Not a first for Imus
April 9, 2007 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Name calling not unusual for Imus Imus has of course made an apology at his blog. And sometime soon, I expect, he will shoot off his big mouth again. His recent offensive remarks are not a new thing for this guy, a pompous "pundit," and simple "sorrys" would be ok except for his history of being a bad human being. And, yes: homophobic remarks too, lest he be accused of being picky in his hate
posted by Postroad (167 comments total)

 
He just misses napster.
posted by delmoi at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2007


shock jock shocks
posted by found missing at 10:59 AM on April 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


"thieving jews"? I keep hearing people talk about this guy but I have no idea who he is. The new Limbaugh?
posted by DU at 11:00 AM on April 9, 2007


Is this an East Coast thing?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:02 AM on April 9, 2007


East Coast-er here. Never heard of this guy before, however he appears to be based in New York.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:05 AM on April 9, 2007


Imus should be fired. In my Home Town a local radio host was fired for calling a Green Party candidate a "fat lesbian". She was the former, but not the latter.
posted by Gungho at 11:05 AM on April 9, 2007


Imus isn't the new anything--he's been on the air for 40 years, nearly all of them controversial. I imagine that folks shocked by his latest offense simply hadn't heard of him before.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:06 AM on April 9, 2007


The new Limbaugh Lindbergh?
posted by grobstein at 11:06 AM on April 9, 2007


Imus used to be the morning DJ on WNBC-New York radio, way, way back before Howard Stern took over that station in the 80's. More recently, he somehow managed to get his radio program simulcast on C-span.

These guys' livelihoods thrive on this sort of controversy. The things they say shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:09 AM on April 9, 2007


I've seen his show a few times on MSNBC. Not very good, but I didn't hear anything offensive then. I wouldn't say he's a new Limbaugh, as he doesn't seem to be all that Conservative. Not all that liberal either, though. Could be wrong.
posted by brundlefly at 11:10 AM on April 9, 2007


Imus should be fired. In my Home Town a local radio host was fired for calling a Green Party candidate a "fat lesbian". She was the former, but not the latter.

You wouldn't happen to be talking about Grace Ross, would you? If so, she is in fact both overweight and a lesbian (although this was certainly no excuse for addressing her as he did).
posted by rollbiz at 11:11 AM on April 9, 2007


Meh, it'll blow over and be swept under the carpet, just like with Limbaugh. Mainstream corporate media needs its racists in the trenches, to keep the hoi polloi at each others' throats.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2007


It kills me when the stations say, Whaaaat? The shock jock we hired said something shocking? We are shocked! Come on, don't lie to me- you knew what he was like when you hired him. It was like when it became public that Kate Moss used drugs, and the modeling industry pretended like they didn't know that in the first place. Lame.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:13 AM on April 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


The car the my sister had in high school in the early 80s only had an AM radio. IMUS was the morning DJ on the WNBC NY in those days. I used to have fond memories of being driven into school while listening to his whimsical bits on Moby Worm and Geraldo Santana Banana, which appealed to my junior high school sensibilities at the time.

I hadn't realized what a dour, humorless, racist douchebag he had become in the last 25 or so years.
posted by psmealey at 11:16 AM on April 9, 2007


I don't really have much anger at Imus in particular.

The guy i want to hunt down and disembowel is the guy who invented the whole goddamn motherfucking "morning zoo" concept in the first place: the idea that somehow the morning commute is the time people most want to hear fat 40 year old desperately-unhip white men making crank calls and pressing buttons that produce fart sound effects. Oh and talking for 47 minutes without ever playing a song.

Fuck radio. It should die. (except "Jonesy's Jukebox")
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:18 AM on April 9, 2007 [12 favorites]


I hadn't realized what a dour, humorless, racist douchebag he had become in the last 25 or so years.

Mmmm, but its a somehow a different shade of dour, humorless, racist douchebag than Limbaugh.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:22 AM on April 9, 2007


Race is a construct. So are waffles.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:24 AM on April 9, 2007


Since when is it illegal to be offensive? This is between him and his employers (who are probably giddy about the ratings spike they'll be getting).

Free speech, people. If you don't like him, don't listen to him.
posted by tadellin at 11:24 AM on April 9, 2007


Werd to that drjimmy. I've been listening to NPR for like 10 years now so I hadn't forgotten how stupid the morning zoo croo was. Then I tuned in (to avoid some story NPR was playing that day) and it was pretty shocking. They themselves don't even sound like they are having fun or even like each other. Of course, most recent sitcoms sound the same way to me, so maybe that's the current style of American humor.
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on April 9, 2007


Since when is it illegal to be offensive?

Since when is anyone saying it is or should be?
posted by DU at 11:26 AM on April 9, 2007


While shockjockery can be tought provocative and present unconfortable aspects of life, that doesn't imply the shockjock himself is interested into enlightening in unusual ways.

More likely, they are also into it for money. Critics of Imus point more fingers at his Cancer Kids Ranch initiative [1], [2] subsc. required, and some critic from a competing shockjock and even more critic than you can shake a stick at.

Considering the track record of other shockjocks such as Rush Limbaugh I will take all their statements with a grain of salt.

