Thursday, April 12, 2007
Imus In The Dustbin
Don Imus used to be on radio in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, but was replaced three or four years ago, I guess because of ratings. I listened to him pretty often, because he had quite a few political and media personalities on his show that could be heard no where else--or maybe not very often. He has a (usually) good sense of humor and had a lot of really funny comedy bits on the show.
Over a week ago now, Imus told a joke that was not well-received by the left, by the so-called black leadership and by the Rutgers University women's baxabaw team. The Rutgers women, of course, have every reason to be angry and hurt--or, they might just consider the source: a fairly articulate but not overly intelligent talk show host of whom they've never previously heard. Then, they could chuckle derisively and move on.
One thing that disturbed me is the quote I heard from one of the athletes, whose name wasn't given (apparently athletes are considered interchangeable sub-beings in leftist msm circles): "His statement diminishes our achievement," or words to that effect. Either this young woman is mining for tv face time and a possible lawsuit and book deal, or she's taking Don Imus and his clumsy attempt at a joke way too seriously. Everybody gets insulted from time to time. These young ladies, like all athletes, have suffered far worse countless times in the arenae of their opponents.
There's no doubt that Imus' firing is justified. He's used racial and ethnic insults for a long time, against many ethnicities. The object of most of his insults were politicians and other individuals in the public eye, and were delivered along with some occasionally justified criticism of their behavior. This time, however, he insulted a group of young college athletes who are not in the public eye, except for their identity as a sports team. A winning sports team, who were runners-up in the national women's college basketball championship. Certainly this group doesn't deserve, individually, or as a group, to be called "nappy-headed hos." Imus' sponsors ran away from him, and his radio and tv networks saw the writing on the wall. All this as the result of the accusatory blatherings of (mostly) a couple of hypocritical charlatans, pseudo-preachers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, whose own personal histories are more than a little checkered in the area of racial and ethnic bigotry.
I stop short of regarding this appellation racist, though, for a couple of reasons. First, not all of the Rutgers female baxabaw players are black. I distinctly spotted two white faces in their team photo. Second, I'm continually hearing these and other epithets, some worse, used by blacks--not only in face-to-face interaction, but in movie and tv dialog and most often, in music lyrics. Words and phrases used that routinely in public discourse an hardly be the stuff of racial insult. In an old pop tune, Stevie Wonder referred to his younger self as a "nappy-headed boy."
What I now worry about is that every actor, journalist, talk show host or other celebrity being discredited or otherwise condemned for a careless word or phrase. Or maybe, if this nascent crusade goes far enough (and it might) even result in condemnation of the average person who's heard to tell an off-color or ethnic joke in the wrong company. If you've ever attended a sexual harassment lecture, you realize what might happen and how easily it can happen.
As that sweet lush, Joan Rivers , often says, "Oh, grow up!"
Remember the First Amendment, and keep it wholly.