Let Freedom Ringtone!

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A dumb-jokey anti-immigration ringtone gets summarily pulled from sale by Cingular (my cellular provider).

The ringtone started with a siren, followed by a male voice saying in a Southern drawl, "This is la Migra," a slang term for the Border Patrol.

"Por favor, put the oranges down and step away from the cell phone. I repeat-o, put the oranges down and step away from the telephone-o. I'm deporting you back home-o," the voice continued.

Hispanic activists called the product racist.

"It's horribly offensive and a disgusting thing," Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told the newspaper.

Cingular removed the $2.49 ringtone, among thousands available for downloading from its Web site, Tuesday afternoon.

One of the worst qualities of any thought-elite is pushing off the table any cultural expressions, however crude, joking, or idiotic, of popular opinion–and this sort of goofy tortured Spanglish anti-immigration sentiment is quite popular these days.

While I'm more elite than the elites when it comes to freedom to cross national borders and work wherever you can find someone willing to hire you, and stopped finding the likes of the Greaseman (a shock jock from whom I recall a lot of this sort of thing) funny around age 12, I find that the closing off of such expression does bad things to the national cultural conversation–mainly by providing even more reason for petty resentment on the part of those who find that ringtone not only a hoot, but a vital expression of one of those Things You Can't Ringtone in America Anymore.

Obligatory recognition of Cingular's right to sell or not sell whatever ringtone it prefers duly noted.

NEXT: No Hillary, No Bush, No Problem

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  1. Why would Cingular be selling such a thing in the first place? It doesn’t take a “thought-elite” to figure out that it’s stupid and offensive.

  2. I think the ringtone should stay. It would be like a siren for myself and others with the same opinion, saying, “This person is an idiot, stay far, far away!”
    It’s always nice when people advertise their thoughts in such ways, so that you know in advance whether or not they are someone you’d like to talk to.

  3. Why would Cingular be selling such a thing in the first place?

    Demand?

  4. From the article: “The ringtone became available between late February or early March and was downloaded eight times, Siegel said. It was developed by Barrio Mobile, Siegel said.”

    The ringtone might have had the opposite intent–to poke the eye of nativists who can’t pronounce Spanish. Barrio Mobile’s target audience isn’t exactly the Minutemen.

  5. That’s funny. And if Paul Rodriguez did the joke nobody would complain an inch.

    The downside of that ringtone is that if your cell phone rings in East LA you’re going to get bloody.

    I’ve never quite understood the appeal of paying for a cell phone ring tone anyway. Although, if I could get Three More Bottles of Wine as a ring tone I might consider it.

  6. I remember sitting in a “leadership class” once, and being told that “nobody has a right to offend someone else.”

    Because it was in my self-interest at that moment to keep my yap shut, I did not speak up. But as I thought about it more later, I came to the firm conclusion that I not only have a right (as clearly laid out in the First Amendment to the US Constitution) to offend, but sometimes, I have a solemn duty to do so.

    I’m happy to report that I’ve acted on that duty many times in the years since. 🙂

  7. Won’t somebody please feed the server squirrels?

  8. What’s the big deal, at least it wasn’t wallpaper with a cartoon of Muhammad?

  9. Let me rephrase: why would a reputable company with a reputation to keep be selling something so stupidly offensive? “Demand” is a cop-out answer; there’s demand for all kinds of ridiculously idiotic things, but that doesn’t mean it’s good business to actually meet those demands.

  10. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of paying for a cell phone ring tone anyway.

    For a couple bucks, its cheap entertainment. And it makes it easy to know its your phone that’s ringing.

    I use the Imperial March from Star Wars (the Darth Vader theme song), myself.

  11. “Demand” is a cop-out answer; there’s demand for all kinds of ridiculously idiotic things, but that doesn’t mean it’s good business to actually meet those demands.

    Because not everything is approved by the CEO. Somebody, somewhere, got this in and will likely get fired for it.

  12. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of paying for a cell phone ring tone anyway.

    For a couple bucks, its cheap entertainment. And it makes it easy to know its your phone that’s ringing.

    I use the Imperial March from Star Wars (the Darth Vader theme song), myself.

    Hispanic activists called the product racist.

    I agree. I think it denigrates non-Spanish speakers. “repeat-o”, “telephone-o”, etc. If there’s a joke in there that’s on Hispanics instead of white people, I didn’t see it.

  13. “Demand” is a cop-out answer; there’s demand for all kinds of ridiculously idiotic things, but that doesn’t mean it’s good business to actually meet those demands.

