Friday, April 13, 2007

On Don Imus...

Now that Don Imus’ career has mercifully drawn to a close we can step back, take a deep breath, and put our two cents in on this sordid affair.

“Nappy headed hos” was the now infamous infraction which led to a week of consternation and the sacking of one of the most popular radio personalities of the last thirty years. Now I don’t pretend to know or understand why the cranky, unfunny Imus was such an icon nor do I care. The guy was, in my opinion, a no-talent hack with the gift for gab. If not for his incomprehensible rise to stardom Imus would be a two-fifths-of-whiskey-a-day alcoholic trolling the bars for his beloved “nappy headed hos”. Guaranteed.

But since the gods smiled upon his crusty ass we had to witness with morbid fascination his stunning lack of judgment as he issued one of the most inflammatory comments in the history of the mass media. Then we had to watch as the river of self-righteous indignation flooded the landscape. Al “I have no idea who Tawanna Brawley is” Sharpeton, Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson, Essence Magazine, conservative radio host Mike Gallagher, Bill O’Reilly, and a whole host of others from across the political spectrum have denounced, distanced themselves from, or have flat out called for Imus’ head on a pike. All the while people like Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Bill Maher, Howard Fineman, and Tom Oliphant have stood in support of the now unemployed barnacle. This is hardly one of those liberal vs. conservative dust ups we’ve grown ever so fond of.

So from whence does this controversy draw its energy? Simple, the First Amendment. That’s right, that little proviso in he Bill Of Rights that guaranteed the people freedom of speech and religion, the very same Amendment that causes simultaneous fear, revulsion, and unbridled inspiration is the foundation of this debate. Is it just coincidence our founding fathers put this tenet at the top of rights ordained by our creator? I think not.

It comes as no surprise that Al Sharpeton and Jessie Jackson have been the most vociferous cogs in this mechanism of controversy, as is their want. But seldom do so few with so little credibility hold sway over so many. The inglorious track record of these two charlatans leads one to take their vapid verbal spewing with an enormous grain of salt. Had these two not interjected themselves in countless debates, oft times being proved embarrassingly wrong, then those of us with an ounce of sense might actually take them seriously. It’s like the whole feminist deification of Margaret Sanger, she of the eugenic and racist schools of thought. Then the supporters of Sanger, Sharpeton, Jackson, et al. will eventually say, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” Sure, but do you want to base your day or ideology on a jacked up time piece. Hell no!!!

The clarion call for Imus’ head is disturbing to me. Why, pray tell. Well, I'll tell you, I resent the hell out of the fact that so many in the public eye have anointed themselves the moral arbiter of this country and experts on what is permissible to say on the airwaves. To them I say, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!” If I wanted your opinion about what traverses my ear canal I’d give it to you. Only the FCC can determine permissible content for broadcast, even though they’re a pack of simpering dunderheads too. The choice of what is or is not permissible media content is with the people, the great unwashed, who, in the opinions of many talking heads and politicos, are too dirt dumb to decide for themselves. Therein lay the problem with investing so much in those that occupy the bully pulpit, their arrogance in foisting their sense of right & wrong upon the people knows no bounds. Only someone who believes they to be superior would dream of crowning themselves as a national moral compass. And only someone with no respect for free debate and discourse, i.e. no respect for freedom of speech, would pull this crap.

Eureka! We’ve found the steamy underbelly of this downtrodden beast. At the heart of the soul of EVERY talking head, politician, or media darling who voices their desire to be a moral divining rod, be they liberal or conservative, is an inherent disdain for the Constitution and the will of the people. This cabal, O’Reilly, Sharpeton, Jackson, & Co. would just as soon crap on your head and wipe their ass with the Constitution before admitting their compass arrow floats around more than those they hold in such contempt.

For it is you and I they hate…and fear.

Now, I would never contend that Imus’ remarks were anything less than ignorant drivel, and anything more than callous and stupid and unfunny. But his job shouldn’t be in jeopardy because he has no control over his mouth. Look at a few historical parallels from the entertainment and media industry…N.W.A., the hugely influential rap group waxed poetic about slingin’ dope and jockin’ hos, Gunz N Roses were routinely derisive of women in their music, Chris Rock is one of the most caustic and funny comedians ever, Sam Kinnison lampooned Christ’s crucifixion and mocked the starving in Ethiopia. The list goes on & on, 2Pac, Snoop, Ice Cube, Eminem, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield, Dane Cook, Carlos Mencia, and Bill Maher were all guilty of saying shit that was far more divisive than anything Don Imus said, yet they’re still gainfully and gleefully employed.

Why, I ask, has Don Imus suddenly been singled out as the worst America has to offer? Yes he did drag a group of unwitting young women into the spotlight for reasons other than their improbable run in the women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. Yes his apologies were hardly genuine. And yes he eventually lashed out at those who stood in condemnation of his actions. But in an industry teeming with egomaniacal dipshits who literally make their fortune by saying ANYTHING that pops into their head it seems the height of hypocrisy that Don Imus is now the poster child for what gets you fired.

In closing (freakin’ finally!) let me say this…if you truly believe Imus should have been fired then I call you a coward. Why? Because you sit in fear of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech it guarantees. Why else would you want to squelch an admittedly horrible utterance? The First Amendment gives us all the right to freely engage in debate, be us racist assholes or enlightened minds. But those of you who would squash such openness have no appreciation for the fact if Imus’ speech is taboo then yours will follow suit…in the blink of an eye.