Monday, 09 April 2007

DON IMUS AND POLITICALLY INCORRECT SLURS

Ken Berwitz

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 women.

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:

08 April 2007

Don Imus, Racist Comments Controversy, "Nappy-Headed Hos"

EVERYBODY'S DOING IT

With Walls Closing In On Imus, A Clintonian Defense Arises
Remember the "everybody's doing it" defense utilized whenever Bill Clinton was caught in a particularly troubling ethical fix?

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.

Your Radio 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 pass.


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.

Here, 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.

Had this 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.

Dumb Old Man Could it possibly be that it isn't that some persons have black skin, but have thin skin?? (04/11/07)

Jim Johnson I don't get it. I do volunteer work at a charity in the intercity at a food bank and daily hear blacks refer to others as N*****s. I get confused hearing a vocabulary from a group of people, referring to their own race with remarks that it is inapropriate for me to use. Why is this? I believe we should get along with our fellow but trying to be "politically correct" is getting extremely difficult. (04/11/07)

Gene Blogs I'm confused, I get exposed to my teenagers noise called music and everyone sings about HO"S and violence, it sells millions and millions hear it. But let one white person use the term HO, part of the black language, and everyone goes crazy. This is "much ado about nothing". (04/11/07)

jd If he had put a little rap music behind what he said he could have made a million dollars. It is time we stop letting the media dictate to us what is right and wrong, what is correct or incorrect, what is racist or not. Comments are made all day everyday about another race from the same race and nothing is said. Does it make it right? Stop pointing fingers and ingore things that don't matter. (04/11/07)

Larry Guess P&G and Staples will be 2 companies I will not be doing business with anymore. It is time for this type of thing to stop. (04/11/07)

blog frog how gives a rats ass about a bunch of tom boy ho's yes,,,nappy headed ho's playing a shitty game,,,,if anyone knew what most white people think about afro a gogo's,,,they would pack up and get back to there african roots,,,,in a hurry,,,,,don imus is an entertainer,,,,and i am really fucking pissed off that all whites are concidered racist when only the self titled nigerians,,,are screaming at us about our freedom of speech!!!!!!it will rip this contry apart,,,,come on all u white ,jews,,german christians,,,lets take our knowledge and get the fucking hell outta this country,,,,,fuck those nappy headed afro whatevers,,,,now and for good!!!!!!!im sicvk of all of it,,,i dont want to live around anymore racist brown,tan coca fuckers anymore!!!!!! peace ya'll. (04/11/07)

Kriquette Okay so let me just ask a question. If Steve Harvey had made this comment would we be hearing about this in national news, would he also have been censured? And pray tell where is the Christian charity? He has after all apologized. Is what he said awful yes, do we want to legislate speech? God I hope not. Has our own Jesse Jackson made racist comments, why yes I believe he has? Let him serve his suspension and then prove he is not the racist he made his self out to be and if you don't like him then don't listen to him. Why don't we start paying some attention to what is important, like our very own president and government lying to us on a daily basis, as well as relieving us of our constitutional right to privacy, and free speech! Wake up America, he's an butthead but he certainly isn't the only one or the worst! (04/11/07)

Joe Bloe Yeah, he was crude in saying what he did...that's a no brainer...he should be ashamed of himself and his unprofessionalism. He did not, however, plan his comments - it just "came out" much the same way garbage like that "comes out" from people in general related to race, religion, ethnicity, etc. Imus just got caught saying what he did, simple as that. For Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to once again jump on the racist bandwagon is a joke. Go back into the news archives and see what these two men have said and done to promote racisim, rather than squelch it. Yes, promoted it. (04/11/07)

Pam I have surfed around in the morning while having my coffee and stumbled on the Imus in the morning show. After only a times I quit stopping in on his show. I have heard him make several derogatory remarks againist women. His show is not funny and his format is not comedic. (04/11/07)

Bob Snow Okay, so it was in incorrect slur directed toward the Basketball team. What concerns me even more is this Sharpton guy who jumps on every bandwagon involveing race issues. We are fast becomming a country where Freedom of Speech and thought are in Jeopardy. One one had we castigate those who make jokes about race and on the other one sided arguement those same people used the "N" word consistently in their everyday language. It is a double standard. I hear black people calling each other "My Nigger" all day long and they think it is funny, but let a person of another race use it, and my God we better change the constitution to shut these white poeple up. The whole thing is sickening and disgusting and I do not mean the Imus comment. Over sensitivity and over politically correct are dangerous to this country and to "ALL" of it's people. Get over the Civil War slavery issue! None of us had a damn thing to do with it then and no one alive today suffer from it today. I think the SCLC and Mr. Sharpton should understand that they are creating a double edged sword and other races in this country are going to get fed up. Then more ground will be lost than gained in these constant battlelines in the sand drawn by the SCLS and idiots like sharpton and that other self apointed abassador to righteousness Jesse Jackson. These people are not healers, but cutters causing open wounds in the White American races. I note also that the network called BET (Black entertainment Television is going great. Well that is good and I have no problem with it. But I have a question. What if White {People decided to have a channel call WET or White Entertainment TV. Sharpton and Jackson would be the first on the pulpip yelling racism. Tell me I am wrong. Freedom of Speech no matter what the media, private or public needs to be protected. Political Correctness gone too far needs to be eliminated. We are and should be free thinking and free to speak people, all people, not just a bunch of klones who must be "Forced" to bend over at somebody elses liberal thinking, nation controlling whims. Thats all I have to say on that. (04/11/07)