    It depends on whether meeting a ridiculously idiotic demand will get you the kind of publicity that (a) costs you customers or (b) brings ’em in.

    And if you can predict in advance how that will turn out, I suggest you hang out a shingle and charge $1000 an hour.

  14. All ringtones are offensive. 🙂 The best one I’ve heard was just a simple old-fashioned metal bell just like in one of those old phones. Simple, classic and a nice counterpoint to all those god-awful noises I hear emanating from cell phones.

    Personally, I want to get the Meg Ryan fake orgasm scene from “When Harry Met Sally” on mine.

  15. Vibrate is the best ring tone of all.

  16. Mine’s the Fraggle Rock theme.

    My girlfriend has a few custom tunes for hers. The default is the TMNT theme, I come up as “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and some friends of ours are “The Internet Is For Porn”.

  17. I want a ringtone that sounds like a handgun round being chambered. Or a fart. But for now mine sounds like a phone ringing.

  18. I’m gonna use the entire seventeen minutes of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for my ringtone.

  19. “I’m gonna use the entire seventeen minutes of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for my ringtone.

    Comment by: Pro Libertate at May 10, 2006 05:35 PM”

    now *that’s* offensive.

    well, that’s actually hilarious. dude! yooo da man. you get the game ball.

    Mr. Steven Crane:
    i agree. it’s a copout.

  20. Hmmm, I totally took it as a sort of a self-mocking chicano joke. Slightly funny. Maybe it’s all in where you come from. People I hang around with say stuff like that all the time. (People of Hispanic descent, I mean).

  21. Vibrate is the best ring tone of all.

    Especially if you carry your phone in your front paragraph.

  22. My ringtone says “Dave, I have just received, decrypted, and authenticated a microwave radio transmission that may require your attention. As always, Dave, I’ll answer the call myself, if you like.”

  23. Skype has more than one fart ringtone available.

    Personally, I’d pay $2 to get a copy of the old In Like Flint/Our Man Flint ZOWIE phone ringtone. Never seen it for sale, though.

  24. Hispanic activists called the product racist.

    What the hell is racist about it? It might be of a White guy acting in a racist manner, but how does that make it racist? Or does “racist” just mean “doubleplusungood” now?

    BTW, my ringtone is a recording of Strowger equipment, just because it amuses me to have a digital communications device make very analog noises. I tried using the phone sound from Brazil, but it’s a little too quiet to be a good ringtone.

  25. “Por favor, put the oranges down and step away from the cell phone. I repeat-o, put the oranges down and step away from the telephone-o. I’m deporting you back home-o,” the voice continued.

    What, no complaints from gay rights activists about that “home-o” thing?

  26. I see that they’re squabbling in Iraq over ringtones.

    Perhaps the love of a ringtone is the root of all evil.

  27. I’m sure there are some people who’d like their ringtone to be an excert from a Hitler speech.

    Damn you, Cingular, for pushing that cultural expression off the table!

    It’s funny to watch a libertarian swear up and down that he’s not in favor of X, just against banning X, and then come down in favor of X.

    Why isn’t Cingular’s decision not to express these repugnant thoughts any less worthy of respect as Bubba the Racist Idiot’s decision to express them?

  28. Another way to ask the same question would be, why does Cingular have an affirmative duty, if not legal than moral, to assist Bubba the Racist Idiot in making anti-Hispanic jokes?

  29. Joe, meet Godwin, Godwin, Joe.

  30. I agree that I want more idiots putting ringtones like this on their phone. Then I can be sure that they’re idiots and avoid them.

    Unless they were doing it to be funny/ironic. Then maybe I won’t want to avoid them. Prolly depends on whether they’re sporting an “ape drape” or not.

    Cingular is free to offer or not offer whatever ringtones they want, as far as I’m concerned. I think the one in question is funny, more in the way that it stereotypes a lot of anti-immigration folks attitudes.

    But once again, it’s all about victimisation and racism and all this other shit that easily punctures through the thin skin many people are resigned to.

  31. I have the CTU telephone ringer from 24 on my Verizon phone, but since it is a PocketPC, I made it myself and didn’t pay a dime (take that, Rupe!).

  32. “Joe, meet Godwin, Godwin, Joe.”

    Why is it that whenever anybody mentions Hitler, no matter how relevant their comment (not saying joe’s was necessary) some jackass makes some comment about Godwin. Reflexively invoking Godwin at any mention of hitler is just as stupid as reflexively mentioning hitler to try to win an argument.

