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.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.
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.
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.
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.So, with everyone knowing that he didn't really use the "n-word", he still had to resign.
"Niggardly" means miserly and has no racial connotation.
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.Got that?
"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."
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!
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!