On a lighter note, fans of Howard Stern were shocked (oh really!) when they learned howard decide to marry his fiancee after years of declaring "no marriage again, ever"...eheh, it's showbusiness, will audience ever learn ?
posted by elpapacito at 11:26 AM on April 9, 2007


It's really sad that our current choices for broadcast radio seem to boil down to 3rd rate shock jocks or the arid confines of NPR. The ghosts of Wolfman Jack and Scott Muni are weeping.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on April 9, 2007


Since when is it illegal to be offensive?

There should be a law against strawmen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 AM on April 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Rehab!
posted by R. Mutt at 11:32 AM on April 9, 2007


How often do people get fired for this shit? I remember Michael Savage getting booted from MSNBC for telling a homosexual caller to "get AIDS and die"- what's the minimum requirement for radio/newspapers/tv channels to say "We don't want to be complicit in broadcasting racism, heterosexism, and so forth"?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2007


The ghosts of Wolfman Jack and Scott Muni are weeping.

Jim "the last DJ" Ladd soldiers on, though.

And if you guys have never heard Jonesy's Jukebox, it's on indie 103.1 at 12-2pm PST. They broadcast over the net. "Jonesy" is Steve Jones of the sex pistols but he plays a lot more than punk. It's great, I appreciate NPR, but they just don't play enough music for me most of the time. So Jonesy is the only reason I don't just bust my radio.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2007


The ghosts of Wolfman Jack and Scott Muni are weeping.

Damn, Muni's dead? I missed that.
posted by octothorpe at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2007


Speech is free, but access to a microphone owned by a multi-national conglomerate isn't.
And now that Obama is raising a lot of money, it might not be ok to say jigaboo anymore.
posted by 2sheets at 11:43 AM on April 9, 2007


drjimmy11: Little Steven's Underground Garage is a thing of beauty as well. It would be my dream to work for that show in some capacity.
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on April 9, 2007


tadellin writes "Free speech, people. If you don't like him, don't listen to him."

Ditto with complaining. If you don't like what someone does, you have the freedom to tell other folks, write articles, link to articles, and discuss linked articles. Whee!
posted by Bugbread at 11:49 AM on April 9, 2007 [3 favorites]


In other breaking news: American Idol's Simon says unkind things.
posted by spock at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2007


Baba Booey Baba Booey!! Howard Stern's penis! Robin's breasts!
posted by hojoki at 11:54 AM on April 9, 2007


Mmmm... waffles!

Imus hasn't been relevant in over twenty years. Frankly, I don't think he's ever been relevant.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2007


somebody tell me if I'm wrong here: In the approx. 10 minutes total I've ever paid attention to Imus (either on TV or on the radio), his sthick has always gone like this:

[journalist calls in with news story]

Imus: Christ, that guy was awful.

That Other Guy Always Sucking Imus' Cock: Yeah he sure was!

Imus: [Flash of White Dentures beneath Oxygen tubes]

[plays godawful parody song of news event]

[commercial break]
posted by Avenger at 11:57 AM on April 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


heterosexism

I've never heard that term before. I learned a new word today. Thanks Don Imus!

A side note: Imus sucks. He's syndicated and used to be on in Milwaukee in the morning. Lame.
posted by MikeMc at 11:59 AM on April 9, 2007


Imus should be fired. In my Home Town a local radio host was fired for calling a Green Party candidate a "fat lesbian". She was the former, but not the latter.
posted by Gungho at 2:05 PM on April 9


Why should someone be fired for calling someone a lesbian who isn't? (Let's assume she isn't) "Lesbian" isn't a derogatory term. Should they be fired for calling someone a hippie vegetarian if they are neither a hippie nor a vegetarian?

It seems that people are confusing "controversial" topics with hate speech. Not all racism is hate speech, and not all racial jokes are racist. And in case anyone was wonder where the law is on that continuum, only hate speech can be proscribed by the govt.

What is strange here is the notion that the offended group gets to cry to the company to fire someone for legal speech. It's not that they heard whatever he said and were offended - they heard about it later and simply don't want people saying things that would be offensive to them if they listened.

If Viacom/CBS can fire Imus for saying these things, there's no reason Fox can't cancel a sitcom or fire on-air talent for saying something that doesn't suit their political ideology. Is that really what you want?

You have to appreciate what is happening here - the government gives Don Imus more freedom of speech than his employer. You may say this is fine, because they pay him, but consider that absolutely every single scrap of media you consume comes from a corporation. Even metafilter is a legal entity distinct from its admins. But all of these media entities operate in the same culture with the same easily offended audiences that clashed with Imus.

This means that all of these corporations are going to proscribe the speech of their talent in the same way - nop racial speech, no sex talk, and a conservative viewpoint of issues relating to gays. This is why calling that woman a lesbian got that guy fired - because the audience of that show believes the word lesbian to be an insult that could result in litigation.

The net result is that there is an entire class of commentary and criticism you will never hear in American media even if it is justified. What do yopu think the result of that will be?
posted by Pastabagel at 12:01 PM on April 9, 2007


This nation has become so sensitive. I listened to the comment and while it was un-P.C. I saw nothing racist about it. Now I suppose one could say the term "ho" is sexist, but considering IMUS said nothing that minority comedians and rappers don't say everyday, I see it as another chance for the race pimps to get in the spotlight. Really, this is what "racial controversy" has boiled down to? Words? Wow.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 12:01 PM on April 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


To the extent anyone cares, Wikipedia chronicles some of Imus’ and his staff’s instances of opening their mouths to exhange feet. I remember watching him a few mornings years ago and finding his style refreshingly different, but then, I used to be able to enjoy Limbaugh in small doses back around ODS or so. Got better things to do with my time anymore than give these guys much mindshare.

