I swore to myself I was going to let this drop, but after hearing the statement “national dialogue about race” multiple times on Hardball and then again in the first few minutes of Countdown, I can’t restrain myself.
I know some of you are under the grand delusion that this is the greatest thing for civil rights and the African-American community since OJ was acquitted, but it really is no victory for anyone involved. For those of you who are too dim to figure this out, here is what happened:
A grumpy, surly, and flawed man, but not the total monster that some are now trying to make him out to be (he really didn’t shoot MLK, DU readers), who had a history of making borderline and overtly racist or sexist statements for dozens of years made another offensive statement that in past years would never have raised even an eyebrow. His only flaw this time was his target- a bunch of young women who really did not deserve to be smeared, and whom he has apologized repeatedly to and I believe honestly feels bad for insulting. Otherwise it was business as usual at Imus in the Morning.
The girls have been turned into victims, blowing the insult completely and totally out of proportion, and have been taught a hideous lesson- that being a victim is a good thing. My sisters, had they been called a ho by anyone, would have flipped them the bird and then gone back to work. Instead, we are regaled with tales that the girls have been scarred for life or their careers have been hampered. Lunacy, in other words.
Enter the professional race pimps. While unwilling and unable to apologize for their role in villainizing three young men for the past year as rapists and racists, Jackson and Sharpton ratcheted up the outrage machine, and applied enough economic pressure to get the man fired for his insults. And let’s pause for just a moment- which is worse? Which would you rather happen to your child- some jackass in poorly advvsed and disgusting banter casually calls your daughter a “nappy-headed ho,” or the entire mainstream media spends a year naming your son, villainizing him, calling him a rapist, and demanding that he be put in jail or worse. If you answer the former, Child Protective Services should come take your child away.
That doesn’t excuse Imus’s remarks, but what chafes me the most is the bullshit insincerity in this whole escapade. Everyone knew what they were getting with Imus- he delivered precisely what people paid for, and advertisers, pundits, authors, politicians were all fine with it. Hell, AL FUCKING SHARPTON was fine with it, because Imus is the one who, in large part, rehabilitated Al after he was found guilty for his far worse race-baiting and smearing in the Tawana Brawley episode. You all probably forget that- I don’t. Imus mainstreamed him, having him as a guest frequently.
Imus was not fired because he made racist remarks. Imus was fired because it was a convenient platform for people to act holier than thou, to advance their own agendas. Witness these remarks:
Imus is history — fired yesterday by MSNBC, fired today by CBS. I hope you are paying attention Rush Limbaugh, cause we will be watching your dirty mouth next.
In my view, Don Imus has behaved very well since this incident happened. He is a very flawed man, but he is far from the worst of the shock jocks. And he had many corporate and elite male enablers. There is no excuse for his behavior, but I believe he is genuinely sorry.
Because he’s not the worst shock jock and because he has done so much good work in his lifetime, I can’t help wishing Rush was going down instead of Imus. Still, whenever a shock jock goes down, it is a victory for the coming progressive era.
Even more offensive are the posers like Ana Marie Cox and her ilk, who rode Imus for all he was worth, and then when the chance to get some more face-time arose, she grabbed the tube of lube leftover from Jessica Cutler, and greased up the Iman for one last joyous romp. And many, many others are in the same boat. Imus is no victim in this affair, but those now preening and posing in the light of the moral highground are making me sick.
And on to this gibberish:
IMUS IS GONE. RIGHT THING DONE. Last night, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone promised that CBS News honcho Les Moonves would “do the right thing” with regard to the future of Don Imus’s program on the CBS radio network, but would not say exactly what that right thing is. Today we learned Imus has been fired from his radio show.
I do hope that this does not end the discussion that on race and gender that was sparked by Imus’s egregious taunt. And I have no intention of letting up on the cable news shows for their lack of women commentators — especially African-American women — even when the discussion focuses on the treatment of women.
The right thing to CBS was the bottom line, who fired Imus because it was shrinking. If Imus’s remarks were so obviously a firing offense, the right thing to do would have been to fire him on the spot. But they didn’t, and leave it to the deep thinkers at Tapped to think there is some moral lesson here to be learned.
No one has learned anything from this. No one will learn anything from this. There will be no national dialog on race, other than people babbling that there should be a national dialog on race. Civil rights was not advanced one bit. No chance was given for Imus to make things right, no time was spent evaluating what the best response to this situation might be. It was sheer opportunism all the way around, led by a chorus of self-aggrandizing hacks all too eager to milk the situation for all it was worth. All that has been learned in this whole, sordid affair is that when a flawed man does or says something stupid and offensive, the appropriate thing to do is to try and find a way to get the most profit for yourself, your cause, or your company, and to run with it.
Imus deserved to be fired for this, probably, but he also probably deserved to be fired for any number of statements or sketches over the past dozen years. What makes this last week so obscene is the way this happened, and it says a helluva lot more about us than it does about Imus. Long live mob justice, and I hope none of you ever say anything stupid or offensive, because if you do, may God have mercy on your soul. No one else will.
*** Update ***
For those of you who dispute my assertion that we have turned these girls into victims, I provide you Anderson Cooper 360:
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we can tell you that sources tell us that it was a very emotional meeting. The big question for many of the female basketball players was why us? They couldn’t understand why Don Imus would make such hateful comments about them, especially at a time in their lives that was supposed to be happy, having won this conference championship.
Now, the meeting lasted about 2-1/2 hours. It began at about 8:00, wrapped up at 10:30.***
COOPER: Deborah Feyerick, I should tell you that I’ve just received some more information. We’ve been getting information from someone inside the mansion who was present at this meeting. Been getting some information from them over the past several hours.
I am just being told the latest information we have is that the team is still inside. They are now discussing whether or not they want to formally accept Don Imus’s apology.
That bus that you see out there is the team bus. Theoretically, it will take the players away from the mansion. But at this point no one has boarded the bus. The team is still trying to decide whether or not to accept Don Imus’s apology.
Just shoot me now. Seriously. Serenity now.
Thank GOD for Jason Whitlock:
COOPER:Jason, in your op-ed you criticize the Rutgers Coach Vivian Stringer for holding this press conference. How do you think she should have handled things?
JASON WHITLOCK, COLUMNIST, “KANSAS CITY STAR” I think that she should have met with her team in private and explained to them that Don Imus does not define who they are. Don Imus has nothing to do — Don Imus has nothing to do with their happiness. The joyful ride they went on to the national championship and that they know who they are, that they are proud, black and white women, educated women, competitive women, and there’s no outsider who can steal our joy and our accomplishment from us.
Then she should have issued a statement calling Don Imus an idiot, expressing that he needs to apologize, and that his employers need to deal with him and then that should have been the end of it.
There’s no way this called for an hour-long press conference with everyone climbing onto a cross and saying, look at me, I’m a victim here. There’s no way there should have been a meeting at the governor’s mansion about this Mickey Mouse B.S. No way this should have happened.
This is an embarrassment. I have listened to this entire thing and I’m embarrassed that our leadership in our community — and I’m speaking mostly about — has failed. We have failed.
We haven’t defined for young people who they are. And that no one can define for you who you are. You define for yourself, not Don Imus, not someone who has no input into your life. There’s no magical white, evil man who can utter a few words on a radio show and steal your joy and take away your accomplishment. That’s a joke.
This charade is going to get dumber and dumber, and if you thought this was really about the evil of Don Imus, you are wrong. This was about pushing agendas.