Dog the Bounty Hunter has many fans. They find a champion to present their case in the form of Ms. K., the author. DBKP had this and it got caught in our "Dog Lays Low Weekend".
The weekend's now over, and we can uncork this story. K. Gilreath lays out every known Dog argument--and a few we hadn't heard before--as she examines the "Dog Issue" from every conceivable angle.
Part rant, part inquisition, and part legal document in the court of public opinion, it provides a narrative of sorts for the discerning Dog aficionado. We present it largely in it's original form, to preserve its "flavor". It serves as a call to action for all fans of the Bounty Hunter.
It first appeared in Hawaii Reporter.
It now appears here.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter - Let's Get Critical"
Now that the furor's died down some, I feel more comfortable making some observations about Duane "Dog" Chapman's situation. Just like puzzling a Rubix Cube, puzzling this one out is frustrating.
Let's start at the start:
The National Enquirer released a 2-minute version of Dog Chapman's phone convo with his son Tucker. Labeling it a "racist tirade." Later on, they released a 5-minute or so version of it. I haven't been treated to the "long" or "full" 8-minute version I'm told is out there, and I don't want to be. Because it's yet another version.
Websters Dictionary defines the word version as follows:
Version- n. *1: Translation. *2: An account or description from a particular point of view especially as contrasted with another. *3: A form or variant of a type or original.
I'd say definitions 2 and 3 both apply here to what's been offered as proof of racism. With definition 1 being reserved for the court of public opinion.
So Dog Chapman apologizes same day and starts down the road to taking his lumps. Starting with A&E pulling his show entirely until further notice. Over a private conversation, labeled with the inflammatory phrase 'racist tirade' and released in versions to the public by National Enquirer.
I don't condone the use of the word "N" word. I'd be a hypocrite to say I've never used a slur, or used it in anger. I defy others to claim that they, in the heat of anger or frustration, haven't used a racial slur, sexist slur, or foul word pertaining to an individual or a group. Whether you realized it or not.
In a court of law, an edited tape, or a 'version' wouldn't get anywhere near a jury. Yet in the court of public opinion, an edited tape plus an inflammatory label is all it takes to pass judgment. Just like the song, this is all some dirty laundry too isn't it? And the National Enquirer has been dishing the 'dirt' by the shovelful. After all, they proved it once right?
Not to me. Yeah, that short clip is pretty damning, but the long version is a bit more enlightening. I got some questions here for folks to ponder with me, misery loves company.
Where did the long version go? Suddenly it's disappeared and the link on TMZ.com only takes me to the shorter, damning version. The one that better fits their label. Oh wait, that's right, it's supposed to be a racist tirade, duh. So with the magic of Google, I found this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eisr5taXzX0
The longer version. Here's some thoughts on it. If you haven't heard the longer version, you might want to take a listen. Please, don't take my word for it.
- What's up with the beep at the start?
- What was said before that?
- Was this a tirade? Was it a rant?
- Was it racist? Does the use of the word ni**** alone, make that so?
- Why would he make a distinction between ni**** and a black guy?
- Did he ever directly refer to Monique Shinnery with that word?
- How often have you judged others by the company they keep?
The media has completely overlooked the long version, and a tidbit that struck me like a hammer from the first time I listened to it.
Tucker admitted that his girlfriend Monique Shinnery is friends with a third party. A third party who drives Monique around because she has no car. A third party who likes to sit in front of the house of Tucker's brother -- Duane Lee Chapman -- and call and call and call. Oh and go in and sleep in brother Leland Chapman's house when he's not there. A third party who hangs around the offices and talks to the people who work there. Funny thing is, that's information Tucker offered up and acknowledged, insinuating his brothers and others brought that all on themselves. Implying that this third party is the real troublemaker, not his girlfriend. Who hangs out with her, if she didn't hang out with her, he wouldn't have to tell her not to be dropped off at his home by her, or not to let her in his home. He also said the girl was weird.
Would you be happy about your child's choice under those circumstances? Would you be thrilled to hear behavior like that defended in any way? Would you want your child anywhere near someone who does that? Or near someone, anyone, who condones and befriends a person exhibiting that behavior? Would you get in a car with somebody who does that? Tucker and Monique are obviously aware of it since Tucker offered up the information in that tape. Don't blame my girlfriend; blame my girlfriend's girlfriend and all the time chauffeur. Screw the notion that this third party moonlights as a frightful pest to my brothers (who I also happen to work with) and she hangs around your place of business. Never mind all the other stuff. She's weird.
That doesn't justify Dog Chapman's language, not by any means. No, no, no. It does however explain why he may not have been too thrilled with Tucker's girlfriend Monique in that talk though. To most of us, that's not weird, that's scary.
Ah yeah, the tape, back to that. Got some more questions about that.
- Is it alright to tape private conversations? Not a message left on the answering machine or voicemail, but to actually hook up a recorder and tape talks you have with people. Let's not go near legalities. I mean to you as a person, is that alright with you?
