Friday, April 13, 2007

Nappy-Headed Hos

So, radio talk-show host Don Imus has been fired for saying the Rutger's Women's basketball team is a bunch of "nappy-headed hos" (which means, "wooly-haired whores").

I never listened to Imus, because what little I heard of it was boring as hell. I never found him particularly astute or entertaining, and had no idea why he ever had an audience.

But hey, if there was a market for it, I didn't care that he was on the air.

And if there isn't a market for it because suddenly nobody likes him anymore and finds his cantankerous insults unappealing, the corporate overlords have every right to yank the show.

I'm all for judging people. I said it just a few days ago here, in fact!
we can all counter this culture of equivalence and non-judgment, by starting to judge.

Yes, judge others -- but this is not a license to harm them. Rather, use your judgment and discrimination (there's a word that has to be reclaimed from having a purely negative meaning!) to determine with whom you will continue to associate and respect.
In the best of all possible worlds, people would have had enough good taste that Imus never would have gotten a national show in the first place.

But, there's something else going on here that is terrifying in its wrongness.

Note in my quote above, I said the point was not to do harm.

The mature thing to have done, would be for everyone to just tune him out, if -- if! -- what he did was so unspeakably awful, and let the market do its work.

Instead, the likes Oprah and Obama added to the week-long calls for Imus to be fired, just for doing what everyone knows is his usual schtick of mere insulting words. They were jumping on a bandwagon, and following a virtue fad, instead of being leaders of courage.

Otherwise, they would have said something like
Who the hell is Imus that anyone cares what he says of them? Is our self-esteem so shallow that this professional fool can hurt us with mere words?
I mean, you'd think Imus had physically beaten small children, kittens, and puppies half to death with a rubber hose (a nappy-headed hose?) the way people were reacting!

Nobody got too bent out of shape when he once called someone a "boner-nosed beanie-wearing Jewboy." Or, also according to the Wall Street Journal, when he called the New York Knicks "chest-bumping pimps."

Because who cares? It's not like Imus is an elected official, in which case discussion of his keeping his job would be totally appropriate, or some "role model."

Just turn it off if it's stupid and it will go away.

See, this is not really a case of virtue and good taste suddenly arising in the hearts of millions of radio listeners, through a process of self-development and reflection, which is what I am calling for.

Rather, this rejection of Imus is a faux-"virtue" imposed by authoritarians, according to arbitrary and capricious whims. Simply because the women on the team, and especially the coach, claimed their feelings were really, really hurt! Boo-hoo!

What they wanted instead, was a spectacle. They wanted to harm. They wanted to have a media circus, full of rounds of unaccepted apologies (not very Christian!), weepy news conferences, and the arrival of those paragons of truth and virtue, shakedown-artists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

And would people just stop apologizing for everything? I also said we should own our vices. Imus should have said something like,
I get paid to insult people because there's a market for it, and that's the nasty kind of whore I am, and what's wrong with you that you care what I say?
I recall once back at University in the late 80s, being at my club, during a controversy when some student was making a "statement" by burning an American flag. A reporter from the campus paper stopped by to get a reaction from the head of one of the conservative student groups, who was also a member of my club. I don't know the final wording, but they were trying to come up with something along the lines of "just because you have a right doesn't mean you should use it."

I thought that was the wrong answer, but I didn't know those people and wasn't very political at the time so I didn't make my own suggestion. But instead, I recall thinking they should have said something like,
The Young Republicans fully support this student's right to display his sophomoric ignorance and stunning lack of originality to the whole community.
Mocking it steals the thunder. It was meant to provoke, so should have been deftly sidestepped, robbing it of all its force.

That's what should have happened here.

Instead, though I applaud whatever development of better judgment in the tastes of American consumers has taken place, terrible precedents are being set.

How dangerous if the mere claim of hurt feelings -- from mere nasty words! -- from the victim-group du jour can dictate policy and what kinds of speech we can use!

It's easy to support the removal of Imus if casual insults are not your kind of humor. But having once established that certain types of humor are not allowed to be consumed by free adults, there's no stopping an erosion of all discourse in principle.

If only these self-appointed guardians of our sensitivities spent 1/10th of this effort on exposing and deploring the kinds of words that call for the destruction of our Constitutional way of life by introducing koranic sharia law and inciting the use of violence against our infidel society.

Instead of worrying about silly meaningless words tossed off by an entertainer. Words that are hardly as insane and corrosive as Rosie O'Donnell declaring 9/11 was a government conspiracy -- to audience applause! -- which if enough people believe, could literally lead to the collapse of our civilization.

I saw the Rutgers coach on CNN's Paula Zahn the other day, and she was saying shocking things like "nobody has a right" to say such things! Can you imagine? No right to say certain words!
Some of them [the players] wiped away tears as their coach, C. Vivian Stringer, criticized Imus for "racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable, abominable and unconscionable."
You'd think he had physically raped them or something. What is this Dianification of our society? Butch up!

They wanted Imus dragged through the streets in a tumbrel cart, and put in the stocks to be pelted with rotten eggs as a focus of public rage.

