Thursday, April 12, 2007

I won't miss Imus

Am I the only one who didn't follow this story at all? Imus is a jerk. Like we didn't know that already? He's been making a living at it for over forty years.

Yeah what he said was ugly, but the world can be a ugly place. Always has been. When I was a kid, a very long time ago, we used to have little chants to deal with these situations. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Later we modernized it to: I'm rubber. You're glue. Everything you say, bounces off of me and sticks to you. Words only have as much power to hurt, as one gives them.

Ana Marie Cox adds something unsaid to the discussion and Michael J.W. Stickings rounds up some reactions that still matter but I think Jim, my new partner here is on the right track. I tried to watch Imus once. It was a boring and stupid program. I fulfilled my need not to be offended, by never watching it again. My television remote has this handy channel-changer for just such a purpose.

Surely, none but like-minded cretins would excuse or condone Imus' remarks. I certainly don't. Nor do I condone any of the many and subtle forms of bigotry that poison our society, but we have bigger problems. It drives me crazy when a stray slur from a die-hard bigot can dominate the news cycle for so long, while there are so many more important events that should be occupying our attention.

It's time to move on and stop making Imus a hero to his remaining hatemongering fans. The answer is as simple as the ryhmes of my childhood. If you don't like what's he's saying -- don't listen. There's no better way to disempower a bully than to ignore him.

Libby Spencer

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Blogger Kathy said...

I wonder why Imus has suddenly become the whipping boy for bad behavior. Our society has been excusing Limbaugh, Coulter, Fox News, politicians and other celebrities who are equally offensive.

I'm no fan of Imus, but if he goes, then so should the others. It would certainly go a long way toward changing the tone of what's passed for civil discourse in this country over the past decade.

1:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem is that if he and the others go, who decides when the people you agree with go. discussion, debate and free speech are not to be singularly determined.

i read great column where the author states that the market took care of the imus situation,

i'm not sure if he is right or wrong but he makes some great points

check itout

1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The answer is as simple as the ryhmes of my childhood. If you don't like what's he's saying -- don't listen.

I'm not sure I agree. I've never seen Imus' show, nor heard it. But what he said about college women disgusted me. I mean, picking on Hillary Clinton or George Bush or the phony maverick McCain or breck girl John Edwards is one thing. But to target his bigoted filth at college women who never exptected it, a sneak attack like that is appalling.

As was pointed out in the basketball teams press conference, none of these women are ho's.

They are valedictorians and role models sisters and daughters.

If this blunder costs Imus his job, that's fine by me. And I applaud those who are out there calling for his head.

1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I can't figure it Kathy. I really never listened to his show outside of the ten minutes I spent once when I stumbled on it while channel surfing. He used to be a DJ for a music station in NYC when I kid. He was a jerk then too. I never listened to him then either but I have a feeling he's said worse things than calling some college kids ho's. Why now and why only him? Damn if I know.

Mia, I agree that we can't eliminate bigotry by forcibly shutting up its spokespeople. Unfortunately these folks have an audience because somebody agrees with them. That won't stop just because they're no longer on the air and being a strong First Amendment supporter, I'm afraid I support their right to be jerks. That doesn't mean I have to like it or support their work. I'm certainly not calling for him to be fired.

Which I guess sort of answers your comment Mid-west. Yeah it was a horrible thing to say and untrue. Since when has that stopped a bigot from spewing their bile into the street or onto the airwaves? Those girls will be lucky if that's the worst thing they ever hear and it only robs them of their victory if they allow it to hurt them. I think a much better response would have been to simply shrug it off and announce they could care less what a jerk like that thinks or says.

I won't cry any tears if Imus loses his job, but neither will I be devastated if he keeps it. It will have no impact on me at all since I pay no attention anyway. If more people just ignored him, he wouldn't have a job in the first place. I'd bet a lot of his ratings come from people who hate him but can't help to click in to see what ridiculous crap he's throwing out today.

Contacting the advertiser's to say you won't buy products from a company that endorses his work seems to me to be a practical step. Writing to the station and telling them you won't watch them if they continue to air the program is an effective move. I just think this endless wailing over how awful he is does nothing but make him more of celebrity and thus promotes his work instead of diminishing its importance.

2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess having grown up listend to howard stern, I must have a high thresh hold for this stuff. I've seen alot of different pundits weigh in on thisa nd I still don't get it. why is calling paula zahn a wrinkled old prune sexist? why is doing a ray nagin imitation racist?

I am totally perplexed at this whole issue. Maybe this is why i get thrown out of so many parties and kicked off so many boards.

also, why do people think something needs to be done? why cant people just comment on the issue if they want and not listen if they want? It's the same thing with Iran. People are like "Iran is this, iran is that". and it's like ...okay. but it's not enough. people want to DO something.

