Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don Imus: This Is Surprising?

I used to listen to Don Imus during my morning runs. He had interesting interviews with people who didn't often give interviews: Imus regulars included Chris Matthews (photo above, during one of his many appearances), Tim Russert, Dan Rather, John McCain, Pat O'Brien, Laura Ingraham, Chris Dodd, Brian Williams, Mike Huckabee, and the like. Republicans were rare, unless they were clever interviewees. But I finally stopped because I always felt like I needed to wash my hands after listening. The show was crude and cruel, or both, 50% of the time.

So I wasn't surprised at all when Imus finally blew it. But what he said about the Rutgers womens' basketball team was no worse than what he said almost daily for years before that time-- when all the above members of the news media elite seemed to be dying to be on his show. They knew very well what his show was like, but they were all regulars. So to me, the current level of outrage over vulgar and hateful remarks by a man who has run a vulgar and hateful show for years seems a little overwrought.

Here's what Jason Whitlow had to say:
In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.
Makes sense. And here's Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology - at Rutgers - who comments on the history of the word "ho," the use of which to describe a group of young female college athletes was part of Imus' downfall:

Perhaps because I was raised in Victorian Canada, I have always found the casual use of the H word perplexing, offensive and violent. Whatever its etymological derivation, the fact is that it's understood to be shorthand for "whore." The term appears to have achieved currency and seeming acceptability initially and mainly in the community of people with dark skin. Just take a look -- if your stomach is settled -- at any number of MTV video spectacles of Rapper Princes surrounded by wholly compliant and nearly nude women grinding their lives away. But this is of course no alibi at all for any people with any pigment to describe any woman or group of women in a manner which deprives them of their sexual autonomy and paints them with the sign "commodity for purchase."

. . .

When Don Imus meets with the Rutgers women, as they agreed he can, it is doubtful he will have the bravery or stupidity to call them whores to their troubled faces. He was after all an unelected representative of a broader culture when he used That Phrase.

Nevertheless, for those of us in the Rutgers community, these are our accomplished young women, whatever their color. In their stately tearjerker news conference on Tuesday, they conducted themselves with discreet dignity and care. And to a woman they called him Mr. Imus.

Sums it up for me.

Update: Here's an Imus clip that reminds of why I stopped listening. (HT: David Frum at The Corner. David's post is informative, too. I won't miss Imus.)


Blogger Harold C. Hutchison said...

I used to listen to Howard Stern when he was on the air. Nowadays, when I'm not listening to a CD, it's usually the Greaseman, who I've listened to on-and-off since I was a kid.

That said, I think you handled it far better than people like Michelle Malkin have. You simply found something else to listen to.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 6:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so upset about Don Imus. He shouldn't have been fired. I am outraged that Rev. Al Sharpton has something to say about this. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. He is probably the biggest Racist I have ever seen. Unbelievable!

Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zxI'm not in solid agreement with the reasons that Imus was fired, but I'm all in favor of getting rid of loud-mouthed gum-chomping boors wherever they are. The old saying "Good bye bad garbage" fits this case.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Evorgleb said...

I still have mixed feelings over the whole Imus ordeal. Part of me believes he's getting what he deserves and the other part of me thinks its really that big of a deal. If you haven't seen it already, you should check out this story over at Highbrid Nation. The guy who wrote it worked at WFAN with Imus and gives some interesting insight into whether the man is really a racist or not. You all should check it out if you get a chance.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly do approve or endorse what he said. It was a pathetic attempt at humor.

But in the greater scheme, I find it disturbing that so many are disturbed by his words, but these same people are indifferent to the environmental destruction being wrought by Americans insatiable appetite for bigger cars, more cars, bigger houses, more internet, etc.

Although Imus's words may have hurt people, the fact is when the polar ice caps melt, and the earth becomes hotter, millions will die in developing nations.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are fortunate to live in a free speech part of the world. If you don't like what he says, turn the dial! Don Imus is not called a shock jock for nothing! Give it a rest and let's get on with life. Live free or die (ring any bells?)

Thursday, April 12, 2007 1:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are fortunate to live in a free speech part of the world. If you don't like what he says, turn the dial! Don Imus is not called a shock jock for nothing! Give it a rest and let's get on with life. Live free or die (ring any bells?)

Thursday, April 12, 2007 1:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out!

For anyone who doesn't know who Don Imus is, please close your laptop, turn off your ipod, and get out of your cave.

For the rest of the world...

I'm definitely tired of hearing about this. More notable people have said worse things and haven't had this much bad publicity. The thing that really gets me is the girl that claims she is scarred for life. I can gauran-damn-tee you that they're sitting in their locker room calling each other "nappy-headed ho" and laughing about it.

I'm no fan of Don Imus, and I don't think it's right, but it's being blown way out of proportion.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's one thing to make general statements about a person(s) race or sexual status, but quite another thing to focus them with laser clarity.

Imus made the mistake of actually singling out a specific target (the Rutgers team) for his racial and sexist remarks.

I'm not surprised that this could be the end of his career, just that there's still a debate about the reasons why.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 7:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the Reverend Al has so much to say and has the national spotlight, perhaps he can apologize to Steve Pagones or the three young men at Duke who were recently exonerated. If he doesn't want to be involved in those issues, maybe he could check out this link and make a comment about some real racemongering:

Thursday, April 12, 2007 7:28:00 PM  

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