    [/rant]

  33. andy, you, too, have broken Godwin’s Law by chastising those who chastise those who mention Hitler.

    You know, the Nazis used to call people Nazis.

  34. Why isn’t Cingular’s decision not to express these repugnant thoughts any less worthy of respect as Bubba the Racist Idiot’s decision to express them?

    I think you mean “Carlos The Racist Idiot”. The ringtone was created by a Mexican-American comedian to make fun of anglos, not by Larry The Cable Guy to make fun of Hispanics.

    (Personal ringtone: Orbital, “Chime”.)

  35. Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens

    That Juan Maria Domingo de Marical Brent Wilkes, aka “Chiche”, yeah, he’s my homey.

  36. “andy, you, too, have broken Godwin’s Law by chastising those who chastise those who mention Hitler.”

    Whatever.

    Slightly off topic, does anybody else here hate Mencia, or at least not give a fuck what’s in his diminuitive mind?

  37. Racism? I didn’t realize “hispanic” was a race?

  38. Maybe the solution to this kind of political correctness is a government funded program to put members of the myriad interest groups through improv comedy training.

    That way, instead of reacting by banning insulting humor, each insulted interest group can counter with insult humor of their own.

  39. Racism? I didn’t realize “hispanic” was a race?

    It’s a U.S. Department of Labor check box. Feel free to check it at will.

  40. Racism? I didn’t realize “hispanic” was a race?

    Uh-oh…

    A few months ago we had a very heated debate about whether “raghead” was a racist term. Your comment poses a very similar question. Basically it was concluded that, if most people find it a “racist” term (as opposed to a term base on another form of bigotry), then indeed it’s “racist.”

    In other news:
    War is peace.
    Hate is love.
    Slavery is freedom.

    Check out the debate here.

  41. Massa’s in de Cold, Cold Ground
    (Stephen Foster)

    Round de meadows am a-ringing
    De dark-eyes’ mournful song,
    While de mocking bird am singing,
    Happy as de day am long.

    Where de ivy am a-creeping,
    O’er de grassy mound,
    Dare old massa am a-sleeping,
    Sleeping in de cold, cold ground.

    CHO: Down in de cornfield
    Hear dat mournful sound:
    All de dark-eyes am a-weeping,
    Massa’s in de cold, cold ground.

    When de autumn leaves were falling,
    When de days were cold,
    ‘Twas hard to hear old massa calling,
    Cayse he was so weak and old.

    Now de orange trees am blooming,
    On de sandy shore,
    Now de summer days am coming,
    Massa nebber calls no more.

    Massa make de dark-eyes love him,
    Cayse he was so kind,
    Now, dey sadly weep above him,
    Mourning cayse he leave dem behind.

    I cannot work before tomorrow,
    Cayse de teardrop flow,
    I try to drive away my sorrow,
    Pickin’ on de old banjo.

  42. Slightly off topic, does anybody else here hate Mencia, or at least not give a fuck what’s in his diminuitive mind?

    I like Carlos Mencia, actually.

    Most of the time.

  43. Andy,

    I think it’s important to determine if somebody is making a disparaging comment about someone’s genetic predisposition or a cultural predisposition. I think it’s acceptable to criticize a culture and people who participate in that culture. Although this can be problematic. Take the example of young black males today. When someone doesn’t hire a YBM is it because they dislike black people as a genetic group or are they assuming that skin color determines a specific cultural identity and behavior- in the case of the YBM they might assume they participate in a gangster culture. While both reasons for denying the job would (I think) be unethical one is certainly worse- the genetic prejudice. I would call this racism. Using physical characteristics to determine behavior could be racism as well but not always. For example speech patterns and dress are strong indicators of culture. If these were the indicators the person doing the hiring was basing their decision on I wouldn’t consider it racism. To tie this into the recent immigrant/illegal immigrant issues someone could say that by waving Mexican flags the marchers were identifying themselves as part of the general Mexican culture (whatever that is). They could then take the step of saying that said culture is primarily defined by illiterate hayseeds. If they then said they didn’t want those specific people to immigrate it would be a cultural criticism not a racial one. Racism is an ugly behavior, especially in this country (US) with our long history of slavery and oppression, I don’t like to see the definition watered down, used by everyone with a grievance.

