Monday, 09 April 2007
DON IMUS AND POLITICALLY INCORRECT SLURS
I assume most everyone knows that, last week, Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's
basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's". I think most people know that
this is nothing new, that Imus and his regulars have
a history of using vile stereotypes like this about many different groups, not just Black
I think many people know that, among other things (quite possibly including the end of
the Imus In the Morning show) his disgusting comment is spawning a truly
obscene event: this afternoon Imus will apologize for his
comment about the Rutgers team, on radio, to ............. al sharpton.
I will talk about how unbelievably depraved this is later today. But
for now, I want to put up an excellent commentary by radio personality Brian
Mahoney, who blogs at www.radioequalizer.blogspot.com/ .
He is dead on target - not only regarding Imus but regarding how and
why "the I-man" has ongoingly gotten away with such material until now:
Don Imus, Racist Comments
Controversy, "Nappy-Headed Hos"
EVERYBODY'S DOING IT
With Walls Closing In On Imus, A Clintonian Defense
Remember the "everybody's doing it" defense
utilized whenever Bill Clinton was caught in a particularly troubling ethical
Now, with the walls closing in around
him, fossil- talker Don Imus is
finding this very excuse used to explain away his bizarre on- air antics.
It may be too little, too late, however. Since
Friday, when it appeared Imus might survive his ill- considered "nappy- headed
hos" comment about the Rutgers women's basketball team, there is finally enough anger from activist groups to generate a firestorm.
With nervous affiliates and sponsors hanging
in the balance, his show may very well be winding down for good. In Boston, for
example, there are calls for his removal. And it may not look any better in New York, either.
Equalizer's position is this: it's hard to understand how Imus has
consistently been able to deliver the kind of extremist rhetoric that would
easily sink the careers of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and
others. As a mainstream media darling, Imus has long been issued a free
Given the I-Man's recent
track record, which could lend itself more to senility or drug use than
political incorrectness, it's hard to believe he would still have defenders. In
the mainstream media, however, the same environment that skewered Rush Limbaugh
for taking on Michael J Fox over his political campaigning is desperate to
provide cover for the John Kerry- supporting Imus.
interestingly enough, one New York Daily
News writer tries to tie this flap to Limbaugh's past controversies. Does
anything really compare to this, however?
For example, in the talk
fossil's darkest hour, riding to the rescue is Newsweek's Mark Starr, in this piece
seen at MSNBC's (!!) website:
What pretty much
anyone watching could see in that womens final was that Rutgers was
overmatched in almost every facet of the game, except possibly grit. And it
quickly became clear that the teams frantic effortit seemed to be trying too
hardwouldnt be enough even to keep it close.
But Don Imus apparently
saw something else. On his nationally syndicated radio show, Imus in the
Morning (simulcast on MSNBC TV), the reigning king of the radio talk show
empire revealed that instead of game upstarts, he saw in the Rutgers team a
bunch of nappy-haired hos. Imus, much like the Rutgers team he defamed, was
probably just overreaching, trying a little too hard to score with the
irreverent and edgy humor that is his trademark. He may even have known, as he
continued his tasteless riff, that he had crossed the line; that what he said
was inexcusable, shameless, racist claptrap.
But just because its inexcusable doesnt mean its
inexplicable. And while Imus should not be spared any blame, we are
undoubtedly complicit. It is our dubious taste that has spawned America's
prevailing entertainment culture. We have countenanced the insult industry
into which talk radio has devolved.
We have allowed humiliation
to become a centerpiece of network TV programming. And we encourage
cutting-edge humor, without much concern that women and minorities endure most
of those cuts. These dubious entertainments all share one currency: unabashed
delight in cruelty and debasement. And we the audience laugh and laugh and
laugh until somebody hits us over the head and we realizeor somebody tell us
that we should realizethat this time it was way out of line and actually not
all that funny.
Then, of course, we get all huffy playing gotcha. We
encourage these entertainers to walk a tightrope along the limits of good
taste and then, with unrestrained glee, pounce when they, inevitably, fall
off. Gotcha Imus, gonna make you squirm.
Of course, not all are
gotchas are quite as righteous as that one. Indeed gotcha can be a rather
cynical game. Earlier this week CBS basketball announcer's Billy Packer was
targeted, much like Imus, for comments he made in a TV interview with Charlie
Rose. After Rose joked about wanting to carry Packer's bags at the Final Four,
Packer retorted that he had heard it before from Rose, adding You always fag
out on that one for me.
Since that is the sketchy territory where Imus has
always operated with great success, he will almost certainly survive this
blunder. On Friday morning he got around to the business of a
carefully, crafted apology. It was completely inappropriate, and we can
understand why people were offended, Imus said on his morning show. Our
characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry." Imus is savvy enough to offer no excuses where none
would wash. But whats our excuse? Please someone explain to me our
insatiable appetite for the tasteless and the mean-spirited that assaults us
every day in the guise of entertainment.
Yes, according to Starr, we are to blame for Don's overt racism, in a
culture that encourages it. Is this really common language on talk radio,
however? No doubt this Newsweek scribe
doesn't spend much time listening to the medium.
Sorry, pal, there's
simply no way to use the "everybody's doing it" excuse here.
been an isolated incident for Imus, who turns 67 this year, he might have a
chance at salvaging his career. With one recent flap after another, however, it's time for this over- the- hill talker to
hang up his headphones.
THE GUY'S GOT GUTS.........
Here, to say the least, is a courageous dissent from what I will call
"Gorthodoxy" -- that is, adherence to the belief that everything al gore says
regarding climate is not only 100% correct but cannot be questioned. Well,
Mr. William Gray IS questioning it. And very impressively. See if
hurricane forecaster calls Al Gore a "gross
NEW ORLEANS A top hurricane
forecaster called Al Gore "a gross alarmist" for making an Oscar-winning
documentary about global warming.
"He's one of these guys that
preaches the end of the world type of things. I think he's doing a great
disservice and he doesn't know what he's talking about," William Gray said in an
interview Friday with The Associated Press at the National Hurricane Conference
in New Orleans, where he delivered the closing speech.
A spokeswoman said Gore was on a
flight from Washington, D.C., to Nashville Friday; he did not immediately
respond to Gray's comments.
Gray, an emeritus professor at the
atmospheric science department at Colorado State University, has long railed
against the theory that heat-trapping gases generated by human activity are
causing the world to warm.
Over the past 24 years, Gray, 77,
has become known as America's most reliable hurricane forecaster; recently, his
mentee, Philip Klotzbach, has begun doing the bulk of the forecasting
Gray's statements came the same day
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approved a report that concludes
the world will face dire consequences to food and water supplies, along with
increased flooding and other dramatic weather events, unless nations adapt to
Rather than global warming, Gray
believes a recent uptick in strong hurricanes is part of a multi-decade trend of
alternating busy and slow periods related to ocean circulation patterns.
Contrary to mainstream thinking, Gray believes ocean temperatures are going to
drop in the next five to 10 years.
Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient
Truth, has helped fuel media attention on global warming.
Kerry Emanuel, an MIT professor who
had feuded with Gray over global warming, said Gray has wrongly "dug (his) heels
in" even though there is ample evidence that the world is getting
THE OBSCENITY OF IMUS (OR ANYONE) APOLOGIZING TO AL SHARPTON FOR RACISM
"Al sharpton is scum. He is a charlatan, a
racist and an anti-semite.
Sharpton supports and has never disavowed the racist
anti-semitic louis farrakhan. He supported, and attended the funeral of,
khalid muhammad, the racist anti-semite who broke away from farrakhan to start
his own even more virulently hateful organization (in 1993, at Kean College
in New Jersey, muhammad called Jews "bloodsuckers", suggested there should be a
genocide against White people and, as an extra added attraction, attacked
homosexuals as well. Quite a role model).
Sharpton was one of the main perpetrators of the
racist tawana brawley hoax. He was one of the prime accelerants to what
eventually became the torching of Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem, which
resulted in 8 deaths. During the Crown Heights riots sharpton was the
guy screaming about Jewish "diamond merchants" so that any chance of
calming the situation down was irretrievably lost. Wherever there is an
opportunity to pour gasoline on a possible racial incident al sharpton is there
wth a five gallon drum."
I assure you that every word of the above quote is true. How do I
know? Because those are MY words, written months ago (January 26 to be
exact) right here.
Now let me ask you something: If you made a stupid, racially
insensitive comment, is this the man you would apologize to? I'll wait for
you to stop laughing at how ludicrous this question is.....
Suppose al sharpton decided to apologize for calling Fred Harari, the owner
of Freddy's Fashion Mart, a "White interloper"? Ok, I know that would
never happen - being a Black Democratic racist means never having to say you're
sorry, not with the current state of media in this country - but just
suppose. Who do you think he would apologize to?
Would sharpton seek out, say, a member of a white citizens' council? Or
someone from the aryan brotherhood? Of course not. Why? Because
you don't apologize for racism to a PRACTITIONER of racism. That doesn't
make any sense at all.
Which brings us to Don Imus and his
scheduled "apology" this afternoon on sharpton's radio show.
I am sitting here trying to come up with a rational explanation as
to why Imus would apologize to al sharpton for his racist, tasteless reference to Rutgers' women's basketball
team as "nappy-headed ho's". And the
only reason I can think of, sad to say,
is that media have made sharpton into so much of an icon that he's the go-to
guy for this kind of mea culpa, the one you come crawling to for it to be
I don't know of course, but I'd bet Imus thinks
that if he could just get al sharpton - who has demanded Imus be fired, by
the way - to relent and say "well, maybe we should give him another chance",
all would be fine and well again.
And, sickeningly enough, that might be true. Without a successful suckup to the racist sharpton I estimate that
it's a better than 50/50 chance Imus will be forced off the air in a matter of
months. Advertisers will drop him (ironically, for doing something he's
BEEN doing for years anyway) and high profile guests like Tim Russert will not
come on the air anymore (why they were coming on UNTIL the "nappy-headed ho's"
outrage is a question for the ages).
If Imus had made this comment without his rich history of offensive "humor",
I would be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. I've done
TV and radio and, while I have never made a serious gaffe, I know I'm always one
rash or off-guard moment away from it. People sometimes say things
they wish they hadn't and/or say things with a tonality they didn't mean.
It's part of the human condition.
But let's be honest; Imus and his regulars have been doing over the top
"humor" like this for many years. It isn't a one-time-only event, it
is business as usual. The difference now is that people finally got angry
enough to make something of it.
Tell you what, Don: If you want to apologize to someone on the radio,
apologize to Herman Cain. Cain is a Black man who started with nothing and
became one of the most inspiring success stories you will ever come across --
assuming you DO come across his story, given that Cain is a political
Since I suspect most of you don't know a thing about Herman Cain, and you
certainly won't find about about him from mainstream media (you haven't so
far, have you?), I'll help out here. Read his biography at http://www.answers.com/topic/herman-cain and
see for yourself.
THIS is a man who Imus should be speaking to, not the likes of al
UPDATE: A good friend just pointed out something
that, although obvious, had eluded me until she mentioned it: Why the
hell isn't Imus apologizing to the Rutger's women's basketball team? It
seems to me (now that it has been called to my attention) that they would be the
first and primary object of Imus' contrition. Thanks