Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don Imus is a Pig

Of course he is and what of it? Should he be fired? I suspect he will be sent off to Purgatory for a suitable amount of time and then come back, or part of him will. He will be lessened as a result, possibly to the point that his career will wind down and blink out sometime soon. I'll watch this with semi-detached interest because I view Imus, and his cast of regular creeps, as a symptom rather than the disease.

There are mean and nasty elements that make up not just our society but each of us individually. We are the sum of our parts and a moral life is built, not on those parts being perfect, but by trying to stay on the path of being a better and kinder person all the way to the end. we try to cast out the parts we don't like, the mean thoughts, the unkind actions, the little things that add up to less of a good person than we could be "If Only".

Don Imus is a jerk in a really big way. he also does a ton of work for charity. People close to him talk incessantly about the good things he does and how much he cares for people. He also carries a concealed weapon, as folks who have hugged him have noticed. Harold Ford Jr. spoke of his own discomfort at this revelation after Imus handed Harold a very generous Senatorial campaign donation. This is an example of normal human contradiction carried to caricature. It is present in all of us to some degree.

MSNBC will no doubt sacrifice Imus, more or less. I doubt they will permanently fire him. There's money involved and our media is for sale. Conservatives know this and it is the only way conservatives can survive. They must pay handsomely in order for their inconceivably hateful message to exist. Conservatism uses bigotry by providing it a haven. Our American media has sold it's soul for profit and has abdicate its Constitutional responsibilty for fairness and accuracy. Only a few Corporations control the vast majority of the media outlets. The Iraq war, our loss of Constitutional freedoms, and electorate stupidity on the issues of science and climate change are only symptoms of the loss of our free press. The question is whether we can get accuracy back as an American ideal...or not.

In the interest of "Accuracy" it is imperative that we understand during this current flap that bigotry is not about hatred...Bigotry is about fear. It is about insecurity. Al Sharpton calling for Don Imus's scalp is not going to end bigotry. Sharpton's actions will not do that. So far, I haven't seen one singe leader step forward to drive out racial fear. It won't make as good a headline, so what we'll see is sharpton and other high profile blacks yammering about the "Evils of Racism" instead of doing something that will actually help end racism.

I've thought about Don Imus and frankly I don't like him or his show and I really don't like the creeps he keeps on the payroll who are so much worse than he is that they make him look moderate by comprison. Imus says he wants to go talk to the Rutgers women basketball team and apologize in person. Bold as that seems to be, it is a cop out.

Until Don Imus feels a personal revulsion at the lack of kindness in the act of someone...Anyone.. calling a young black girl a "nappy-headed 'Ho", there will be no end to racism and bigotry.

I wouldn't punish Don Imus by suspending or firing him. I would have him serve as the towel boy for every practice and every game for the Rutgers women next season. Racism and bigotry will only end when people like Imus quit being afraid. He should face his fear by serving people he is not the same as. Different people are simply different. We can't hate them for that.

It is the unkindness in people we should hate. And this is what we can change if we so choose




  1. Anonymous1:15 PM

    It is strange that you talk about conservatives diminishing the constitution with one side of your mouth while condeming the exercising of an individual's right to free speech with the other side. Please don't support over-political correctness! Political correctness is a major problem in America and is a direct liberal attack on the constitution. I don't think Imus should apologize for anything - he said something that was edgy, and many people don't agree with it, but just because he is different does not make it wrong, and he should not be ashamed for voicing his (liberally-speaking) unpopular opinion. Buying into this ideology is just feeding the fire for fear - it has become so bad that nobody can say anything that may be offensive to someone else (even in a joking manner). Imus would have my respect more if he just stood up for what he said instead of becoming a slave to the politcally correct disease of this country.

  2. Someone this morning was saying that because the public own the airwaves used by broadcast media (but not cable, not sat radio), then Imus should be fired for what he said. The logic of that escaped me, unless the speaker meant that what people say on the air needs to be within the limits of what the majority believes. With which I have a real problem. I think free speech means free speech, not free nice speech, or free unhurtful speech.

    We are used to living in a country where people resort daily to real nastiness, incivility and meanness. Online. On the road. In political discussions. At sports events. In schools. That's the problem. The incivility etc. isn't going to go away because we chase it into other spheres like cable and XM, but only if more of us stop rewarding people for being nasty proudly and in public. I have never heard Imus but I think he's put himself in the same category as, say, Rush and O'Reilly and many, many others who have lowered -- yea destroyed -- public debate. They're there not because we've failed to stop them but because they have a huge and profitable audience, tolerant and greedy producers and sponsors to whom nastiness and lies pay big bucks.

    It's not so much that I agree warmly with Anonymous (above) but I believe that proscribing Imus for his hurtful remarks doesn't do damn thing to stop cruddy people from saying cruddy things It just tends to have the effect of handing those in authority tools with which to curb any speech they find inconvenient. Can you imagine a major network countenancing someone denegrating the products of major corporate advertisers? Why, if these are "public airwaves," are they already so limited in what they will say and do?

    I don't see getting all mad at Imus will do a darn thing to turn us into a nicer, gentler, more civilized nation. And with respect to the content of what Imus said, I think we are obsessed with maintaining our delineations among people -- something very noticeable if you return to live in the US from elsewhere. We seem obsessed with (in no particular order!), gender differences, skin color differences, cultural differences, sexual preference differences and much more. Why? If we were less obsessed with focusing on differences, would we be less apt to throw insults at each other? I think so.

  3. Let me point out that all I have proposed is a prescription for helping the Rutgers women get over the hurt intentionally caused by Don Imus. I never ever proposed anything related to his free speech.

    Imus is free to be a racist creep and I'm free to point it out.

  4. Anonymous11:50 AM

    I hope you don't think my comment was critical of yours. Rather, it was a generalized rant after reading a lot of pious nonsense elsewhere. I shoulda held my tongue, or bit my byte, or pixel, or whatever! Bob Herbert in today's (4/16) NYTimes says it beautifully, and angrily, and with greater relevance than I could summon!