The "recent offensive remarks" FPP link to FAIR.org didn't work, but I assume this is what's referred to -- at least, I glanced at the TV and saw Imus' image followed closely by Sharpton's. I find the latter's high-handed action pretty typical, though: "I don't like what you're saying! No one should be able to hear you say it!"

(Salutes to the Rutgers women, though. I hope they're better people than Imus, but then, how hard could that be?)
posted by pax digita at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2007


I'm trying to come up with a two word combination I could be less interested in than Imus and blog and...nope, can't do it.
posted by The Straightener at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2007


I'm trying to come up with a two word combination I could be less interested in than Imus and blog and...nope, can't do it.

rosieodonnell. porn.
posted by jonmc at 12:11 PM on April 9, 2007


Why can't we all just get a lung?
posted by hal9k at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2007


Hear hear, Gnostic Novelist! Wait until Imus murders someone and then I'll be interested. Except it can't just be one person, because that's not statistically significant. Let's be moderate and say he has to kill at least 30 people and the percentage of blacks in the death count has to be 5% more than the demographic where he lives before he counts as racist. Sound reasonable?
posted by DU at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2007


posted by Pope Guilty How often do people get fired for this shit? I remember Michael Savage getting booted from MSNBC for telling a homosexual caller to "get AIDS and die"- what's the minimum requirement for radio/newspapers/tv channels to say "We don't want to be complicit in broadcasting racism, heterosexism, and so forth"?

If you're a crotchety old white man, and you get good ratings, you can say whatever you want. See also: Andy Rooney.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2007


He's been Imus in the morning on the radio here for like 700 years, and now he's actually MSNBC's morning show (which is simply him on the radio, a la Howard Stern and much less fun). He's always been an ass, and it's way past time they retired him.

(tired, and way way way out-of-touch) white people: ... Shorter Howard Fineman:
Because Barack Obama got a lot of campagin contributions it's not okay to make nappy headed ho jokes anymore.

Shorter Don Imus:
In the spirit of charity, I'm going to accuse my critics of not caring about my pet issue which, because they're black, should be their pet issue too.

posted by amberglow at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2007


WHAT THE HACK?
posted by quonsar at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2007


posted by The Straightener I'm trying to come up with a two word combination I could be less interested in than Imus and blog and...nope, can't do it.

Jib Jab.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2007


Race is a construct. So are waffles.

Jesus. How can you be so blasé about waffles?

Did you SEE what waffles did to New Orleans after Katrina? Syrup EVERYWHERE.

Waffles are lazy. They just lay there. Plus. They can't drive. It's TRUE.

If it wasn't for butter they would do no god damned good what so ever. A waste of perfectly good batter.
posted by tkchrist at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


The other big deal about this is that every single NBC and Newsweek news bigshot appears on his show every morning--from Brian Williams to Russert to Mitchell to Matthews to Fineman, etc.
posted by amberglow at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2007


Really, this is what "racial controversy" has boiled down to? Words? Wow.

it's a hell of an improvement over dead niggers hanging in trees, dude.
posted by quonsar at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2007


If you're a crotchety old white man, and you get good ratings, you can say whatever you want. See also: Andy Rooney.

Andy Rooney has never been overtly racist or homophobic or sexist on air the way Imus has been for decades.
posted by amberglow at 12:21 PM on April 9, 2007


rosieodonnell. porn.

Don't you ever put the name "Rosie O'Donnell" in close proximity to the word "porn". You have been warned. Mixing Don Imus, Rosie O'Donell and porn in one thought is enough to put even the most virile off of sex for a month.
posted by MikeMc at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2007


Don't you ever put the name "Rosie O'Donnell" in close proximity to the word "porn". You have been warned. Mixing Don Imus, Rosie O'Donell and porn in one thought is enough to put even the most virile off of sex for a month.

Dude. Deep breath. Now. Picture Portia de Rossi.

See. It'll be okay.
posted by tkchrist at 12:27 PM on April 9, 2007


posted by amberglow Andy Rooney has never been overtly racist or homophobic or sexist on air the way Imus has been for decades.

That was meant as a joke, dude.

Also, I propose we start referring to Imus fans as Donanists.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2007


... As Howard Stern (sworn enemy of IMUS) pointed out this morning, Imus is known for being a racist. He and Robin recalled a time when he called black workers at the station the N-word and refused to speak to non-white interns.

As Howard said, "Imus has said worse". Robin followed, "At least he isn't standing there holding your paycheck calling you n---er."
...

posted by amberglow at 12:31 PM on April 9, 2007


I grew up listening to him. He did one of the first "morning zoo" radio shows. He was Howard Stern before Howard Stern.
posted by mike3k at 12:32 PM on April 9, 2007


The net result is that there is an entire class of commentary and criticism you will never hear in American media even if it is justified. What do yopu think the result of that will be?

If you're the kind of normal heterosexual Protestant white guy that this country used to belong to, you'll be forced to practice your God-given right to loathe fat lesbians, nappy-headed hos and thieving jews down at the local bar? Just guessing.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2007


Waffles are lazy. They just lay there. Plus. They can't drive. It's TRUE.

