Friday, April 13, 2007

Goodbye, Imus!

It just dawned on me--I'm a blogger! So I can pontificate on the deeper meaning of the firing of Don Imus like every other goof with a keyboard today. What a great world! Seriously, I used to listen to Imus in the car on the way to work, something like 7 years ago or more. It was before there was Mike & Mike doing sports on ESPN radio, and also before I drove my kids to school. I hate the morning drive shows and kinda like talk radio (less now than I did then, since now I can listen to sports and Dave Ramsey). I quit because he was (1) not the sort of guy I wanted to listen to in front of my kids, (2) on further thought, not the sort of guy I wanted to listen to as an adult, (3) not clever, and (4) not funny. So, to put it mildly, I won't be coming to the defense Imus. Not only were his remarks racist and sexist on their face, I happen to think (based on the time I was a listener) that they were very much in step with what he actually thinks. The guy was just MEAN.

I like what Hugh Hewitt said in his townhall column today (sorry, too lazy to link)--Imus wasn't "brought down" by anybody; his fall was suicide, and the feeding frenzy which followed was just the vultures flying around the corpse. He wasn't fired because Al Sharpton demanded it, he was fired because his sponsors pulled out, and broadcast companies are in business to make money. Of course, he'll likely re-surface on satellite radio, as Howard Stern did (another guy I don't listen to). But, in this case, the free market works like it's supposed to. Nobody needs to pull strings politically to get some idiot out of the market, the market will take care of that.

All that said, I have a few intemperate thoughts. Not pro-Imus thoughts, nor pro-bad taste. But intemperate, nonetheless. First off, why does Al Sharpton get away with being the voice of reason here? I can't be the only one old enough to remember Freddie's Fashion Mart or Tawana Brawley. I know that even a stopped watch is right twice a day, but I just don't understand why the press has legitimized this guy. Secondly, can we use just a little of this outrage to have market forces react to rap lyrics? I think one of the grammys this year went for a song about how hard it is to be a "pimp" which makes frequent use of the phrase "ho." I'm not saying Chris Rock can't do racially-tinged humor; it's funny, and it's satire. We laugh because we know it's supposed to make us uncomfortable. But some of the rap out there, like Imus, is just plain nasty. And finally, does EVERYTHING have to be political? Obama has come out in favor of the firing. He got beat to it by Hillary, who was the first to be offended. I think every politican, up to and including George Bush, has had to say something about this "story." One of the first things I read about Imus after this happened was, "look--he's a liberal! He backed Kerry!" Then came, "no, he's not, he wears a cowboy hat and hates Hillary Clinton!" News flash, everybody--mean is mean, rude is rude, racist is racist. I think left and right should agree that this guy is a moron and be happy he's gone.

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