Monday, April 09, 2007

...It just goes to show, even the mighty among us, can screw up...

Up front, Don Imus, the nationally-known broadcaster, whose program (is? was?), simulcast early weekday mornings on MSNBC, has come right out and said he stuck his foot in his mouth, referring to disparaging remarks he made last week about black women's basketball players on the Rutgers' University women's basketball team; he did that early Monday morning, profusely apologizing, not trying to weasel his way out of it, making no I credit Imus with admitting he was wrong...which is more than Prezzident Bush has done, concerning the issue of 'weapons of mass destruction' as a justification for our country fighting their civil war for them, a war we can't win.

Imus' show has been entertaining and informative, chock full of irreverent humor, great political guests, and somehow the whole political scene gets rendered into something that approaches a degree of understandability, and were it not for that show, I probably wouldn't be politically informed at all. Indeed, I have been taping Imus' show, so that I can watch it at a more convenient time (his show begins (began?) at 2:30 in the morning; it's a 3 and a half-hour show. And Imus doesn't pick on any one group; he spreads his vitriol around equally...he describes hapless politicians as "mouth breathers and weasels"; he has referred to Hillary Clinton as "Satan", the "worst person on the planet"; he's said vice-Prezzident Dick Cheney is a "war criminal"; he refers to one of his support staff as a "bald-headed stooge", and he refers to his overweight sports guy as a "fat moose", and this is all broadcast over national TV...or was...

I can't remember the name of the important black minister who passed away recently, but Imus couldn't say enough good things about him (this happened about a month ago), and the minister's wife, who was still in the grieving process, called Imus' show, and told Imus how good and supportive he'd been. In addition to that, Imus runs the "Imus Cattle Ranch for kids with cancer", and spends approximately half the year at the ranch, teaching kids with cancer how to rope cattle, and how to be a part of something, and how to toughen up and not let their cancer "define who they are". And black and white kids alike, with cancer, go to the Imus ranch. Imus has also raised the issue of sickle-cell anemia on his program, and has tried to increase awareness of that malady, which, predominantly affects blacks. By saying it 'predominantly affects blacks', am I a racist? I don't think so, but who knows what a black or other minority member might infer by reading this. And, conversely, Imus has received negative communications from white acquaintances for supporting black politicians, musicians and others. He said he's a "good person who said a bad thing", and I firmly believe him.

Imus is cantankerous, and thus far, I have found his on-air presentation refreshing and at times, I've laughed so hard at the antics of Imus and his crew that I thot I was gonna have a seizure. But underneath the image of a crusty old curmudgeon, Imus is a genuinely good person. He leaned on politicians and people in the business world, and helped to initiate a fund-drive for a huge physical-therapy center in Texas for disabled vets of the Iraq war, in addition to making a huge donation himself. So he's done a lot of good things. We've all done a lot of good things. And, we make mistakes. But I'm not surprised to hear that the Rev. Al Sharpton, as well as the ever-pathological political gadfly Jesse Jackson, who's somehow managed to turn his '15 minutes of fame' into an excruciating lifetime's worth, called for Imus to be fired. And, in a reciprocating gesture, MSNBC has decided not to air the Imus program for two weeks. I am watching the tape of Monday's Imus show right now, and it's obvious the wind's been knocked out of Imus; he feels awful about what he said and the way things have turned out, and a certain spark in Imus is missing right now; obviously, these recent developments are weighing heavily upon him.

None of us is perfect. And Imus needs to try and make this all better somehow, if that's at all possible. But at the same time, if he had referred to another, less-minority-related segment of society, he might not have gotten in as much trouble. The lesson I take from this is, if you're going to say something bad about someone, make sure they're not a member of a minority. But, being humans, we're prone to mistakes; we're prone to overconfidence, and we are prone to 'test the limits' and see what we can get by with. And Imus stepped over the line, and he's admitting it. Ah, but the shrill cry of the minorities rages on, and quite possibly, those with their own agendas are calling for the demise of Imus. I am fearful of the increasing homogenization of our society in which everything is politically-correct and no one wants to venture forth with anything uniquely forthright for fear of 'offending' someone.