Sometimes I agree with that. Sometimes not. I waffle on the waffles. But that could just be some kind of eggo trip.
posted by jonmc at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


From what i've heard, this isnt some on-air schtick...he is actually a real-life asshole who called co-workers "nigger" without batting an eyelash and who demanded that african americans who worked with him not look at him directly in the hallways. He seems to be a despicable human being and he really ought to be homeless and dead by now, if those things are true.


Don Imus, go away.
posted by JohnnyK at 12:35 PM on April 9, 2007


posted by tkchrist Waffles are lazy. They just lay there. Plus. They can't drive. It's TRUE.

[NOT PANCAKIST]
posted by fandango_matt at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2007


I used to do commercial morning radio at a local station when I was in college, and even being immersed in that, I could never "get" Don Imus. He wasn't funny, but he also wasn't overly provocative or engrossing or titillating. He wasn't even entertaining in a basal frat-boy way.

Bob and Tom I "get" even though I don't find anything but the songs funny.

John Boy and Billy are about as entertaining as visiting your dental hygienist, but again, not difficult to get or understand their target.

I've never been quite sure of Imus' target. He's not conservative, per se, he's just bitter.

I think his target demographic must be MUCH older. *shrug*
posted by Ynoxas at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2007


Really, this is what "racial controversy" has boiled down to? Words? Wow.

it's a hell of an improvement over dead niggers hanging in trees, dude.
posted by quonsar at 2:19 PM on April 9


I think you missed the point entirely, but I have to hand it to you, you know how to turn a phrase.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:40 PM on April 9, 2007


I'm sorry, I mis-spoke. Grace Ross is indeed a lesbian. Yes there's not much wrong with calling an obese lesbian a 'fat lesbian', the problem was that the DJ in question called her a "FAT LESBIAN" in a hateful way. Mr Imus et al called the basketball playing women of Rutgers "Nappy headed hos" in a nice way, similar to the way Bush Sr. referred to his grandchildren as " the little brown ones". Now if Imus had said 'I wish those nappy headed hos would all just die' then things would be a whole lot different. I withdraw my earlier request that he be fired. After all he is just a rednecked old coot.
posted by Gungho at 12:42 PM on April 9, 2007


My what a tarbaby this is...
posted by Gungho at 12:43 PM on April 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sharpton re: Imus from today's NYTimes:

“If a person in your position, whose show penetrates the marketplace, can say things that are that mean spirited,” Mr. Sharpton said, “My God, then we don’t need enemies.”

Sharpton clearly hasn't been listening to Hot 97 or any of the 'urban' stations in NYC. Mean spirited is their entire schtick.
posted by spicynuts at 12:45 PM on April 9, 2007


Controversial radio host Don Imus -- facing a storm of criticism after referring to members of a women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" -- appeared on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show Monday.

I'll do your radio show if you do mine.
posted by phaedon at 12:49 PM on April 9, 2007


I could be interested in rosieodonnellporn the way I could be interested in watching sea cows fuck on the Discovery channel; it would be a very chin scratchy and entirely academic experience.
posted by The Straightener at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2007


Oh, what controversy over the thoughts of a radio host on a women's college basketball team! A much worse insult would have been to infer that the Rutgers' women played poor team defense. Or that they missed more layups than usual.
posted by billysumday at 12:51 PM on April 9, 2007


Or that they missed more layups than usual.

Nappy Hos Can't Dunk - starring Whoopi Goldberg and Brandi
posted by spicynuts at 12:56 PM on April 9, 2007


demanded that african americans who worked with him not look at him directly in the hallways

Do you have a source for that? I used to listen to Imus years ago (he could be really funny and pointed when calling politicians out on their bullshit, which almost made up for the endless juvenile crap), and can't imagine him being that much of a racist. Where did you hear that he demanded black folks he worked with not look at him directly? That accusation seems absurd.
posted by mediareport at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2007


re: stern and imus, there was as period in the 70's, maybe early 80's when they appeared together on tv ads for WNBC. At the time, if I recall correctly, Stern was presented or understood to be Imus's protoge. Even for a young viewer it was clear that the radio station was selling obnoxiousness.

ah. more here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Imus#Radio:_comedy_and_music_bits
posted by Dr. Boom at 1:10 PM on April 9, 2007


Do you have a source for that?

The source for this kind of thing is generally Howard Stern and Robin Quivers. Of course, Stern has hated Imus with a passion for much of the last 30 years so make up of it what you will.
posted by spicynuts at 1:17 PM on April 9, 2007


the problem was that the DJ in question called her a "FAT LESBIAN" in a hateful way.
posted by Gungho at 3:42 PM on April 9


Again, so what? So he hates her. Maybe he hates all fat lesbians? Again so what? As you point out, that isn't hate speech.

Mr Imus et al called the basketball playing women of Rutgers "Nappy headed hos" in a nice way, similar to the way Bush Sr. referred to his grandchildren as " the little brown ones"

Note this doesn't work if you refer to someone as "the blonde one". This is my point above about it being justified. You cannot identify someone by skin color by you can by eye color or hair color even if skin color is the most obvious distinguishing characteristic because the assumption is that any mention of skin color is racist.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2007


I have a 30-year running hatred of Imus going back from when I worked for 'Sweet' Dick Whittington, the little-known radio genius he stole 60% of his original 'act' from (another 30% from Robert W. Morgan, 10% possibly original), and whose 'radio family' in the late '70s was dumbed down into the 'Morning Zoo' format. Even now, I can't stand to listen to Imus' 'newsguy' sidekick who has the exact same voice but none of the intelligence of Whit's longtime newser Ed Zeil. They (or 'we' - I was the third of five young 'Producers' who filled the role of Imus' McGurk without the ignorance and bigotry) set a high standard that none of the knock-off artists could ever touch, and just watching Imus' star rise while Whit remained a 'cult icon' soured me on the whole medium of commercial radio, which continues to disappoint me daily, but not surprise me.

