Friday, April 13, 2007

Timely Commentary Ripped from Today's Headlines

Have you heard about the brouhaha over Don Imus's comments regarding the Rutgers University women's basketball team? Criminy, I can't turn around without seeing or hearing something about it be it on TV, radio, newspapers, or the Internet. As Charlton Heston would say, "It's a madhouse! A madhouse!!"

Seriously, I'm not surprised Imus was fired over this because that's how radio works. The corporate giants certainly don't mind making money from their "bad boys" but these same corporate giants don't lift a finger to defend their talent the moment an incident generates more than a few complaint phone calls. They are afraid to tell people to change stations if they don't like what they hear because Joe and Jane Q. Public don't like to be told such things and *gasp* may actually decide to listen to something else. That causes lower ratings and lower ratings mean less money. Heaven forbid a multi-billion dollar conglomerate make a little less money.

Please do not get me wrong (and I'll put this in bold to emphasize): The remark was mean-spirited, racist, and misogynistic.

However, I cannot honestly believe that the mass populace thinks nothing like this has ever been said on the radio before. Hell, the guy that was involved in the initial on-air discussion followed Imus's remarks with a well-known racial slur (yes, he was referring to a Spike Lee movie but still). CBS Radio has known for years that Imus's brand of comedy relies on being a total jerk with behavior that has a history of flipping the race card. Quite frankly, what was said was pretty damn tame compared to some of the crap that has come out of his mouth before.

But "shock jocks" bring in the listeners—CBS was fine with that and had been for the past ten years. For CBS to suddenly pretend that this sort of thing is unacceptable is cowardly at best.

1 comment:

smacky said...

You're absolutely right, those media conglomerates are two-faced hypocrites. They'll rake in the profits from Howard Stern, for instance, for YEARS, but post-Janet Jackson boob exposure-FCC crackdown, the media company is suddenly "shocked" by his racy antics.

If the public wants it, the company will supply it, but as soon as the public is up in arms, these companies cave immediately and drop the folks they promoted and rewarded all along.

What Imus said was definitely wrong, and he probably deserves what he got. Someone said somewhere on the web "If I said 'nappy headed hos' at my job, my boss wouldn't just shrug it off." I know we're not in the entertainment industry, so it's a little different, but still...

When I first heard about it, I cringed at the idea of an old white man trying to sound hip by using the word "ho." What year is this, 1988? Imus is more guilty of not acting his age than being willfully racist.

His choice of target was obviously indefensible too. If he had said that about Oprah, or Rice, he could maybe have argued that they're public figures and he was making a joke (however much in poor taste). But picking out a bunch of college-aged females? Nice going, dipshit.

I also don't buy the "Why can rappers do it then?" argument. Yeah, rappers shouldn't call women "hos" either, but to think it's the same thing?
(1)You have to purchase a rap record to be exposed to it.
(2)Imus used public airwaves.
(3)Imus is an old white man. He's already the symbol for racism in America. "Ho" was bad enough, but "nappy headed" is just a blanketed way of saying the "n" word, and we all know it. So an old white guy making a racist, misogynistic statement on public airways is the same as Snoop Dog rapping on a CD you purchase for yourself in a store? Nope. Sorry.

And sorry I posted such a long reply. Guess I've been thinking about this as it has unfolded this week.

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