Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Don Imus and Our National Conversation

This morning we learned from Mike Barnicle that the women of the Rutgers basketball team are here to save white men from their own ignorance, sent by God to offer Don Imus and Mike, and presumably the other guests who frequent the show, a chance, in the twilight of their lives, to redeem their wretched lives. Yes, this is "teachable moment" where he talk about race and poverty and just it is the best idea to call teenage girls, someone else's daughters, "nappy haired hos."

But it's going to be a great moment for the ladies too - they're going to come out this mature teachers of us all, kind of like Will Smith's character in . But there's more! We in America have to have a national conversation about race - also poor schools, drugs, poverty in inner city neighborhoods, lack of economic opportunity, and probably hair and prostitution. Don, you see, really did us all a favor, by exposing not just the language of hip-hip and rappers for the destructive force it really is, but is going to allow us to finally get equality of education in this country!

Yes, as Mike Barnicle explained, in a larger sense, we are all guilty of what Imus did, and we've all sinned, and this being Easter and Mike carrying around a set of Rosary beads everywhere he goes, this is not the time to be worried about who called who a "nappy haired ho." Plus a quarter of a century ago Jesse Jackson said the word hymietown and no ever mentions that.

Another wider conversation we could have is about how prominent journalists, not to mention some of this nation's most powerful politicians, think it's a great idea to pay homage to a man who routinely, as he himself says, makes outrageously offensive statements about randomly targeted people. This time he appropriated language from some rappers who say bad things. Next time it will the worst statements made by people who can be in another category, and then all those people can be blamed for making Imus say those no other decent person would ever say.

I suppose his defense for calling Hillary Clinton "Satan" will be to quote Milton.

The issue is Don Imus, hero to the political elites like Tim Russert, Chris Mathews, Norah O'Donnell, Brian Williams, David Gregory, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Rick Santorum, and many, many more, is not a good person. He is a mean, thoughtless, mindless, cruel, bigoted, sexist, immature person. In the end, it doesn't matter if he is fired, or if he keep his sponsors. Both is job and his income are dependent on the fawning attention he gets from people who would like control our discourse and make this country's laws.
Should we not expect a little more from them than craven supplication to a man who finds humor in the most disturbing ethnic and sexual slurs as applied to high achieving college students young enough to be his children?

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