Sigh.
posted by wendell at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


The source for this kind of thing is generally Howard Stern and Robin Quivers. Of course, Stern has hated Imus with a passion for much of the last 30 years so make up of it what you will.
posted by spicynuts at 4:17 PM on April 9


It's funny that Stern calls out Imus on racism when Stern is so obviously sexist and a misogynist.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:20 PM on April 9, 2007


1. The "apology on his blog" is a YouTube video of an MSNBC interview, and the blog its linked to from is "in no-way associated with The Imus in the Morning Show."

2. His "recent offensive remarks" are not described in the 2005 article you linked, nor in any of your other links.

3. Other than that, great post.
posted by designbot at 1:30 PM on April 9, 2007


“...there's no reason Fox can't cancel a sitcom or fire on-air talent for saying something that doesn't suit their political ideology. Is that really what you want?”

That’s not happening now?

Funny, Rosie (who’s every utterance I’ve pretty much disagreed with) caught a lot of flak for going on about 9/11 and tower 7, etc.
Didn’t bother me in the slightest (although I must seriously reconsider taking that theory at all in earnest if she’s endorsing it).
But she really hasn’t said anything to stir my passion against her personally.

Calling all Jews theives? How’s the man avoid an ass kicking?
I mean just on general principles.
Hell, I’d throw him a beating and explain “Hey man, you’ve got this coming. Look, it’s better from someone like me than some big Jewish guy who’s really got it in for you. ” And then maybe some guys will see the black eyes and refrain from really putting a dent in his head. Y’know - he already got his.

The 9/11 thing, maybe she’s wrong, maybe she’s right, maybe she’s out of line. But who’s going to take it personally? Of course it still can be a misrepresentation.

And what’s odd here (in the U.S. social discourse) is somewhere blatent misrepresentation became perfectly ok as valid speech.
Well, yeah - no speech should be censored, but if someone’s reputation is misrepresented and that is used to serve certain ends it should be exposed for what it is...
Lies are lies. Anyone spouting them is suspect.
I mean fuck hasn’t anyone watched “The Crucible”?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:33 PM on April 9, 2007


W- EEENNN-B-C
posted by phaedon at 1:35 PM on April 9, 2007


I enjoy watching and listening to Imus the same way I love seeing the skin of The Hindenburg burn off to reveal the crumbling girders beneath -what a waste of skin that guy is. I have no idea how he has managed to stay on the air as long as he has.

I'd love to see a deathmatch between Imus and Stern fought in a pool of Marshall Mcluhan's vomit.
posted by squidfartz at 1:39 PM on April 9, 2007


Race is a construct. So are waffles.

Indeed.

Not all racism is hate speech, and not all racial jokes are racist.

Anything, including a joke, that depends on the notion of 'race' promotes and perpetuates the construct, and is therefor racist

Is Mr. Imus a racist? Is Michael Richards a racist? Or just a particular style of disinhibited entertainer?
posted by scheptech at 1:39 PM on April 9, 2007


Is Mr. Imus a racist? Is Michael Richards a racist? Or just a particular style of disinhibited entertainer?

To quote a recent Chris Rock bit on this subject: "People ask me if Michael Richards is a racist. He yelled 'nigger' in a crowded room. What do you have to do to be considered racist? Shoot Medgar Evers?"
posted by psmealey at 1:42 PM on April 9, 2007


And the first thing you gotta do is learn how to say the call letters properly
posted by phaedon at 1:42 PM on April 9, 2007


...But the fact is Imus has an extensive history of making or allowing blatantly racist commentary and "jokes" on his morning radio show.

Like calling tennis star Serena Williams an "animal."
Or calling national journalist Gwen Ifill "the cleaning lady."
Or calling national journalist William Rhoden a "quota hire."
Or likening the appearance of certain black NBA players to "apes."
Or referring to residents of Harlem as "moolignans" (an Italian anti-black slur).
Or referring to the black wife of former Secretary of Defense William Cohen as a "big-haired ho."
Or suggesting that Hillary Clinton will try to connect with black audiences by flashing the hand signs of the Crips street gang.

Not mention that he was basically forced to admit in a 1998 "60 Minutes" interview that he had hired a producer specifically to do "nigger jokes."

Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page once forced Imus on his own show to promise to drop the racist references. ...

posted by amberglow at 2:05 PM on April 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


He is an old wrinkled prune of a man from the images.
posted by A189Nut at 2:38 PM on April 9, 2007


Digby: ... for almost two decades now, talk radio has been spewing vile racist, misogynistic and eliminationst spew --- and their stars have been feted and petted for it among the highest levels of the capital cognoscenti. I don't know for sure why that would be, but I have my suspicions. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:45 PM on April 9, 2007


He pointed to his involvement with the Imus Ranch, a cattle farm for children with cancer and blood disorders in Ribera, New Mexico. Ten percent of the children who come to the ranch are black, he added.

"I'm not a white man who doesn't know any African-Americans," he said.


10 percent? Goddamn man, you're a regular MLK.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:02 PM on April 9, 2007


"I'm not a white man who doesn't know any African-Americans," he said.

Slave-traders knew African-Americans, too. Good call.
posted by jmd82 at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2007


Here's another gem:

...Imus said on "The Al Sharpton Show."

The meeting prompted a series of testy exchanges, and Imus grew visibly frustrated at times. During one exchange, Imus said he can't win with "you people." Sharpton was clearly irritated by that remark.


.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:07 PM on April 9, 2007


Ever controversial utterance the guy makes extends his career as a shocking pundit just a little longer. I'm pretty sure he's like 120 years old now, isn't he?
posted by Dave Faris at 3:09 PM on April 9, 2007


If he posted on Metafilter, he'd have been dismissed as a troll ages ago.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:10 PM on April 9, 2007


...Imus said on "The Al Sharpton Show."

I don't know who's the bigger douchebag Imus or Sharpton. Oh, wait it's Sharpton. Pot,kettle,etc...
posted by MikeMc at 3:13 PM on April 9, 2007


Since when is it illegal to be offensive? This is between him and his employers (who are probably giddy about the ratings spike they'll be getting).

Free speech, people. If you don't like him, don't listen to him.
posted by tadellin at 2:24 PM on April 9


someone fails to understand free speech

Imus is an ass, always has been and always will be, just ask him. I doubt he gets fired over this, but this time the complaints just might force a change in behavior. One can only hope.

(By the way the lady Knights rock and you will see them back next year - this is a young team - you go girls.)
posted by caddis at 3:16 PM on April 9, 2007


CNN's breaking news ticker is reporting that he is suspended for two weeks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:04 PM on April 9, 2007


Is referring to hair as "nappy" racist in itself? As in if you have a tight, curly hair on you and you refer to it as "nappy" is that the same as referring to being scammed as "being Jewed"? I didn't think it was being racist, I thought it just meant tight, curly hair. Am I wrong?
posted by geoff. at 4:07 PM on April 9, 2007


Or I should say, while it can be used as an insult obviously ... can one use it in a non-insulting way?
posted by geoff. at 4:09 PM on April 9, 2007


Uh, isn’t “ho” short for “whore”?
Those women have dads, husbands, brothers, do they?
Why is it ok to say it if you camouflage the word?
Call someone’s daughter/wife/sister a ‘puta’ and you’re going to have a fight on your hands.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:10 PM on April 9, 2007


Call someone’s daughter/wife/sister a ‘puta’ and you’re going to have a fight on your hands.

Didn't this whole "you said something about my mother" thing stop being an excuse to fight when we finished high school?

We might as well be logically consistent and bring back duels so men can defend their righteous honor and their family name in the streets.

Just the fact that someone is even bothered by it says a lot.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 4:14 PM on April 9, 2007


More likely, they are also into it for money. Critics of Imus point more fingers at his Cancer Kids Ranch initiative [1],

I can hardly stand listening to Imus and his comments were inexcusable, but mocking or lambasting his charity work is the true sign of a complete fucking asshole, as the writer in that link truly shapes himself up to be.

If he bothered to do five minutes of Googling when claiming Imus could have "done more" with his money, he might have found the numerous medical and hospital charities he's promoted and funded. One of his triumphs is the Don Imus Children's Wing at Hackensack Memorial Hospital in New Jersey where I used to live.

If you're outraged at Imus' comments there's no need to attack the good things he did because there's nothing bad about those.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:17 PM on April 9, 2007


Name calling not unusual for Imus

WOW, THANKS FOR POSTING!
posted by dhammond at 4:40 PM on April 9, 2007


“Didn't this whole "you said something about my mother" thing stop being an excuse to fight when we finished high school?”

No. In Illinois we have a ‘fighting words’ clause for incitement to violence. There are things you can say to someone which can reasonably be expected to incite them and you are yourself responsible for that. That’s as logically consistent as the proscription against shouting ‘fire’ in a crowed theater.
You can’t simply insult and berate someone and expect to get away with some kind of high school excuse such as “he hit me first” when you incited them to do it. And of course, this was not merely said to someone, but said across a broad communications network and thus - directly to their faces.

Now I’m not advocating anything should happen, merely that Imus - and other liars (as, these women are not whores, nor are all jews theives) be called on their bullshit. That it’s done by other free speech makes me happy. Although I’m continually surprised (albeit, grudgingly pleasantly) that more violence isn’t done.

Furthermore, the statements were not made devoid of context - the social context here is that amongst black Americans in certain quarters “ho” is used. Of course, it is not used as a polite convention any more than a pimp’s (of whatever color) usage of ‘bitch’ is to describe his own prostitutes. The key here is the non-participatory nature of the context. You see, a pimp can call the women who whore for him, bitches, ‘ho’s’, whatever he likes because they’re participating in that contextual reality. Additionally, as he is of the criminal class and the women are of a lower level within that criminal class, the pimp can get away with it. They suffer being called bitches, ho’s - whatever. They might even - on the surface - revel in it.
That is not, however, the sum of all black culture. It certainly does not have anything to do with polite black culture - which shares mores similar to other polite cultures in that there is a wide variety of words one refrains from using.