3:05:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Lester, as I used to tell my first husband, it's not much what you said, it's the way you said it.

Bigotry is all too real, and I understand why people want to do something about it. Unfortunately, I don't think you can. It's as old as man himself.

4:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why everyone acts like this has never happened before! Doesn't anybody remember Howard Cosell? Or more recent, Rush Limbaugh on Monday night football?
Come on people, it has as much to do with the words exposing the man for what he is, as it has to do with the words themselves.

10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I remember Howard Cosell. Is he still alive?

10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no he's not.

how is this a bigoted remark? nappy headed ho's is a black expression.

If people really feel bad for these women they should watch one of their games, which apparently no one is doing.

2:06:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Too bad about Howard. I kind of liked the loud mouthed jerk in an odd way.

As for the nappy head ho's, frankly Lester, I sick of talking about it and I'll be glad when some new scandal comes up to knock this off the news cycle.

2:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Imus Lynch Party
by Patrick J. Buchanan

Are we really a better country because, after he was publicly whipped for 10 days as the worst kind of racist, with whom no decent person could associate, he was thrown off the air?

Cards on the table.

This writer works for MSNBC, has been on the Imus show scores of times, watches Imus every morning, and likes the show, the music and the guys: the I-Man, Bernie, Charles and Tom Bowman.

And Imus is among the best interviewers in our business. Not only does he read and follow the news closely, he listens and probes as well as any interviewer in America. Because he is a comic, people mistake how good a questioner he is.

Is "Imus in the Morning" outrageous? Over the top at times? Are things said every week, if not every day, where you say, "He's going too far"? Yeah. But outrageousness is part of the show, whether the skits are of "Teddy Kennedy," "Reverend Falwell," "Mayor Nagin" or "The Cardinal."

And when Imus called the Rutgers women's basketball team "tattooed ... nappy-headed ho's," he went over the top. The women deserved an apology. There was no cause, no call to use those terms. As Ann Coulter said, they were not fair game.

But Imus did apologize, again and again and again.

And lest we forget, these are athletes in their prime, the same age as young women in Iraq. They are not 5-year-old girls, and they are capable of brushing off an ignorant comment by a talk-show host who does not know them, or anything about them.

Who, after all, believed the slur was true? No one.

Compare, if you will, what was done to them – a single nasty insult – to the savage slanders for weeks on end of the Duke lacrosse team and the three players accused by a lying stripper of having gang-raped her at a frat party.

Duke faculty and talking heads took that occasion to vent their venom toward all white "jocks" on college campuses. Where are the demands for apologies from the talk-show hosts, guests, Duke faculty members and smear artists, all of whom bought into the lies about those Duke kids – because the lies comported with their hateful view of America?

And hate is what this is all about.

While the remarks of Imus and Bernie about the Rutgers women were indefensible, they were more unthinking and stupid than vicious and malicious. But malice is the right word to describe the howls for their show to be canceled and them to be driven from the airwaves – by phonies who endlessly prattle about the First Amendment.

The hypocrisy here was too thick to cut with a chainsaw.

What was the term the I-Man used? It was "ho's," slang for whores, a term employed ad infinitum et ad nauseam by rap and hip-hop "artists." It is a term out of the African-American community. Yet, if any of a hundred rap singers has lost his contract or been driven from the airwaves for using it, maybe someone can tell me about it.

If the word "ho's" is a filthy insult to decent black women, and it is, why are hip-hop artists and rap singers who use it incessantly not pariahs in the black community? Why would black politicians hobnob with them? Why are there no boycotts of the advertisers of the radio stations that play their degrading music?

Answer: The issue here is not the word Imus used. The issue is who Imus is – a white man, who used a term about black women only black folks are permitted to use with impunity and immunity.

Whatever Imus' sins, no one deserves to have Al Sharpton – hero of the Tawana Brawley hoax, resolute defender of the fake rape charge against half a dozen innocent guys, which ruined lives – sit in moral judgment upon them.

"It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves," says Sharpton. It says something about America that someone with Al's track record can claim the role of national censor.

Who is next? And why do we take it?

I did a bad thing, but I am not a bad person, says Imus. Indeed, whoever used his microphone to do more good for more people – be they the cancer kids of Imus Ranch, the families of Iraq war dead now more justly compensated because of the I-Man or the cause of a cure for autism?

"We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodic fits of morality," said Lord Macaulay. Unfortunately, Macauley never saw the likes of the Revs. Sharpton and Jackson.

Imus threw himself on the mercy of the court of elite opinion – and that court, pandering to the mob, lynched him. Yet, for all his sins, he was a better man than the lot of them rejoicing at the foot of the cottonwood tree.

April 13, 2007

3:51:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Lester, you always surprise me with your choice of reading material.

5:31:00 PM  

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