Friday, April 13, 2007

Jock Bitch: The Ongoing Saga of Imusgate (America Held Hostage)

Imusgate, Day 1: The Twilight Zone

For the first time in a very long time, I have absolutely no idea where to begin.

I realize that for someone who spends roughly fifteen hours each day hunched over one computer or another, cranking out word upon word, this may seem like somewhat of a cop-out; unfortunately, if that's the case, so be it. The fact is that for all my occasional sound and fury -- either on the virtual pages of this little experiment of mine or in the rants which my wonderfully patient wife is sometimes subjected to -- it's truly rare that I find myself so outraged that I'm rendered practically speechless. I can count on one hand the stories during my fifteen year career in television news that have thoroughly subverted my capacity to adequately articulate my anger.

I almost never want to put my fucking fist through a wall.

The ridiculous ongoing melodrama over, and laughable overreaction to, an irrelevant old man's use of the words "nappy-headed hos" makes me want to -- over and over again.

If there has been a larger, more prominent non-issue to capture the attention of the media and subsequently be force-fed to the American public, I'm completely unaware of it.

Before I go any further, let me take an unusual step -- one which should give you some kind of idea just how serious and indignant I am in regards to this "controversy." I'm going to say something that I've said only once before since beginning Deus Ex Malcontent and using it to voice my admittedly inconsequential opinions: If you disagree with what I'm about to say -- fuck you. Save your contrarian comment and your polemicist defiance; I don't want to hear it. There are caveats and subtexts and derivatives and offshoots of this whole row which are certainly worth debating, but the basic arguments that I'm about to make, as far as I'm concerned, are bulletproof; don't even waste your breath claiming otherwise.

Among those arguments: that this miasma represents the widest gap in the history of modern media saturation between the size and importance of an event -- and the size of the reaction that followed it; that the Draconian measures demanded by the professional victims claiming to have been severely injured by a washed up shock-jock's very stupid joke -- the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world -- are nothing short of chilling, and represent a dangerous threat to freedom of speech and expression; that the reverent deification of the Rutgers Women's Basketball team and its "dignified reaction" is both unjustified and just plain bizarre; that the selective demonization of one radio show host while failing to direct that same level of persecution at radio hosts who are not only racist and sexist, but who outright lie, is utterly unfair; and that, likewise, the failure to confront hip-hop artists who make entire careers and truckloads of money out of debasing women and setting civil rights advances back decades by acting like modern day minstrels renders this entire controversy moot.

Tonight, NBC has made the decision to fire Don Imus.

God fucking help anyone who dares to fight me on this.

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Imusgate, Day 2: Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ

Let me make one thing clear-as-vodka right off the bat: I can't stand Don Imus.

This isn't simply some pedestrian attempt at reverse-psychology; I think Imus is a worthless hack. The suits at NBC never should've signed him in the first place -- not because he occasionally makes racist or misogynistic comments, but because those comments, plus all the ones in between, are unfunny, devoid of insight and just plain goddamned stupid. While I respect Imus as a trailblazer in talk radio, he hasn't been culturally relevent since he gave up booze and blow back in the mid-80s. That said, I don't give a damm whether I or any one else loves him, hates him or is utterly indifferent to him; I'd still defend his right to say what he did.

Years ago, I did a nightside talk radio show in Miami. It won't surprise you to know that I was in trouble constantly for saying and doing things on-air which caused the station's managers to do some rather exceptional impressions of the Tasmanian Devil from the old Looney Toons cartoons. The situation became so laughable at one point that I actually broke into the executive board files on the air and proceeded to read the number of times that the board felt it necessary to address "The Chez Situation." I remained on the air because someone somewhere out in radioland thought that the antics of myself and my crew were entertaining. There were no doubt those who felt that we should all be hung off the top of a building by our feet as well, but thankfully, those same station managers who were driven so mad by us also remembered one hugely important fact: why we were on the air to begin with. We were doing exactly what they expected from us.

My point is that for any radio or television executive to put Imus on the air, then react with horror to the things he says -- particularly after a career that's lasted forty fucking years -- is not only patently dishonest, but also assumes a level of naivete from the rest of us that's nothing short of insulting.

Likewise, to work in a business which quite frankly owes its very existence to the protection provided by the first amendment, then turn around and at best abandon someone in your employ who proves that that freedom comes at a price -- namely, you have to learn to live with people who say things you don't particularly like -- is the tawdriest of offenses. To, at worst, throw that same person to the angry mob which refuses to live with such people -- is out and out reprehensible.