Wasn't it always the "progressives" who deplored such mob fury in society? What with their books like the Crucible and references to witch hunts and McCarthyism -- except there were, in fact, communist spies highly placed in our government, giving critical secrets to Uncle Joe.

But, those treasonous commies never called anybody such a terrible name as nappy-headed ho!

Hmm, Nappy-headed Ho, Nappy-headed Ho...kind of has a ring to it. Rolls off the tongue.

As a turn of phrase, meant to be insulting, I actually admire it. Nice sound to it. Punchy. Effective.

Nappy-Headed Ho.

Say it while you're still allowed!

Think the "slippery slope" argument is mere hysteria? We've already slid down the slope. Consider the Kafkaesque case of David Howard, who had to resign as aide to Washington, DC's mayor, for using the word "niggardly":
city employees were offended that the aide used the word "niggardly" in describing how he would have to manage a fund's tight budget.
"Niggardly" means miserly and has no racial connotation.
So, with everyone knowing that he didn't really use the "n-word", he still had to resign.

Because people were offended, and obviously over a complete irrationality. They could have just as easily gotten him fired for saying "banana" and claiming it hurt their racial sensitivity somehow! Because we've established the actual meaning of the word isn't what counts!

But wait, it gets worse!

He was rehired after a month, but only after his "re-education" was complete:
Howard, 44, said yesterday that he never felt "victimized" but that the experience has given him "a certain awareness" he did not have before the incident occurred.

"I just feel very pleased that this whole thing has a silver lining," he said. "The silver lining is that this has led to a discussion that can help everyone understand each other better. . . . I used to think it would be great if we could all be colorblind. That's naive, especially for a white person, because a white person can't afford to be colorblind."
Got that?

Everyone admits he wasn't fired for being racist. In fact, he was fired for not being sufficiently racist! Or at least, racist in the right kind of patronizing way.

Now he can come back to work, acutely aware of everyone's color and the requirements to treat them differently because of it.

In other words, his crime was not to have slurred black people, but to have failed to realize that black people are apparently not only ignorant and illiterate and have no idea what the word niggardly really means, but that black people are incapable of being educated to understand normal proper English! Isn't that simply disgusting?

Now, Mr. Howard knows to enable the infantilization of an entire race by treating them like easily-offended idiots, instead of like normal adult human beings.

Welcome back to the insane asylum, David!

Make sure you stay on top of the latest fads of the authoritarian virtue police!

Nappy-Headed Ho!

I can't stop saying it!!!

Or is it "Nappy-Headed Hoes"? There seems to be disagreement on the proper plural form of "ho." I'll use the form that parallels the usage in the pastry treat, Hostess Ho-Hos.

Ho-Hos? Uh-ohs! My food is racist!

My re-education has taught me that the word Ho-Hos might be misconstrued by imbeciles, so we had best change it. But, Hostess being the San Francisco Treat, maybe it gets a pass for living in a duly-approved "progressive" area.

Or, we could all go into stores and ask where we can find Nappy-Headed Ho-Hos!


Blogger Ken said...

Since the days are numbered where people can to say the words "nappy headed hos", I thought I'd substitute this with a new saying... Nappy Headed Moes. I created my own pictorial/editorial at if interested. Thats about as serious as I can take this whole fiasco.

2:11 PM, April 13, 2007  
Anonymous alienmist said...

I thought you said in your earlier post that the western values include respect and valuing of women and children.

These women do not deserve to be called hos by anyone...

why should people be insulted for public entertainment?

3:24 AM, April 16, 2007  
Blogger RDS said...

You're absolutely right, they do not deserve it, and Don Imus has very bad values to have called them that!

And as I said, I'd be very happy if everyone decided that insulting the innocent wasn't funny, and that Don Imus never had an audience and never got a radio show in the first place. And if he has no audience, then there's no point in keeping him in his job.

What I object to, is the bigger picture of a small group of elites deciding what words are allowed and which aren't, and using authoritarian measures to enforce it.

The media elites have chosen something that really is rather silly to get enraged about (compared with other more serious things), so I am mocking their fake outrage. I suspect these elites have an underlying political motive to be able to censor whomever they don't like, and that sets a bad precedent for that other very important western value: freedom of speech.

I may be happy with the end result, but it's not worth the means they used to achieve it.

I'm hoping that virtue grows from within, and people reject Imus of their own accord.

Just taking him off the air removes responsibility from the audience -- the public -- to reject him themselves.

11:28 PM, April 16, 2007  
Blogger The_Bad said...

Funny how “deserve” comes into play on this subject.

Did the families of the victims of 9/11 “deserve” to be called “little Eichmans”?

Did the 9/11 terrorists “deserve” to be called “brave” by Bill Maher? (A comment that got him a better-paying job)

Did Al Gore “deserve” an Oscar for his completely inaccurate piece of filth?

Did Michael Moore “deserve” that fifth Big-Mac in one sitting?

Who gives a good rat’s ass what those nappy-headed basketball-playing women “deserve” from a radio personality. Free speech is either free or it isn’t. Free marketplace determines what is relevant.