Here however Imus has asserted that all black people share the lowest standard of their culture (the criminal class) and that a group of women who are not only prominantly in polite society but are visibly so - are subject to disparagement and thus the worthlessness - or at least the equivalent of criminal - of all black culture. Thus he is attempting to prove - in much the same way a pimp does - dominance.
Whether it’s based on his personal thing or the superiority of ‘white’ culture or whether he’s just talking out of his ass - that is most certainly a form of social control through abuse and is in fact used by pimps who must constantly remind their whores how worthless they are in order to keep them under his hand (if one’s pimp hand is strong, one’s ho’s are under control and submissive).

The backlash response has come because this has been a longtime tactic used to continually attempt to keep black folks in check. Telling them they are worthless, their society is worthless, there is no such thing as ‘polite society’ amongst ‘coloreds’ - etc. Which is why ‘black power’ emerged and a sense of identity was necessary to create (which these comments attack). Why “I’m black and I’m proud” and other such seemingly facile and pointless chants were necessary. To empower black people and the creation of a visible polite black society the equivalent of white polite society. Folks who go to church, do stuff with the PTA, keep their lawns mowed, worry about property taxes, all the values based stuff. Black people you would have over to your house and whom wouldn’t say “motherfucker” in front of your gramma and such. Normal people with families, jobs, etc. who are just as reputable as anyone else.

This is a very subtle and unspoken debate which has simmered beneath the surface in the U.S. for a long time. While I’m not a big fan of Sharpton, it’s obvious why his position exists (for the very reasons above).
And there are still social and economic institutions set up such that young black men cannot join polite society - in part because they have no social cues which leads to joblessness. They don’t know how to act on a job interview, they don’t have the social interaction skills beyond what they’ve learned amongst themselves. (other factors aside of course) I’m jumping over a mass of data and economic stuff here, but suffice it to say much of this, it can be argued, is by design.

Therefore Imus saying something like this is not the thing said itself in isolation. There is train and boat loads of freight attached to it. Which magnifies it. And, as I’ve actually got black friends and jewish friends who I care about, pisses me off personally and I want to sound off about it. I imagine folks with a bigger platform and who have more invested want to sound off about it louder. I don’t see the problem with that.

Got any feces and shoe polish you’d like differentiated? Or maybe you should think about why the issue is so invisible to you and whether there is any investment in why that is?

Tell you what - if you still think I’m wrong - to replicate the social situation give me your home phone number - or your parents home number and some of her friends and I’ll call your mom every day for a couple weeks and berate her and call her friends and tell them how much they suck too. Then to replicate Imus’ comments, invite me over to your house, I’ll call your mother a cocksucking whore in front of you and your whole family and their friends and we’ll see if they react - by your terms - in a juvenile manner and get upset in anyway or violently accost me.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:22 PM on April 9, 2007 [9 favorites]


Is referring to hair as "nappy" racist in itself?

It strikes me as oddly archaic but racist. Like these women would all get their hair straightened if they weren't so ignorant or something. Like calling a Latino a zoot-suit beclad goon.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:26 PM on April 9, 2007



If you're outraged at Imus' comments there's no need to attack the good things he did because there's nothing bad about those.


Uh XQUZYPHYR dude I know what a smear and ad hominem is, but I am hardly outraged anymore by mere words ..but over the years I have developed an incredibly callous skin over charity.

Living in italy tought me a thing or two about abusing people goodwill scaring people into not reacting , attacking messengers when they claim there is something fishy, painting them as cancer kid haters while silently syphoning away the money in little streams, using celebrity status to solicit donation from audience.

Not saying that every charity is a scam, not at all ! Yet I can hardly stand people who systematically abuse people goodwill , because they easily ruin trust in people for very long times or forever.

So claim what you want, charities imho must go extra mile to prove they are squeezing value out of money..expecially when the amounts of money they handle become significant. As for people goodwill, sometime even giving the very local, very controllable church / civil charity / younameit is a lot better investment than giving $100 to some hellhole you will never be able to overlook.
posted by elpapacito at 7:05 PM on April 9, 2007


Gwen Ifill recalls--...For all their grit, hard work and courage, the Rutgers girls got branded “nappy-headed ho’s” — a shockingly concise sexual and racial insult, tossed out in a volley of male camaraderie by a group of amused, middle-aged white men. ...
The serial apologies of Mr. Imus, who was suspended yesterday by both NBC News and CBS Radio for his remarks, have failed another test. The sincerity seems forced and suspect because he’s done some version of this several times before.

I know, because he apparently did it to me.

I was covering the White House for this newspaper in 1993, when Mr. Imus’s producer began calling to invite me on his radio program. I didn’t return his calls. I had my hands plenty full covering Bill Clinton.

Soon enough, the phone calls stopped. Then quizzical colleagues began asking me why Don Imus seemed to have a problem with me. I had no idea what they were talking about because I never listened to the program.

It was not until five years later, when Mr. Imus and I were both working under the NBC News umbrella — his show was being simulcast on MSNBC; I was a Capitol Hill correspondent for the network — that I discovered why people were asking those questions. It took Lars-Erik Nelson, a columnist for The New York Daily News, to finally explain what no one else had wanted to repeat.

“Isn’t The Times wonderful,” Mr. Nelson quoted Mr. Imus as saying on the radio. “It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.” ...

Why do my journalistic colleagues appear on Mr. Imus’s program? That’s for them to defend, and others to argue about. I certainly don’t know any black journalists who will. To his credit, Mr. Imus told the Rev. Al Sharpton yesterday he realizes that, this time, he went way too far.