MARK yes i would like to asy a cople of things about the racism thing with imus first i do not think the man made a mistake and he apology for it but it would a pear to be that BRUCE GORDON AND AL SHARPTON come out of the woodwork and right away talk about takein the mans job away well lets take there jobs away and see how they like it !!! that would not be to wise would it but the onty time you here from the two guys is when a RACE CARD NEED TO BE PLAYED then frount and center they come out and the other one is jessie jackson also in the card game the man aplogy leave him alone maybe the card players can do something about finding jods for people instead of trying to take them away from people i think that is time well spent. GET AWAY FROM THE CARD TABLE and get a real job MARK KELLER THANK YOU FOR YOU TIME (04/11/07)

cherylaggie When rapper Nas' wife Kelis spouted racial slurs at police it did not make the top news. She had no press repercussions at all. Imus is possibly losing his show (something I totally agree with someone as bigoted as he is should). . Yet, when a black person is bigoted everyone thinks it's okay. Well it's not okay. There is a double standard. When women are treated different than men, the old double standard is taken seriously. Why, Why, Why is there nothing being done about this???!!!!! (04/11/07)

Sandra56 Well Mr. Oh-So-Glib and Oh-So-Hip finally got his comeuppance. He's "crossed the line" so many times, but often the people he skewers don't have the time, inclination or money to mount a concerted offensive. This time the full clout of the African-American lobby has come down hard on Imus's skull...and rightfully so, although I think it's disingenuous of HymieTown Jackson or Rape The Taxpayers Tawana Brawley Sharpton to now act holier-than-thou toward Imus. The "Shock Jocks" are no longer shocking; they're simply sophomoric. What would truly be shocking would be a sometimes harsh, yet never vulgar approach to talk radio. Imus has had it coming for a long time and every single group he's ever offended can take a vicarious role in his current troubles. And you think this is bad...had a right-leaning commentator said what Imus had said, the backlash would have been 1,000 times more intense. (04/11/07)

KIM LACCETTI PLEASE... !! ALL THE BALCK MEN DO IS WRITE STUPID SONGS CALLING THEIR WOMEN HO'S ALL THE TIME. THEY SAY WORSE THINGS THAN WHAT IMUS SAID AND YET NO ONE IS MAKING A FUSS ABOUT THAT !! OMG PEOPLE GET A GRIP !! I BET THOSE GIRLS LISTEN TO ALL THAT HIP HOP SHIT CALLING WOMEN BITCHES AND HO'S BUT YET WHEN A WHITE MAN MAKES A REMARK THATS FAR LESS OFFENSIVE THEN WHAT IS IN BLACK RAPPERS MUSIC.. YOU WANT TO HANG HIM, TAKE AWAY HIS LIVELYHOOD AND PUT HIM THRU ALL THIS DRAMA. THATS WHY I CAN'T STAND NIGGERS !! WE HAVE EM IN EVERY RACE NOT JUST BLACKS. PEOPLE WHO TALK SHIT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE WORDS BUT YET LISTEN TO ALL THAT MUSIC IF THATS EVEN WHAT U CALL IT ARE NOTHING BUT HIPOCRITES !! YOU ALL ARE A BUNCH OF SHIT TALKING TWO SIDED BACK STABBERS. RIGHT ON IMUS !! IF THEY CAN CALL THEIR OWN WOMEN HO'S IN THEIR MUSIC WELL THEN IT'S OK FOR YOU TO CALL THEM HO'S TOO. THIS IS AMERICA AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH !! IF YOU ALL CAN'T HANDLE THE HEAT WELL THEN TAKE YOUR ASSES TO AFRICA WHERE U BELONG !! GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY IF U DON'T LIKE IT HERE !! (04/11/07)

Tony Don Imus made an unfortunate off the cuff remark, but I believe that he is a good person. I don't always agree with what he says and sometimes he makes me angry, but this is a COMEDY show. Persecuting him after he has abjectly apologized over and over is neither secularly charitable nor Christian. Just once I would like to see someone tell "Rev" Jesse "Greenmail" Jackson to bend down and kiss it. He has made far too much money extorting corporations using the race card. Corporate CEO's see it as cheaper to pay him $400- 500 thousand versus legal fees of $5 million even though they are in the right. I will forgo purchases from P & G, and I dumped my Staples stock this morning. (04/11/07)

g's Blog So you are beating up on IMUS and at the same time you let Howard Stern disrobe and debase women in general, and everyone thinks it is a great thing. Stern probably has too much money to fight him now. How screwed up does it get???? This really makes you all seem a bit less than intelligent, certainly it shows favoritism. (04/11/07)


THE GUY'S GOT GUTS.........

Ken Berwitz

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 you agree:

Top hurricane forecaster calls Al Gore a "gross alarmist"

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 work.

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 climate change.

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 hotter.


THE OBSCENITY OF IMUS (OR ANYONE) APOLOGIZING TO AL SHARPTON FOR RACISM

Ken Berwitz

"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 official.

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 conservative. 

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 sharpton.

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 Judy.....

(Anon) amen to all you say! i've long felt al sharpton was nothing but a racist fueling fire on the race situation! he should come down as hard or harder on the blacks that started the derogatory sexist remarks about their own women! for shame!!!!! (04/11/07)


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