"I respect the First Amendment, but rights without responsibility is anarchy, and that’s much of what we have now. It’s time for responsible people to stand up and accept responsibility." - Bobby Rush, Democratic Representative from Chicago

"There's only two sides to the debate on free speech. You're either for it or you're against it." - Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, whom I believe is also from Chicago, albeit the far suburbs

A few weeks ago, in a post about how we're no longer allowed to call a black woman a ho even if she's dressed like one, I suggested that the firing of Don Imus for having an opinion on the grade of a black woman's hair was an example of McCarthyism.

The comments section's own TPAR, however, responded that this wasn't an example of McCarthyism, since McCarthyism involves state harassment which causes someone to lose their job, where as the force that brought down Imus was a simple phone harassment campaign against Imus' employers by interest groups who probably never listened to his show a day in their life.

Whatever. You know how TPAR loves to engage in semantic debates, not to mention the fact that he's with the terrorists. I'm sure if he had it his way, all sorts of thought crimes would be punishable by acts of public mutilation, stonings and what have. The thing is, it looks like the government is getting in on the war against a black man's right to free speech, which I'm pretty sure would actually make this McCarthyism under the TPAR definition. It'll be interesting to see what his response is to this.

As was noted today in this site's ur-useful headlines section, Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat from the South Side of Chicago who also happens to be chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, has called for a hearing on stereotypes and degrading images of women in hip-hop song lyrics and music videos.

Ruh roh.

You know the shit done hit the fan when Congress is having a hearing - called by a black guy, even - on a black man's right to free speech. You can also tell this is the real deal because the actual TIs who run these labels including Doug Morris and Edgar Bronfman Jr. will be in attendance rather than, say, Jay-Z and LA Reid.

Also, what's the deal with the ghettos of Chicago becoming such a hotbed of anti-free speech activity? You'll recall that this was also where that billboard campaign which declared several rappers "trash" took place, not to mention the fact that it's like the Salt Lake City of prison Islam. In fact, come to think of it, that's where motherfucking TPAR is from as well. Hmm...

At any rate, this can't possibly bode well for hip-hop. My guess is that the fact alone Congress held a hearing on so-called stereotypes (read truisms) and degrading images of women in hip-hop will lead these labels to engage in self-censorship not unlike they did in the 1990s, in the wake of the dust-up over Ice T's "Cop Killer," regardless of whether or not these artists are within their rights, which they are. Albums will be shelved and artists will be dropped from labels, just like they were back then.

Will it fit the TPAR definition of McCarthyism? Who knows, but it's gonna suck balls either way.