April 13, 2007

FREE IMUS (kidding)

Don Imus - history of stupid, racist, offensive comments. I also always thought he just plain sucked. One could argue (and I think I will) the reason he's in trouble and people love Howard Stern is that Stern is often hilarious while Imus is about as funny as his colostomy bag (am I going to get fired for that comment?). The phrase "nappy headed ho's" carries little amusement or mirth in 2007 not because it's more offensive than things Stern, Dave Chappelle or a lot of other folks say, but because it's just stupid and ugly-sounding. That's my take on it.
So, should Imus have been fired? Put a different way, should Imus be singled out? Is that really accomplishing anything? Is it fair? I know he's a repeat offender but so are a lot of other folks, on radio and elsewhere. Would you have shredded your American Express card if they continued to advertise on Imus? Not me. Who cares? If you want to consistently rebuke this kind of material and fire the people who make offensive jokes, fine. So are we going to crack down across the board on racist/racial humor? How can you even possibly be consistent about it?
Why Imus? I think a lot of grandstanding and opportunism is going on.
Imus said a lot of terrible things along the way, so believe me I am not lamenting his downfall. Maybe it sets an example for others, keeps people on their toes, raises the level of discourse.
Any thoughts out there? I'd like to hear from our listeners. We're talkin' bout the First Amendement, bitches! (copyright Dave Chapelle)


Anonymous said...

I am glad about how NBC handled the hate speech. It seems like Zucker and Capus (news president) really listened to their employees and that the decision came from that. Advertisers were jumping ship, but I still think the inner discontent here was more than they wanted. So that's a good thing

I think the brouhaha is too much, though, and NBC has contributed to it.
I also get a little confused when the media talks about the the "victims"
of hate speech. Should we really be seeing these tough young black women, who are great role models, as victims of some lame talk show host? Do they see themselves as victims? What would Malcom X or MLK say about that?


Anonymous said...

If this leads to the downfall of Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, then I think it's great. I don't know if that will happen, but maybe it's a sign that people are growing weary of all the bigoted stupid commentary? It also might make them check their tongues a bit. That could be one benefit. Otherwise I agree - people are making a hopelessly big deal out of it. And I agree that someone who is actually funny can get away with a lot more...


Anonymous said...

I'm finding it hard to swallow that Al Sharpton has so much power that he can get somebody fired. Tiwana Brawley anyone? While Imus' statements were awful, hateful and just plain ridiculous, I think there were more effective ways that this wrong could have been remedied rather than firing him. Imus has a high enough profile in the community where he could have used his platform in very positive ways, instead of just walking him to the guillotine. There also is a fair amount of hypocrisy relating to this. I mean, while I never have watched Imus' tv or radio show, I thought he brought up a good point while he was on Sharpton's radio program when he questioned why Sharpton was not similarly outraged at the hip hop rap community that encourages hateful and derogatory stereotypes of its community and probably has done more damage to young black women's images than Imus' stupid comments ever would. Opportunism and grandstanding indeed.


Anonymous said...

Had this been 10-20 years ago, the story would have been over after one day. Bottom line is that between all the 24-hour TV news outlets, talk shows, Internet sites, blogs, YouTube, radio stations, print media etc. these stories will always be blown out of proportion. Heck, everytime I heard him say it I seemed to develop a new opinion!

It's no different that the Anna Nicole story - I just read a report that compared the amount of time devoted to Anna Nicole in the last month as compared to Iraq. It wasn't like 3 to 1, it was 35 to 1! These stories are easy for the populace to digest. Meanwhile the media let real issues of racism slowly disappear (like Katrina) and instead focus on one old man's ill attempt at humor. This is a scary new world.


Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure NBC deserves much credit for making a stand or claiming to be so offended. The reality is that once advertisers bailed out, they had enough. It seems to me that it was all about the $$, regardless of how offended they now claim to be. After all, look at what he has said in the past (from Slate), with not one word from the broadcasting executives:

On blacks:

"William Cohen, the Mandingo deal." (Former Defense Secretary Cohen's wife is African-American.)

"Wasn't in a woodpile, was he?" (Responding to news that former black militant H. Rap Brown, subsequently known as Abdullah Al-Amin, was found hiding in a shed in Alabama after exchanging gunfire with police.
Imus is here alluding to the expression "nigger in the woodpile.")

"Knuckle-dragging moron." (Description of basketball player Patrick

"We all have 12-inch penises." (After being asked what he has in common with Nat Turner, Malcolm X, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Latrell Sprewell from the New York Knicks, and Al Sharpton.)

"Chest-thumping pimps." (Description of the New York Knicks.)

"A cleaning lady." (Reference to journalist Gwen Ifill, possibly out of pique that she wouldn't appear on his show. "I certainly don't know any black journalists who will," she wrote in the April 10 New York Times. The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page used to appear, but after he made Imus pledge not to make offensive comments in the future, he was never asked back.)

On Jews:

"I remember when I first had [the Blind Boys of Alabama] on a few years ago, how the Jewish management at whatever, whoever we work for, CBS, or whatever it is, were bitching at me about it. [...] I tried to put it in terms that these money-grubbing bastards could understand."

"Boner-nosed ... beanie-wearing Jewboy." (Description of Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, a frequent guest.)

On women:

"That buck-tooth witch Satan, Hillary Clinton." [...] "I never admitted it when I went down there and got in all that big jam, insulting Bill Clinton and his fat ugly wife, Satan. Did I? Did I ever say I was sorry for that?"

On Native Americans:

"The guy from F-Troop, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell." (This is a reference to the zany Indian characters on the 1960s TV sitcom F-Troop.
They had names like "Roaring Chicken," "Crazy Cat," and "Chief Wild

On Japanese:

"Old Kabuki's in a coma and the market's going up. [...] How old is the boy? The battery's running down on that boy." (Reference to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who died the following week.)

On gays:

"I didn't know that Allan Bloom was coming in from the back end."
(The homosexuality of the author of The Closing of the American Mind became widely known when Saul Bellow published Ravelstein, a novel whose protagonist was based on Bloom, who by then was deceased.)

"The enormously attractive [NBC political correspondent] Chip Reid, I can say without being accused of being some limp-wristed 'mo."

On the handicapped:

"Janet Reno's having a press conference. Ms. Reno, of course, has Parkinson's disease, has a noticeable tremor. [...] I don't know how she gets that lipstick on (laughter) looking like a rodeo clown."


Anonymous said...

Apparently, some right-wingers think that the Imus firing was a conspiracy by PC liberals that was orchestrated in order to pave the way for firing Rush Limbaugh.

Here is the link in Salon. I think you can get a free "day pass if
you're not a subscriber: