attempted to frame and rationalize her comments that seemingly defended Michael Vick and his dog fighting enterprise.
In the course of her second show, Goldberg complained her comments were taken out of context. After playing tapes from the first show, which included the back and forth with Joy Behar (as described many places, here from the WaPo):
“One of the things I haven’t heard anybody say is . . . this is not an unusual thing from where [Vick] comes from. It’s like cockfighting — cockfighting in Puerto Rico. . . . There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of our country.
“He’s from the South,” she continued. “From the Deep South. Dogfighting is a lot –”
“How about dog torturing and dog murdering?” interrupted “View” colleague Joy Behar
“Unfortunately, it’s part of the thing,” Whoopi responded”
Whoopi, refusing to take her medicine, continued along the same lines yesterday:
Barbara Walters asked if Whoopi thought Vick should not have been “sentenced as he was” because “you say it goes with the territory?”
“I thought, if it had been somebody from New York City, my feelings would be very different,” Whoopi replied, “but this is a kid, kid to me . . . this is part of his cultural upbringing.”
H’mmmm….it seems Whoopi just doesn’t get it.
First, Whoopi needs a geography lesson. Michael Vick grew up in Newport News, Virginia. This is hardly the deep south. he plays ball in Atlanta, but he grew up in Newport News and had his kennels within fifty miles or so of his home. If his conduct is being attributed to some regional obsession, the deep south argument ain’t gettin’ it.
Second, while it is nice to see that Whoopi holds the denizens of Gotham to a higher standard of conduct than we poor, benighted souls further to the south, the fact is that dogfighting is not an integral part of southern culture. Dogfighting is, however, illegal in the USA…and it doesn’t matter what your cultural background is.
Third-and this is where we get down to the roots of the problem-what I suspect Whoopie is trying to excuse conduct that she thinks is acceptable in some portion of society, yet she is unwilling to name that portion specifically. It may be the inner city, it may be a particular socioeconomic group, it may be a particular ethinic group. But…..rather than step right up and say it outright OR work from a much higher view and ponder what in his upbringing had him fighting dogs and what caused the light to come on and ‘fess up, instead she tries to excuse his actions by attributing it to some combination of nature and nurture.
Ultimately, I am sure the producers of the show will tell her to move on to more recent tragedies and atrocities. So in the spirit of being helpful, let me pass this on…
Note to Whoopi-when the whole english speaking world thinks your words meant a particular thing, your best shot is to go the Kennedy route and apologize, say you won’t do it again, and move on. Otherwise you end up like Brer Rabbit, and the chances of getting tossed back in the briar patch before you get skinned is unlikely.
UPDATE: Linda Sharp again nails it…is Whoopi going to tell us dog fighting is “indicative” of Ireland, too? Or is she going to just back up and say stupidity knows no border?
UPDATE 2: Norm Leahy at Bacon’s Rebellion examines the details of the “sport” Whoopi views as “indicative” of the Deep South…perhaps after reading this she will send an additional contribution to PETA.