Last night, Steve Capus, the President of NBC, said that he had made the decision to drop MSNBC's simulcast of Imus's morning radio show not because of outside pressure being exerted by the aforementioned angry mob, but because he had taken a poll within the NBC organization itself and found the concensus to be that Imus had to go.

Guess what Steve -- though I won't argue that those on your payroll serve at your pleasure to a certain extent, you're indebted not to Imus himself but to the right of expression which allows not only for his voice to be heard but for the voices of everyone and every show on your network that together make you and your shareholders a goddamned fortune. Here was your chance to repay that debt, and you blew it. You took the easy way out -- and that makes you a pussy.

Capus should've realized that he was allowing himself and his network to be the test case -- the first in the string of dominoes to fall. The reality -- unspoken by some; shouted from the rooftops by others -- is that once the cascade reaches its inevitable conclusion, what you see and hear will be subject to the various caprices of those who've been willing to complain loudly enough.

Speaking of which...

Imusgate, Day 2 (cont.): Rage Against the "Obscene"

I feel like I'm living in the Twilight Zone -- I honestly do.

Every day I turn on my television expecting the American news media to return to doing something important -- like maybe talking to the families of U.S. soldiers who've already pulled three tours in Iraq and are now being told that they'll have to serve another fifteen months; this, as their Commander-in-Chief tries to pick a fight with yet another Middle-Eastern country while also trying to pass off the mess we're already in to someone else -- a "War Czar."

Instead I see the angry, apoplectic faces of the "Reverends" Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton behaving as if the world has literally stopped because an elderly man poked fun at a women's basketball team using a term that's almost as antiquated as he is. The last time anyone said "nappy-headed hos," most of the country was still trying to figure out why kids as far south as Florida were insisting on wearing plaid-flannel shirts, knit hats and combat boots. (It also goes without saying that the last time such a comment was made, it was a black man making it -- but more on that later.)

Over the past few days, I've watched Jackson, Sharpton and their offensive ilk using their own brand of foul language -- terms which I consider to be absolutely chilling. I've heard Sharpton say that although he can "forgive" Imus, the radio host still "must serve the penalty;" which leaves me to wonder why forgiveness is Sharpton's to grant (as he was never more than tangentially involved in this nonsense to begin with -- until he of course, on cue, injected himself into the center of it), and why the penalty is Sharpton's to decide (as, the last time I checked, he holds no real position of authority). I've likewise heard Jackson state, with a face that was frighteningly devoid of even the slightest hint of irony, that America is finally learning that there is some language which simply won't be tolerated anymore (the first person to create a black armband with a picture of Jackson's face on it deserves a prize of some sort). To my knowledge, the only forbidden statement is that which is either false or incites violence -- and no, violent opposition from those offended doesn't count. I have no doubt that Jackson believes that Imus's comment was a form of "verbal terrorism," literally adding insult to injury after centuries of persecution -- but if that's how low we're going to set the bar for such language, we're all in very deep shit.

I've decried many times on this site the underhanded impotence of the ubiquitous bullshit apology which seems to follow every act that someone takes offense to these days. I have to say though that after watching Imus grovel pathetically for days and days I've come to believe that from the first day that someone spoke up and said that he or she was hurt by what he said, his penitence has been genuine. In fact, not only has Imus offered a verbal mea culpa, he's the first I've ever seen to lay out a concrete plan for change -- both for himself and his show. Rather than pulling the time-honored trick of running off to rehab, Imus faced his accusers head-on, listened to their concerns and practically offered a powerpoint presentation on the steps he would take to affect change.

Needless to say, that wasn't good enough. Watching someone laid out in prostrate submission won't satisfy the growing beast that needs to be fed fresh meat.

Today, Reverend Al and his congregation of loyal disciples from the First Church of the Perpetually Victimized are converging on the CBS radio studios in Midtown Manhattan -- their goal is to literally strip Don Imus of his legacy in radio; to crush his dignity outright. Imus has lost one job and the respect of millions, but that's not enough for Sharpton. Imus has given his pound of flesh and then some, but Sharpton -- in his infinite, divinely-willed authority -- has decided that he must give more. He's decided that the "community" is owed it.

The reality of course couldn't be further from the truth; Imus doesn't owe the community a fucking thing. He may owe the Rutgers Women's Basketball team an apology, and even that's up for debate -- he does not, however, have a responsibility to abase himself at the feet of an endless line of people who were never the target of his ridicule in the first place, but rather chose to take offense through solidarity, post hoc.

Incidentally, tell me that I can't understand because I'm a white man and I'll hit you. That's crap -- and a cop-out. Forfeiting logic and reason in favor of the rage that comes from unfettered passion is never a good idea (and yes, I understand the irony of my making such a statement right now) -- however, when someone's livelihoood is on the line and the mob mentality will only serve to make matters worse, it's unforgivable.

This morning, Jesse Jackson cited the fallout from the now-infamous Michael Richards incident as proof that things are getting better. He said, practically in iambic pentameter, that the Laugh Factory's recent edict banning not only the use of the word "nigger" but offensive language in general was a step in the right direction for securing respectful civil rights for all. Needless to say, nothing could be further removed from reality. I wrote at the time that there's nothing more dangerous than putting the power to censor in the hands of those who would claim offense, simply because someone will always be offended by something (The Nth Degree/11.21.06). A world in which I'm forced to ask for permission or approval from Jesse Jackson -- or anyone else for that matter -- before I speak, is a world in which I'd rather not live. What Jackson wants is the forfeiture of one right in favor of another -- and it's crap. He and Sharpton want an America purified of language which they believe to be insulting and oppressive, and somehow they believe that there is an objective standard for such language.

I didn't find Imus's comment particularly offensive or incendiary -- though I admit to not being the target of it. I also didn't find it to be the least bit funny -- but I'm betting that some people did. Who determines that they don't have the right to find it funny -- or that I don't have the right to be indifferent to it? Who decides what's acceptable and what's unacceptable language -- which jokes are funny and which ones are without social merit?

At the moment, it would seem like the people who have cast themselves as deserving of the job are the same ones who never made amends for their own past transgressions (Hymie Town? Tawana Brawley?), who derive their power and authority from the very divisiveness they claim to decry, and who can rarely be counted on to express so much as an indignant thought when a group other than their own comes under attack by the intolerant.

This last fact should provide all the evidence needed to prove that the overall motivation of people like Sharpton and Jackson isn't justice or morality, but rather the subornation of an adherence to their own personal agenda.

If by some chance you'd like more more proof, consider this: no matter your opinion of Imus, it's an absolute fact that he spends a substantial portion of his time, both on-air and off, raising money to help children with cancer, through an initiative founded and maintained by he and his wife. He has also, in the past, raised funds for U.S. troops overseas as well as raising awareness of the inadequacy of the V.A. hospital system. The point is that there are not only people out there who find Imus entertaining -- there are people who legitimately benefit from his presence on the air. These people have neither been consulted nor even considered by the torch-wielding mob now stationed at the gates of Imus's hilltop home -- that's because, to this particular mob, the good that Imus does for these people simply isn't as valid as the good to be achieved by removing him for making a completely insignificant comment. If you'll forgive such blatantly instigative language, they're essentially saying that the needs of kids with cancer aren't as important as the hurt feelings of a bunch of female basketball players -- that Don Imus, in fact, does more harm than good.

That's not simply unjust -- it's immoral.

But what about those poor, broken women -- the ones who've endured such injurious humiliation and demoralization at the oppressive hands of the taskmaster, Don Imus?

I'm speaking of course of the Rutgers Women's Basketball team and its steadfast coach, C. Vivian Stringer. Truly, over the past several days, the dignity and courage that these fine women have displayed in the face of overwhelming adversity has given us all a new definition of the word "heroic."

What a bunch of fucking horseshit.

They've just wrapped up their requisite appearance on Oprah -- this should be good.

(Update: This afternoon, CBS fired Don Imus, ending the radio show he had hosted for 35 years.)

Imusgate, Day 3: Sticks and Stones and Stupid

Yesterday, in a rare break from the inexplicable round-the-clock coverage of Imusgate, one of the cable news channels featured an absolutely frightening report on how badly overtaxed our military is right now. By the time the reporter piece and featured guest were done, the general impression you were left with was that at the present rate, our all-volunteer military machine runs the risk of grinding to a halt within the next year or so. The solution of course: reinstating some form of the draft. This sounded chilling until I remembered what I had just watched a few minutes earlier -- the Rutgers Women's basketball team being fawned over for their supposed strength and courage by none other than her Royal Thighness Oprah -- and that's when I was struck with one hell of a realization.

Jesus Christ, if these girls are really the strongest and most courageous our next generation has to offer -- if that's how fucking low the bar is -- not only is this country thoroughly ass-fucked should they ever be the ones charged with defending us in combat, we won't even be ABLE to draft them. A draft would be impossible because every single kid would refuse until either the military jails were full or our government thought the better of it -- whichever happened to come first.

Don't get me wrong; what Imus said was cruel and certainly insulting in all sorts of ways -- but for God's sake, they were just words. These courageous, powerful women can take a physical and mental beating on the basketball court day after day -- but a half-senile old guy calls them a name and they suddenly need a can of Bactine and their woobie. Forgive me for being so blunt, but if we're willing to attach words like strength, dignity and honor to a group of young women who can manage to tough their way through an insult emptying only one box of Kleenex, we've come a very long way from 9/11 -- a time when such terms were earned by those who paid for them with their lives. Has the bar really dropped so far, so fast?

Late last night, Anderson Cooper stood outside the mansion of New Jersey governor John Corzine -- his face cast solemnly downward; his voice a melodramatic hush. Behind him, you would've thought Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin had risen from the dead and were coming together to finally iron out that whole peace thing once and for all. But no, what was actually going on behind those closed doors was a different kind of summit altogether. As the big red BREAKING NEWS banner screamed -- there, at that very moment, Imus was attempting to shrug off the fact that his forty-year career had just gone belly-up long enough to meet with those who were truly suffering -- those whose lives he'd utterly devastated with his cold, callous comment. Since no cameras were allowed into the Camp David treaty room, Cooper could only speculate what was going on behind closed doors.

It was journalism as theater-of-the-absurd.

Once again, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

When the meeting finally ended and reports surfaced of what had happened over the last three hours -- let me repeat that just so that it can truly sink in: three hours -- what was already comically ludicrous became even moreso. Cooper declared that during Imus's audience with the aggrieved "tears were shed," and the women whose grace and fortitude had already been lauded as the standard to which every American should strive asked their tormentor over and over again, "Why us? Why us?"

Once again, all I could do was shake my head -- my eyes wide with utter confusion. I felt like I was watching Japanese TV. MXC wasn't as weird as this shit.

Denis Leary did a bit years ago about our nation's obsession with psycho-babble self-help -- he said, "Life sucks -- get a helmet." I still use that phrase a lot and found myself wanting to shout it at the goddamned TV as Coop informed me that the Rutgers Girls had decided to "consider" accepting Imus's apology. I just kept thinking, Girls, if this is the worst fucking thing to happen to you in your lifetime, you're really lucky. You kids are SO not ready to go out into the real world; you're gonna be eaten alive.

And then came their coach, their rock -- C. Vivian Stringer. Her take on the whole thing? Well she was just proud how her girls had behaved during the entire ordeal; it showed the strength of their character. Once again, let me repeat that -- her team being called a stupid name by an old guy qualified as an "ordeal."

With all the emphasis being placed on the importance of language and the power of words during this whole thing, I'm not sure we're actually applying that import with any sense of balance. We're more than willing to claim that a phrase as ridiculous as "nappy-headed hos" carries far more heft than it might seem at first glance -- therefore elevating this entire controversy to the mania we've all been subjected to over the past few days -- but no one seems to appreciate the harm done by reducing the weight of a word like "ordeal." The news media of course may be partially, if not fully to blame, for this phenomenon; its addiction to hyping even the most inconsequential distress -- inflating it into a "tragedy" or "disaster" -- has rendered many of our words powerless. Language which once carried the impact of a body blow has been neutered; we've applied it to the mundane for so long that we've actually run out of words to describe the truly spectacular.

Being called a name is not a fucking "ordeal."

Words directed at you don't make you bleed. They don't put you in the hospital. They have only the power you choose to give them.

If these young women had wanted to prove how truly strong, brave, proud and dignified they were (in addition to how wise), they would've taken Imus's comment in stride, accepted his apology and forgotten about it the next fucking day.

That's what the rest of us do -- the weak, undignified and well-acquainted with the fact that life holds a hell of a lot worse "ordeals" than being insulted.


Zoe said...

Thank you Chez. I knew there must be SOMEONE in the news business who felt that this whole thing is just fucking bullshit. If you don't like Imus, DON'T FUCKING LISTEN TO HIM, Jesus!

Sarcastro said...


girl with curious hair said...

I was going to say something, but since you seem to feel so strongly about this...

Chez said...

"Strongly" doesn't even begin to cover it.

VOTAR said...

