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article imageOp-Ed: Controversy About Jesse Jacksons Remarks: Did He Say 'Off' Or 'Out'?

By Susan Duclos     Jul 12, 2008 in Politics
The controversy surrounding remarks made by Jesse Jackson and what he would like to do to Barack Obama's testicles, isn't about the intent of the words, no, but instead is about whether he said he wanted to cut Obama's testicles "out" or "off".
Recently Jesse Jackson made some crude comment about what he would like to do to Barack Obama's testicles.
It was a comment that Jackson whispered which was caught on an open microphone, called a hot mic. The comment wasn't noticed until a Fox News employee, working the overnight shift, transcribed the tape, he alerted the Fox staff, who emailed the producer for "The O'Reilly Factor," who was out of the country and he, in turn, emailed the shows staff in New York.
According to Fox News' senior vice president for programming, Bill Shine, "I looked at it and thought, 'This is going to be news'."
The network then notified Jackson and Obama about the pending airing of the video, which was when Jackson preemptively went to CNN and issued an apology.
So, there is the background.
Bear in mind, there was more to the tape, according to Bill O'Reilly, who claims that other comments were "damaging" but did not pertain to policy (Obama's faith based initiative stance) so they decided against airing the additional comments.
O'Reilly told viewers that the network had decided to air only portions of what Jackson had said, saying there was "more damaging" material.
Shine declined to comment on what else Jackson said, adding that news executives were in discussions about whether to air more of the tape.
One would assume the comment itself was enough to cause controversy, but much to my surprise I see that it wasn't the comment, per se, that has tongues wagging, but the distinction of whether Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts "off" or cut them "out".
Further amusement comes from the fact that the discussion of what word was used is listed under the "entertainment" portion of the LA Times blog.
Complicating the discussion a little more was Foxs' decision to bleep out the word "nuts" making it more difficult for people to hear the word that followed to determine whether the it ended with "out" or "off".
The examples listed in that piece, under the entertainment category, shows that different news organizations reported a different word, with AFP, Bloomberg, ABC, Fox (video above) and the LA Times describing the sentence as "I want to cut his nuts off" and the Chicago Tribune and Reuters saying the sentence was , "I want to cut his nuts out".
In the New York Post, hysterically, Charles Hurt, the Washington Bureau Chief, actually argued that the use of the word "out" or "off" truly mattered because using the term "out" is used by thugs or gangsters and they assert that Jackson should know the "symbolism of castration and its blood-soaked link to lynchings in the Old South", while the term "off" is used by veterinarians and doctors.
Like I said, hysterical!
All of this brings me to my commentary.
Being a woman, and the men reading this can correct me if I am wrong but this leaves me with a couple of questions.
Despite the New York Post's assertions that the word "off" or "out" truly matters, does it really? Isn't the thought of either option painful for men?
Secondly, while television news shows could be categorized as entertainment, is the thought of a man's testicles being cut off or out, really entertaining to the man in question or to any man that hears it?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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