- Is it alright to sell copies of your private talks with others? Forget motive, is there any reason at all you believe it's okay to sell tapes you make of your conversations with others?
- Is an edited or incomplete version of any tape recording proof to you of someone's character?
- Does an edited or incomplete version of a tape recording trump hearsay and rumor when you judge someone's character? Is it 'proof' that the hearsay and rumor is true?
- Do you trust what your children tell you about somebody?
- Have you ever questioned your child's judgment?
- Is the language somebody uses regularly a measure of their character, and their worth?
- When you look at others, have you ever judged them by how they look or dress?
- Is it alright to be judged for something you say in a moment of anger or duress?
- Is it alright for your job to be threatened because of the people you hang out with?
- Is it alright for your job to be threatened if the actions of people you hang out with are suspect or they're a nuisance at your workplace?
- Is it alright to lose your job for what you say in private? Or for how you speak to your children? Or for how you speak or behave in private (minus criminal acts) period?
Let's move on to the "apology tour":
Thankfully, it was short.
Christopher Chapman, who also admitted on Larry King Live that he sold his own dad out for money to the National Inquirer, got out on national TV and defended his father by admitting to doing a really crappy thing that he was sorry for? Out of all the kids, you'd think Christopher would be the last to go to bat for his dad, but he was the one next to him.
- Did you just think or say "If that was my kid I'd.?"
- Did anybody listen to what Christopher had to say about how the process of dishing dirt to scandal rags works? They strap you to a lie detector and grill you about the person you're dishing dirt on. An inconclusive test is good enough for what you have to say to be printed. It was in his case.
- Did you know that lie detector tests are almost always inadmissible in court? That they're only a tool for the police to determine where to go with their investigations?
- Is National Enquirer a law enforcement agency? If so, would that be moral law?
Then there's the almighty Dr. Phil. Who held a whole show to address Dog's 'racist tirade' and racism. What a show. Conspicuously absent were Dog Chapman, Monique and her boyfriend Tucker. Her mother got out in front for that one. However, on CNN's "Larry King Live," Dr. Phil himself said he didn't believe Dog Chapman to be a racist, and he also objected to private things being made public.
On to Fox News.
When Dog Chapman faced her on camera, on Hannity & Colmes, Monique Shinnery was smiling. Not smiling, grinning under the National Enquirer banner.
- Why is it that instead of accepting that apology, she stated how she's never been in trouble and he's a bad role model?
- Why, after the release of the tape, would they expect Dog Chapman to call them directly and apologize?
- Would you call them?
- Have you ever met anybody, who is being threatened, who is being victimized, who has been judged unfairly, who is under duress, whose reputation has been and is being smeared, whose everything is jeopardized, and they are facing the person that did all that. all of which Monique Shinnery claims Dog Chapman is guilty of. Do they grin for it?
- Would you be smiling?
Duane Dog Chapman wasn't.
Also I forget where it was said, but her claim that she never wears a tank top was unnecessary. In that recording, the long version, Dog repeatedly said that Beth was wearing a tank top on the day they planned to jump her.
Yet through it all was the Reverend Tim Storey. Why would he, Dog' Chapman's preacher, a black man, risk his neck -- you know -- his reputation, his credibility, and possibly his life -- to defend Dog Chapman? Not only defend him, but rip on him on national TV about his potty mouth.
- I've never seen a racist do that, have you?
Some general questions:
- Where's the A&E crew member to back up the accusation of racism?
- Where's the errant video clip the producers or director edited out?
- Where's the crew people who quit because Dog Chapman and crew were fake and racists?
- Where's the rest of the kids? Not the ones you see on TV, but the rest of Dog Chapman's children.
- Where's the ex wives and ex girls or guys of the rest of the kids? Including the ones you see on TV.
- Where's all the cons that Dog's arrested coming out and saying 'he called me a (insert slur of choice here)?
- Where's the US Marshall that heard one of them slip and call them a nasty name under their breath?
- Where's the fan that got an earful when they weren't watchful out and about someplace?
- Where's the airline employees who heard some distasteful things or were treated badly?
- Why didn't Tucker file a wrongful termination suit against his father and former employer?
- Why hasn't Tucker Chapman said a word? His girlfriend's gotten out in front, so has her mother. So where is he? If he's so offended and feels so bad that his family won't accept his love interest, where is this guy? He's the one that made the tape, sold it and gave the talk to National Enquirer, where is he?
- Where are the friends of these two star crossed lovers? Why haven't they come out and spoken out about how badly the two have been treated by Dog Chapman?
They're not out on the message boards or airwaves defending them or Tucker's actions, not even when the matter was at its height. Is that because they're going to sue and the lawyer said shut up? Her mother is a great person, but she's her mother, where's everybody else?
- Where are the lawyers for this girl and her mom? Or Tucker? So far I haven't heard of any attorneys stepping up or announcing they're representing them.