I felt the same way as I attempted repeatedly to sit at this keyboard to assemble my piece on the matter: speechlessness on a scale that is rare for me as well. I had to sit and think for days, during which I figured the matter would have blown through the news cycle by the time I could find any words at all. But, this thing has already gone all Hal Holbrook on us, hasn't it?

So...fear not for thunder stolen, my friend. Grab your lightning bolts and join the party, the blogosphere will be alight with a spectacular shit storm tonight.

doesn't play well with others said...

My favorite question (to add to the utter ridiculousness of the whole situation) that was asked of the women's basketball team by the media, "Were you more offended as a woman or as an african american?"
For the love of god, someone please put these girls back in their dorm rooms and let the crotchety old man go on his merry way.

Monique said...

I just have to thank you. You have put into words my pent up rage on this absurd bullshit that we are being force-fed.


rasaustin said...

Chez, a million amens back to you, brother... however, why the fuck do you stay in the business?
Take it from someone who put in 14 years in DMA #96 & #60... there is life on the other side. A GOOD life. Get out, dude - you are way too smart to be mired in this shit.

choenbone said...

wahhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa! the dirty old man called me a name! Im calling Big Al, he'll make it right wahhhaa!

so the fuck what, they got called "nappy headed ho's." It's better than what i would have called them: A bunch of whiny dykes. Im sorry but i like my women to look like women, Not Rosie O'.
Zoe said it: If you don't like it don't fucking listen to it.

it IS that fucking simple

rasaustin said...

Oh, one other thing - The Rutgers Women's Basketball Team (aka Napsters) are going to be on Oprah today. Feel free to blow a gasket on that one.

Kathy said...

I guess I never realized that Don Imus represented such a threat to decency and integrity in this country. I thought that Bill O'Reilly already had that job. I'm with Monique - thank you for putting my scorn into more intelligent words than the "what the fuck??" that has been rattling around in my head.

mike d said...

Totally agree with you, but as a reminder there has been another story, very recently which also gained national recognition and a million radio and tv and newspaper spots for absolutely no reason...the whole stupid anna nicole mess...who cares about that fat slob and her retarded henchmen (obviously all news media). But this whole imus thing is just another string in irrelevant news...

Anonymous said...

My rage comes from having the intellect to see the perpetuation of a mental oppression. While we focus on how outraged we are when someone other then an African degrades or stereotypes us, we continue to overlook how we continue to do far worse to ourselves. It's the whole who can and can't say the "N" word debate. I'm so pissed to hear reactions to this and have to watch PR Ambulance chasers Jesse and Al that I can hardly stand it. If Imus was only a rapper he would'a had the greenlight to say far worse....

Thanks for the moment of clearity in the haze ma man.


Thomas said...

Chez, every time my wife tells me I'm too angry, I tell her she's not angry enough (contextually speaking). I quote her my favorite bumper sticker, "If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention."

For better or for worse, you completely validate me and my anger. And we all have our flaws, but to me, this is not one of them...

What about the 15 extra months our troops have to serve in their tours to Iraq. What about the numerous White House staff who graduated from Fallwell's and Pat Robertson's religiously bent law schools? Who gives a fuck as long as we've got political correctness to harp on and Anna Nicole's baby-daddy to fret about (can I say baby-daddy or is that not PC anymore?).

Fuck it, I'm moving to the moon.

Anonymous said...

You're fuckin right. Not to endorse Imus in any sense, but I do support whatever he feels free to say without corporate bro breathing down his neck. These fucking corporate hacks KNEW the guy would make stupid comments, but nonetheless what makes him relevant at all, or the Rutgers team for that matter so that this story is on every freakin minute is beyond me.

If Al Sharpton can say what he wants, if we have to tolerate morons on Deal or New Deal, if I tolerate non-talents throughout California radio driving into work everyday or if we have to watch people jumping from top of the World Trade Center, then should be able to deal with a couple of comments no matter how moronic (for Imus) without it being front page news for the subsequent five days and without Imus being put through the ringer NOT because he doesn't deserve it but because their a bunch race-baiting bigots prodding it and the media responding to it because of them.

Chex when you write your first non-fiction, I will be in line waiting for the inside book cover autograph!!

TK said...

Well, I've got mixed feelings, I guess. Imus is an asshole. His comments are certainly racist and ignorant. He should apologize, though I know it's not a genuine one. And the girls on that team are justified in their outrage. Because it was directed at them, after all.