  44. Andy,

    I think it’s important to determine if somebody is making a disparaging comment about someone’s genetic predisposition or a cultural predisposition. I think it’s acceptable to criticize a culture and people who participate in that culture. Although this can be problematic. Take the example of young black males today. When someone doesn’t hire a YBM is it because they dislike black people as a genetic group or are they assuming that skin color determines a specific cultural identity and behavior- in the case of the YBM they might assume they participate in a gangster culture. While both reasons for denying the job would (I think) be unethical one is certainly worse- the genetic prejudice. I would call this racism. Using physical characteristics to determine behavior could be racism as well but not always. For example speech patterns and dress are strong indicators of culture. If these were the indicators the person doing the hiring was basing their decision on I wouldn’t consider it racism. To tie this into the recent immigrant/illegal immigrant issues someone could say that by waving Mexican flags the marchers were identifying themselves as part of the general Mexican culture (whatever that is). They could then take the step of saying that said culture is primarily defined by illiterate hayseeds. If they then said they didn’t want those specific people to immigrate it would be a cultural criticism not a racial one. Racism is an ugly behavior, especially in this country (US) with our long history of slavery and oppression, I don’t like to see the definition watered down, used by everyone with a grievance.

  45. StupendousMan,

    That’s pretty much the point I made in the aforelinked debate, but it seems like you and I are in the minority.

  46. Andy,

    Checked the link,I see what you mean. I think to define racism as bigotry both towards race and culture is foolish. People (once they’re an adult) can decide which culture they would like to participate in and be judged accordingly. Obviously they can’t decide what race they are.

  47. Hispanic is not a race as there are only three races. The idea that it should be a race evolved out of idenity politics in the 1970’s and is used as a way to identify victims and redress previous discrimination against hispanics. We all know that there are certain select ethnic groups that are on the government “A” list and others that are not. That’s why there’s a check box on some government required forms.

  48. “Hispanic is not a race as there are only three races. ”

    Most hispanics are mestizo hordes that are threatening to turn America into a Third World nation. If Americans don’t wake up, by 2050 we will be a minority IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.

    YOU must call your elected representatives and begin reform NOW. DEMAND that Congress pass a LAW outlawing anchor babies and make it RETROACTIVE to 1964, that should be a good start.

    If we don’t wake up soon the United States will be a third world basket case!

  49. Most hispanics are mestizo hordes that are threatening to turn America into a Third World nation. If Americans don’t wake up, by 2050 we will be a minority IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.

    What do you mean by “we,” paleface?

  50. It still pales in comparison to Knight Rider.

  51. You just made IR’s point, Tonto. The Indians had no immigration controls, and look what happened to them.

    Those that refuse to learn from history, etc.

  52. RC, Im glad you undestand neither brainwashed liberals like tonto and most of the people on here, or our globalist masters and elites will be happy until America is a THIRD WORLD CESS POOL torn by racial tensions and filled with poverty.

    The globalist masters and elites will have their cheap labor, but America will be UNRECOGNIZEABLE.

  53. RC, Im glad you undestand neither brainwashed liberals like tonto and most of the people on here, or our globalist masters and elites will be happy until America is a THIRD WORLD CESS POOL torn by racial tensions and filled with poverty.

    The globalist masters and elites will have their cheap labor, but America will be UNRECOGNIZEABLE.

  54. You just made IR’s point, Tonto. The Indians had no immigration controls, and look what happened to them.

    Those that refuse to learn from history, etc.

    But Immigration Realist called Hispanics “mestizo [that is, partly American Indian] hordes” who would soon outnumber “Americans” (by which I guess he means palefaces) would be a minority in their own country.

    And I guess that means American Indians would be part of the new majority.

    So what goes around, comes around.

    …Just be patient, let the wheel of history go around, and see who comes out on top.

    But of course, this is ridiculous. The white settlers came for land and raw resources. They did not come to join the culture of the American Indians, but to push it out of the way.

    Modern America, on the other hand, is rich not because of land and raw resources, but because of freedom and capitalism and trade and knowledge. Immigrants who want to come here and be richer must join the culture. If they don’t, they will stay relatively poor no matter which side of the border they live on. Surely they aren’t all too stupid to learn this. Some — the La Raza/Reconquista/Aztlan types — obviously are. But all. And even the stupid can learn, over time.

  55. To tie this into the recent immigrant/illegal immigrant issues someone could say that by waving Mexican flags the marchers were identifying themselves as part of the general Mexican culture (whatever that is).
    Good question.

    They could then take the step of saying that said culture is primarily defined by illiterate hayseeds.
    “Eighth Grade In Mexico
    Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me”
    http://fredoneverything.net/MexText.shtml

    The author is a Gringo who moved to Mexico.

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