“why should people be insulted for public entertainment?”

Ask Shakespeare you boob! Go back to sleep – you’re already mucking up the gene pool just by breathing.

12:43 AM, April 17, 2007  
Anonymous alienmist said...

A reply to the_bad,

Since when did shakespeare become the standard for everyday behaviour? Your kinder-garten grade comments force me to dismiss you and comments and you can continue with your insults if your's upto you

Back to more serious issues.. the freedom of speech has to have its limits..

So if your are really for the freedom of speech why are so galled by michael moore.

Using your arguments then the terrorists who spew crap on video should be given a chance to publicly air their views...

First fill the holes in your logic and then engage in a proper debate.

Political correctness has to be avoided at all costs, but that does not mean we should take the other extreme..a society without limits on what can be said and done.

7:12 AM, April 17, 2007  
Blogger RDS said...

alienmist doesn't always seem to follow the details of my arguments the first time through (English might not be his/her first language), but the questions are always honest rather than trollish. I would hate to see two regular readers waste time in a flame war. Neither the_bad nor I, however, rightly have any patience with true trolls!

alienmist, we do have some limits on speech and behavior, but they are restricted only to such things as would cause actual, lasting harm -- such as physical violence, or against speech that is a lie that harms someone's reputation (libel and slander laws).

In this case, clearly everyone knows Imus has no rational basis for actually suggesting these women are literally "hos" or whores, and so nobody in their right mind would take it seriously, so there is no libel.

All that happened was their feelings were hurt. Now I agree it takes a small, nasty man to hurt the feelings of women for profit, but they should be able to shrug it off. Otherwise, if just having your feelings hurt is ruled out-of-bounds, we will become terribly constrained in what we can say, and subject to the whims of whatever victim group is anointed by the PC elites.

Satire has a long history of absolute protection in this country.

From, Satire is: "the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc." Furthermore,
"Lampoon refers to a form of satire, often political or personal, characterized by the malice or virulence of its attack."

There is a difference between what should officially be enforced by the power of the State, and then what is considered in "good taste" by the unoffocial standards of society.

I'd be happy for society to decide Imus isn't good in picking his targets for satire and lampoon, and choosing to not listen to him -- but we need to be able to retain those tools (satire and lampoon) at full strength to use against more deserving targets like politicians. That is an old American tradition.

As I tried to explain above, the notion that "just because you have a right doesn't mean you should use it" is somewhat dangerous, because a right nobody can use is no right at all. My view instead is that Imus should freely have the right to let the world know what kind of person he is, and then we all have the responsibility to judge whether we find him, on the whole, entertaining or informative to listen to -- and the market will speak. But I'd prefer to not have such decisions made for all of us by a small group of self-appointed guardians of virtue.

12:14 PM, April 17, 2007  
Anonymous alienmist said...

I fully understand your arguments or at least try to. I agree with some of them and comment on the ones I do not agree on. And you are right english is not my first language but I do have good command of the language.

I reacted to an insult from a reader, I did not provoke anyone I just wrote my thoughts about the issue.

The reason why the media companies acted on this guy maybe selfish and perhaps more for financial reasons rather than due to morality. It may be unintentional but it work nonetheless.

I do agree that media censorship is most times ridiculous and unfair desicrated Jesus Vs mohammed images. But you should not throw away the baby with the bath water.. some form of media regulation is necessary though the form it takes is up for discussion.

I have to admit I do not fully comprehend how your society works. I also have to admit if find it strange that african-americans use words that they do not want anybody else to use.

2:15 PM, April 17, 2007  
Blogger RDS said...


Yes, you do express yourself clearly, and I appreciate your questions, because I know you are probing to understand our unusual society! It's good to get another chance to try to convince you of my views in the comment section, but I realize I will not always be successful -- I can't even get half of Americans to agree with me! :)

Thanks for reading.

9:22 PM, April 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now we have an Asian American calling for the firing of 2 New York radio Jocks for calling a Chinese restaurant and using the term"chicken flied lice" in their skit.
Why are people so offended these days. I know why. It's called the bandwagon syndrome.
You know. I'm offended every day of my life. I'm offended that certain people of color have privilege that I will never see. Don't blame me that they don't take advantage of it.
I'm offended that every single thing that someone says is taken out of context. I've been called everything but a white man by black men in my time, including the word nigger.
You weak minded people that are so offended really need to take a step back and think about who your forefathers were and the struggles they endured so you could belong to a free society. I'm pretty damn offended right now. I get offended every time I drive through Detroit and have to fear for my life because some gangbangin assholes are standin on the street corner in front of the carry out slinging dope. I'm offended by the piles of garbage and the rabid pit bulls and rotweilers that inhabit our inner city alleys. I'm offended by those in poverty that blame everyone else but themselves for their misfortune. I'm offended and take it personally when some maniac drives by me at 100 mph risking my families life.
Not really, but hopefully you see my point.
America is fast going down the tubes.....and I'm pretty damn offended.

5:57 PM, April 25, 2007  

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