The rest of the world? Not so much. This was indeed completely blown up. There's no reason it should be continual national news. Though I'm happy to see NBC dump him, it's more because I don't like him than because I think he deserved it. I will neither applaud nor decry their action. But you're right - there are hundreds of racist assholes in the media that get by unscathed and uncriticized. But he's a prominent one (hard as that is to believe) so he gets to be the goat. But why are we treating this like he molested a five year old? I don't know - I guess it's the continuing rampage of political correctness, coupled with the continuing sick fascination with all things celebrity.

famous m said...

never have the words of a dead man caused such unnecessary controversy. wait...the corpse of Imus is actually alive? and you say somebody really listens to his program?

Chez, punch America in the face...we got your back.

Mike said...

Inarticulate rage was the response I tended to lean toward.

I would also like to know where race even once entered into the context of his comments, I understand both of those words are typically used by the Black community, however they do not have a monopoly on them.

Ahh well lets sit back and fiddle...

EK said...

I may not agree with you on everything (say, for example, the whole my chemical romance thing) but you've got this shit pegged. Amen, brother.

VOTAR said...

Hey guys, you know, it occurs to me that aside from here on this author's blog (and, I'm assuming, scattered throughout the blogosphere like the cells of so many "Red Dawn" freedom fighters), the counterpoint position is not getting ANY press.

We can all agree with each other, and thank Chez for being one of the few to voice our unspoken rage, but this effectively is no more than a closeted circle jerk. Where are the counter protests? All I see on the mainstream press are the paid-to-be-outraged-again black "ministers" and pundits, and the media talking heads sucking their dicks for fear that an expression of common sense will be spun into a tacit support of racism, and so this wave of homeland economic terrorism won't spread to them and THEY won't have THEIR advertisers boycotted as well.

I mean, seriously, there are people out ther right now spinning this thing into an absurd level of pandemonium, using words like "oppression," and "injury." One of the basketball girls was quoted earlier today saying she's "scarred for life."

What the fuck is this? What's really going on? It's mind-boggling, depressing, infuriating, and disgusting, all at once.

Chez can you report that there is any coverage of any kind of anyone who has been willing to stand up with a voice as loud as Al "No one insulted me but I'm offended anyway" Sharpton, to say enough is enough? The only hint of that which I have heard was on Sean Hannity's radio show last night (yeah, I know, but it was either that, or Marlins baseball on the drive home in my car...fuck I need an mp3 player...). This puts me in the untenable position of a) having to actually support the cretinous Don Imus, and b) siding with a fascist lunatic neo-con apologist, just because I seem to be one of the last few thinking rational humans left on this continent.

This has turned into an episode of South Park where all the adults are running around screaming in hysterics over something that doesn't even exist. Except it's really not very funny.

Alex said...

This has shades of Janet Jackson's boob (aka Nipplegate) written all over it. Take an event that few people actually saw (or heard) and replay it over and over and over again until the moral outrage boils over. By the way, a very good column about this is here:

namron said...

The fact that you are so outraged about the media's treatment of the Imus story is only slightly less outrageous than the Imus story itself. Continuing storylines on Don Imus, Anna Nicole Smith, missing cheerleaders on Spring break, or douche bag La Crosse players is not worthy of the energy to maintain this level of rage. The media's lack of the intlleigence or the fortitude to saturate us with dull but important storylines like predatory home lending, health insurance delivery system failures, economic dislocation due to international manufacturing competition against multi-national conglomerates using client foreign governments to tilt the playing field, or CEO monetary rape of corporations is much more worthy of outrage. Could your heightened anxiety over Imus' treatment result from your incorporation into the "Borg" of TV news operations? Chez, is it time for you to set sail for the New World? Who knows, we indigenous peoples over here might wind up worshiping you as God.

litelysalted said...

Not much I can add that hasn't already been said. For the first few days of this "controversy" I kept my distance because I immediately could smell the wafting bullshit. Then when I finally heard it replayed in context, I was like, "WHAAAA...??? That's what everybody's so pissed about?

Fuck. Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly. Pretty much anyone on Fox News. Take those fuckers to task.

And seeing those idiots out protesting makes me almost ashamed that I used to participate in feminist activism.

Zoe said...

Chez, nothing to do with this post but I have to ask someone because I still think I'm hallucinating: were all the news channels (msnbc, cnn and (ha) fox) carrying breaking news of a horse stuck in the mud?

Please tell me it was the crack, man.

rasaustin said...