Imus apologized on his show FRIDAY, before any of these outcries had hit the newspapers, TV, or radio stations...Imus has said his program "makes fun of everybody", and that there's a difference between "premeditated murder" and the "gun accidentally going off" and in this case, the 'gun went off' and all of this outcry happened. Had Imus been black, and had made disparaging remarks about white women basketball players, I wonder, would the outcome of all of this been different? I think it probably would have. Not that a white person has any right to "diss" someone of another race, but it seems that anytime someone in the "majority" says something, wham, bang, fourth-alarm. And, on the tape of Monday's show, which I'm watching as I type this post, Imus spent close to 20 minutes describing what he does on the show, and apologizing over and over again to anyone he might have offended. Chances are, that a lot of blacks won't be too offended by what Imus said, but leave it to the bigwigs of the "movement" to cry out in best shrill manner for someone else's head. Sharpton, Jackson and company attempting to whip blacks into a frenzy of sorts...I wonder if those who are crying out the loudest are trying to enhance their own self-importance as well as attempting to elevate the opinions others have of them. Oh, these "oh, they done me wrong" racially-motivated outcries. Sometimes this all just makes me sick. And now, going along with our homogenized, politically-correct society, MSNBC has removed Imus from the air for two weeks (if not longer, or forever).

I am going to state this so there is no doubt: I firmly believe NO ONE has the right to discriminate against ANYBODY. No one should say things to make someone else feel bad, whether that someone is of the same race or not. I have been discriminated against because I am fat and have ratty hair, so I know what it feels like. But I get really tired of these loud, blatant political flamethrowers who say they're trying to unite everyone, but by pointing out mistakes someone of a different race may commit, actually increase the division and separatism between the races. This is a different world, for sure. And it's getting to be a tougher place to be in. So, in two weeks, when the Imus program airs again (IF it airs again), how will it be different? I, for one, wouldn't want Imus to change one iota. Hopefully his judgment will be BETTER, so he doesn't "step in it" again, but if the irreverence and confrontational nature of the program is excised, it won't be worth watching.

Meantime Imus came down hard on Senator John McCain, who just returned from a tour of that entertaining resort city, Baghdad, Iraq. Sen. McCain said HE mis-spoke himself when he made remarks saying that the city was a safe place to be. Further proof that Imus is not a bigot...McCain is about as white as it gets. I think sometimes, that we human beings, supposedly the smartest creatures on the planet, just kinda bump along, running into this obstacle or that pothole, and we're all trying to navigate the best we can, and in the end, if we do more "good" than "bad", then we've led a pretty good life. I guess I wish that all of us, including ME, could go through life without offending anyone, but the more we say and the more we do, the greater the chance that we'll offend someone somewhere, deliberately or not. And I also wish that it were easier for us all to cut each other some slack when we screw up. Because we all screw up. Even someone as high and mighty as Imus. And now he's paying for it. Really paying.

Update: MSNBC has now said its suspension of the Imus program will begin April 15th, so this week's pre-suspension Imus broadcasts oughta be interesting.

The above diatribe (and believe me, I KNOW it's a diatribe) is a mixture of feelings I've carried around for years, and 'this Imus thing' served as a vehicle which enabled me once again to 'defrag' my mind. Heaven help us all as we try to negotiate the tricky undulations of the road of life.


Anonymous kick shoe said...

It's time to write the song that will catapult us to fame. The first line is on my blog. I would have written all the lyrics, but I don't want to be a hog.

Start thinking of a tune. We don't have much time.


7:39 PM  
Blogger Word Tosser said...

well, said ....very well said

8:26 PM  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Imus did nothing worse than use "gangsta" talk in his reference to the girls. The blacks talk about themselves in those terms all the time and as with a lot of "rap" there are double meanings.

Get a life, people. Imus spoke and the political correctness police happened to be listening. He apologized.

Get over it. There are far more important happenings that are not being reported. Unfortunately the parenthood of Dannielynn isn't one of them!

3:32 PM  
Blogger mamaJD said...

After watching the press conference at Rutgers today, I now know more about Rutgers and its programs than I ever thought I would. The thought crossed my mind that maybe my daughter could be a student athlete in hopes she could attend Rutgers and their wonderful programs. If it weren't for Imus, I would never have paid attention. In some ways, Rutgers has received more attention than money could buy for advertising purposes. Perhaps they will thank Imus?

9:37 PM  
Anonymous lil' ol' me, posting as "other" said...

Well, MamaJD, I think Imus is in deep this time...I imagine he'd like someone to thank him for something. I don't know if he can recover from this. Al Sharpton, one of the "voices of black America" is sharpening his axe, going after Imus' head; he even threatened today to make things miserable for anyone who appears on Imus' program in the future. Things is getting pretty nasty out there...

12:09 AM  

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