It's been awhile and the only folks who've crawled from the woodwork to slam Dog Chapman since versions of the "N"-word tape have come out are . An ex-wife, an ex-girlfriend, a woman who claims to be his ex-girlfriend and dealer (while he's been married to Beth, friends with Reverend Storey, and under the watchful eye of A&E cameramen no less). Oh, and his son Tucker, and Tucker's girlfriend Monique. Their ugly tales of racism, sex, drugs, violence, and so on have been reprinted by National Enquirer for your consumption. In case you weren't convinced y'know?
I mean come on now. There's money to be made here to slam Dog Chapman. Where is everybody?
Perhaps a little more convincing was CourtTV. Yup, even CourtTV got on the bandwagon. I would find their coverage more credible had they addressed more the issue of private conversations made public, you know, rights. Reasonable expectations and all that. It is after all supposed to be a channel devoted to legal things. Oh wait, I forgot! CourtTV has their own bounty hunter show too. They even advertised their bounty girls with a commercial how their crew are no dogs.
Well at least something about all this is obvious huh?
Like the chorus of Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" - "kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down." It's not the first time those tales were told. Of course now folks are paying attention since there's some "proof." Proof of what though, is in the mind and opinion of the beholder.
I have more questions than I do answers or proof, of anything. Even in the so-called proof that he is racist, there's just as much and more proof that Dog Chapman's not racist IMO. What I do know, and what this is all proof of, is that this is wrong on many levels and in many ways. Our own prejudices and eagerness to be politically correct and show how we're "good" people; are all being used to divide us further. Go over to TMZ.com and try to count how many times the word trash alone has been used on the MB's in reference to all the people in question. For the sake of scandal, outrage, ratings, sales, and fast cash.
Never mind destroying a man and his family's spirit and reputation, that's incidental.
You don't have to condone Dog Chapman's language. You don't have to like him, his look, or anything about him. You don't even have to like his show. Making anybody's business public, for the sake of 'exposure' and judgment, is wrong, period. Especially when it is served up incomplete and in versions.
Personal business isn't the 99-cent value menu at Wendy's, but it's on its way to being just as cheap. It's wrong and erodes everybody's right to privacy or a reasonable expectation of it. To do so for profit, for the sake of being outraged or to outrage, politically correct, or for gain, is just as bad and worse than any single word can be.
It also makes it that much easier for somebody who doesn't like you to do the same. Words are one thing, actions are another. Yet even in the words--including the insensitive ones--there's some proof to me that the label is wrong.
Dog Chapman's subsequent actions: his behavior on TV, his freely admitting to what a monster he used to be, his immediate apology and his prime time apologies; all weigh heavily in his favor.
The word racist is a label that doesn't stick. The most appropriate questions there are to be asked are the ones that the media and others haven't asked:
Are any tape recorded statements made of private discussions really any business of the public?
Maybe you feel Dog Chapman's been treated unfairly for what should have been a private matter, or you don't believe he's racist, or maybe you're on the fence. Do something. If you feel cheated out of your right to decide, or that corporate sponsors are dictating your decisions to you, do something.
Let A&E and it's sponsors know how you feel. Demand his show be restarted. Call, email, sign the petitions on the net. Contact the sponsors and their franchises. Gripe to the managers and corporate relations people: refuse to buy what they sell.
Besides, there's just as good and better fish n chips, Mexican fare, fried chicken, and pizza at locally owned establishments - who will definitely appreciate your intelligence and your business enough to refrain from making your decisions for you.
* 1: Because the laws are incomplete and enforced sporadically. Especially where the Internet is concerned. So this can be done to anybody.
* 2: If you wouldn't want what you say in your home or on the phone put out there as proof of 'what you really are' then this is a way to send that message.
* 3: If you don't think it is right to lose your job and reputation, over a something said or done on tape, minus criminal acts, then this is a way to send that message.
* ** Don't think that can't happen, the Internet is global and mostly anonymous. Technology makes it easy to get audio and video, and with YouTube, MySpace, and P2P sites all over the globe, it's not hard to show it off. Got an angry ex? Better close the blinds and stay off the phone.
* 4: If you feel cheated out of your right to decide what you watch on TV, or even cheated out of the right to not watch, then this is a way to send that message. Since when is it up to a television network and it's sponsors to dictate to people what they are going to watch without asking the viewers or checking the ratings first?
Last reason: the man said he was sorry and that he would change. If Dog Chapman's truly contrite he will, and the proof will be beamed right there into your living room from a source with more credibility and reputation than National Enquirer.
Oh don't worry: the Enquirer and other ragmags will be on the lookout for the 'dirt' - so if he slips, everybody is going to know. Dog Chapman is a public figure and a pop culture icon. As such, he is in a position to do more for race relations and healing the rifts between people in America than Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson ever dreamed.
And he'll probably do it with better language this time around.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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