By the way, did you happen to see that there is a press conference scheduled for tomorrow, where the Reverend Al Sharpton apologizes to the Duke Lacross team, for unfairly being accused of a racially motivated sexual assault?

Funny, neither did I.

Emily Blake said...

The thing that gets me is I just want this man to shut the hell up. During his "apology" he called Al Sharpton and a black female senator "you people" and said they were speaking "jive". Why does anyone care what he says? He's clearly a crotchety old idiot, like your racist grandfather who means well and has no clue that the world has changed around him.

Manny said...

Just to put my two cents in on this: I think you said something before about defending to the death someone's right to speak their mind, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. My brother read the post I did about Christianity and that offended him to no end. I think we spent the better part of an hour emailing back and forth on it. But I didn't apologize for it. Those were my opinions. However dumb and crass whatever Imus said was, he has the right to say it. The fate of someone's livelihood should never hinge upoon the whims of those who probably don't even listen to his show.

But you've floored me again Chez. Repeatedly you're able to put into words exactly what readers of Malcontent are thinking. You have got to get out of the damn business man. You are waaaay too smart and talented to be subjected the whims of your higher ups and what they think is "news".

Mah nigga.

Nancy said...

Listen, friend, this is all well and good, and I wouldn't THINK of arguing with you. But when the hell are you going to write about John Edwards and his decision to Run Anyway? I've been waiting for days for you to do this. I'm about to do it myself. Sheesh.

QueBarbara said...

You have (at least) two amazing talents. One is the ability to skim off all the b.s. and get to the essence of the story, and the other is the ability to convey the real story so eloquently. On behalf of one who has difficulty with both, keep fighting the good fight.

Julie said...

Wouldn't advertisers pulling their sponsorship of Imus's CBS radio show and the MSNBC simulcast factor into the decision to fire him? What are your feelings on the actions of the likes of AmEx, GM and Staples? When the media makes such an issue, when Sharpton/Jackson pitch their tents, do corporations realistically have a choice?

Upthread, Alex posted the link to a Jason Whitlock column in the KC Star. For further excellent Whitlock commentary on the situation:

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a good made up controversy to make the irrelevant (Imus and a Women's college basketball team that lost the finals) relevant.

Please God, Xenu, or whatever help us all.

theodicy said...

Such good words, they bear repeating:

The ridiculous ongoing melodrama over, and laughable overreaction to, an irrelevant old man's use of the words "nappy-headed hos" makes me want to -- over and over again.

If there has been a larger, more prominent non-issue to capture the attention of the media and subsequently be force-fed to the American public, I'm completely unaware of it.

Personally, I'd prefer more coverage of Knut, at least he's as cute as a button.

Seriously, there is a few lessons to take away from this whole fiasco...

1) Don Imus APOLOGIZING to--of all people!--Al 'Diamond Merchant' Sharpton. Don need not apologize to anyone, as you correctly point out. If anything, Imus should have done a 10 second "sorry Rutgers" apology, and moved right along. There is nothing a bully loves more then when a victim is weak and defenseless. Sharpton and Jackson, who make Imus look like Mother Teresa in comparison, smelled the blood in the water and pounced. However, they did accomplish something that I didn't think was in the realm of possibility: they made me feel sorry for Don Imus.

2) On Michelle Malkin's blog, instead of screaming about the insanity of the the Imus lynching, she just went and posted the lyrics to the TOP SIX rap songs as of April 10. Take a look at any one of those lyrics, compared to what Imus said, and see which you find to be more offensive. Of course I'm certain those nice, sweet Rutgers lady b-ball players listen to nothing but Bach, Beethoven and Gregorian Chants.

3) I'm not as cynical as Chez, but knowing a bit about the history of journalism, it's obvious that controversy sells, and it has for a very, very long time. Post an article about how wrong it is that the troops have to stay an extra three months in Iraq, and you may get a few supportive comments. Post an article about Al Gore's house using more energy than a small African nation (carbon footprint hypocrite!), and you'll get comments by the boatload. The news peddlers are giving us what we want, and we scoop it up. We enjoy being outraged. The entire extreme left & right wings are of both parties are built on the pillars of outrage, the only difference is the subject of the outrage. (Gay Marriage! Global Warming! Illegal Immigration! The extinction of the polar bears!)

Even National Geographic magazine, who's most daring journalism exploits use to be the publishing of pictures of the topless native inhabitants of the Amazon basin, has now has taken a course to where the magazine reads like an in-house publication for Green Peace.

That was the punchline of the movie "Network" wasn't it? Give the people some outrage, real or manufactured, and watch those dollars fly in.

4) That which is the most infuriating about this whole thing, for me anyway, is that Jackson and Sharpton are NEVER called account for there evil antics, and the mainstream news media is all too willing to gloss over their litany of bad behavior, while focusing solely on Imus, who made an entire career out of behaving badly and being proud of it. At least he never pretended to be an arbiter of morality and decency the way PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES Jackson and Sharpton do!

It wouldn't even be HARD for a half-baked news reporter to did up the dirt on these two, since there's so much to choose from! But the fact that they don't, and that no one even bothers to do so, tells you a lot about how the news business operates.

I would just love to see something like the following: "Rabid anti-Semite Al Sharpton, in a move of audacious hypocrisy, refused to accept an apology from shock-jock Don Imus concerning a goofy little comment he made about the Rutger's girl basketball team, while corporate shake-down artist and professional victim Jesse Jackson supported the Jew-hating Sharpton in his hypocritical attack on Imus...."

<>< TM

Chez said...


I understand Malkin's point without having to get anywhere near her or her website thanks. : )


The Whitlock column is excellent. Robo sent it to me a couple of days ago and Whitlock himself was on Lou Dobbs last night making some very strong points. I'll be mentioning him later today.

Anonymous said...

oh yes, while this bullshit is ensuing at the "mansion" the freakin Governor of New Jersey is in intensive care...which is a footnote on Anderson's coverage of this.

Paul said...

1) Only the government grants free speech. This is not a free speech issue.

2) It's not going to be a lot of fun to live in the world Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson want. No talking, just smiles and nods.

3) I think Michelle Malkin got collagen lip implants. That bothers me, but I still think shes kinda hot.

4) No one can make you feel good or bad about yourself by calling you a name.

5) "Why do you think you take a ho to a hotel. Cuz ho tell everybody. Even the mayor. Look up in the sky see the ho-zone layer." - Ludacris

TK said...

You know what? I would have fired him too. I'd certainly fire (or at least discipline) one of my staff if they said that.

HOWEVER - I would not create a national story out of it. And I would not demand an apology, because it a) doesn't fix anything and b) would be hollow at best.

Adam R said...

This just in: Imus to go to rehab in 3...2...1

Anonymous said... all evolves back to rap lets see Jesse and Al fight the "music industry" with the same illustrious tenacity.

Chez: apparently Jayne keeps you in-check? You no nappy hoe???

Robert said...

More soldiers dead in Iraq this weekend.Suicide bombing in the Green Zone.

Move along...nothing to see here....

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

"More soldiers dead in Iraq this weekend.Suicide bombing in the Green Zone."

Yeah, Robert... I gave up giving a shit about Don Imus after hearing that on Thursday. In an almost pathetically short spot on ABC news. Which I have heard no mention of since. However, everywhere I turn, there's more news on Imus.

firewings said...

This is such a great post. I wish the media would at least entertain this side of the debate, especially the angle of how surviving an insult become a heroic measure akin to surviving Iraq or 9/11.

I can't wait to read the next installment.

Anonymous said...

hey chez, I hope u don't mind but I used your "Imusgate" on my latest blog entry, because after, your worth stealing from :)

Shane said...

You know, after watching Elizabeth Hasselbeck, ABC's Ann Coulter-Lite in my opinion, spout off for days and days now on The View about the "attack" on those poor, defenseless women from Rutgers, I've had just about enough.

It's not as if the guy went and chased the team down with a freakin' baseball bat.

If I had a damn dime for everytime I've heard everyone from the Isaah Washington to my own family members use the word "faggot," I'd be one rich sonofabitch. It's a non-issue when the name-calling isn't against a non-African American, and the double standards of the typical American hypocrite as to what is politically correct and what isn't makes me want to throw up.

Words are words, and as we've been shown time and time again throughout history, morality cannot and will not be legislated. There will always be racists and always be homophobes. It's just up to the rest of us to pony up, grab our balls, and be real men about it. They're just words, folks. They aren't gonna kill you.

Chez, for once, you and I see eye to eye.


Aaron said...

I think you're hitting the nail right on the head regarding Imusgate. Sure, what he said was really lame, but to lose his job over it? In the past 12 months, Glenn Beck has said some far worse shit - in some cases, to far more important people - without all the brouhaha, and last I looked, he still has his job at CNN. There's no consistency, nor any actual standards, in all of this. Just bluster.