Yes, he did. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:21 AM on April 10, 2007


Does MSNBC Have A Double Standard For Imus?
posted by amberglow at 5:35 AM on April 10, 2007


I think there's something else going on here, also linked to this Kathleen Parker/female soldiers thing, that plays into the Republicans' Victimized White Male base and the narratives that appeal to such a base.
People like this really do feel put-upon that they can't give in to their basest instincts. They really feel like they've been somehow reduced because they're not allowed to reduce others. What Fineman is basically saying is that left to his own devices, he'd be happy to mock black women for being black and being women. Left to his own devices, he'd be happy to use snotty code language to put other human beings in their places. Left to his own devices, he'd be a total fucking ignorant jackoff. And it's outside pressure that is keeping him from being so.
Some of the kind of humor you used to do you just can't do anymore.
It's an imposition, to not be a racist asshole. And it's hard on these guys, isn't it? ...

posted by amberglow at 5:43 AM on April 10, 2007


tkchrist: Dude. Deep breath. Now. Picture Portia de Rossi.

...having sex with Ellen DeGeneres. Sorry to burst your bubble there, kids.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:59 AM on April 10, 2007


"In one single show over 4 minutes, Imus and his producer hit on the following topics:
Beating up faggots.

Knocking over Jewish tombstones.

Setting homeless bums on fire.

Anderson Cooper taking it in the poop chute.

Obama as a colored man.

Homos.

Wishing that some 'sissy' on American Idol be the victim of a vicious hate crime.

Shaving Rosie O'Donnell's bush, you'd need a weed wacker."
YouTube video.
posted by ericb at 10:29 AM on April 10, 2007


Rutgers Coach: Imus’ Comments ‘Despicable’ -- Players to meet with radio host, hope to ‘get something accomplished.’

MSNBC video.
posted by ericb at 10:32 AM on April 10, 2007


Are they meeting with the program directors over at VH1, BET and MTV to discuss their blatant airing of racist, misogynistic hip-hop videos too?

Just sayin
posted by HyperBlue at 10:48 AM on April 10, 2007


HyperBlue, they may well do that afterward, either collectively or as individuals, who is to say that money of these players aren't already socially and politically active in other areas? What do you really know about these young women who are such dedicated college athletes? It might have been easier to contemplate these individuals as being unique and talented people before they recently became just "nappy headed hoes".
posted by stagewhisper at 11:05 AM on April 10, 2007


(ah- *many player*- not money)
posted by stagewhisper at 11:06 AM on April 10, 2007


(MTV plays videos? I thought they stopped that sometime in the early '90s.)

I haven't heard that rappers/musicians aired on MTV/VH1/BET are calling the Rutgers students names, so the students would ask them for an apology because...why?
posted by rtha at 12:11 PM on April 10, 2007


Stagewhisper the young women in question seem in all estimation to be fine, upstanding student-athletes. After watching their response to Imus' apology I was impressed by their restraint and class. My point is that the escalating level of public outrage seems to be generated (and further exacerbated/magnified) by Sharpton and Jackson to suit their agendas. The recent and previous gaffs of M. Richards and even Mel Gibson also heap fuel on the fire.

I still just don't get this: why is whitey the only one that can offend? Why are minorities the only ones allowed to make racist comments against any race (especially their own) with impunity? Why is a shock jock (one expected to :shock OMG!) punished and not the minority comedian, hip-hop artist, moviemaker, or actor who uses the same_exact_words? Double standards suck from either direction.

If we are to vote with our pocketbooks then why doesn't it work both ways? If you don't like it, write the station, boycott the advertisers, turn it off. The team spokeswoman even stated that they really weren't as bothered by the comment as they were the escalating uproar and associated fame/loss of privacy. Hell I doubt any of them are even in Imus' target audience. They didn't even hear it themselves, someone had to tell them he said it.

There are just too many more offending and evil things going on in this world right now that trump this. However, we get it 24/7 on every news show. Ridiculous.
posted by HyperBlue at 12:14 PM on April 10, 2007


BTW, I'm not defending Imus. I'm indicting anyone who disparages someone else, or anyone who can't see that hurtful, stereotyping comments are wrong no matter who says them.

Imus joins the ranks of Limbaugh, Coulter, 50cent, even my great-grandma (and many, many others), who minimize or deride someone else knowingly for gain or unknowingly through inbred bigotry. I simply turn them off. Didn't your mom ever tell you to ignore anyone who teased you. If you let them get under your skin, or even acknowledge them you amplify their words and the problem.
posted by HyperBlue at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2007


His show definitely should stay on the air. He serves a legitimate purpose by offering hours of distraction and release for middle-aged white men who mourn that they can't so easily shit on inferior people the way daddy did in the good ol' days. Whatever his comments...racist, homophobic, or whatever...he's not addressing an audience that (a) does not hold these biases already and (b) will not give up those biases anyway. These are not people we want running around making trouble for the rest of us. These are people we want passively skulking before hours a day of talk radio, confident that at least somebody can feel their pain, until they die off.
posted by troybob at 2:16 PM on April 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


*adds "nappy headed hoes" to insult arsenal*

One man's setback is another clown's benefit. Heh.
posted by racist dunk-tank clown at 2:47 PM on April 10, 2007


HyperBlue,
I agree with you, *nobody* should get a free pass without being called on it. Finding this outrageous doesn't mean you excuse other behavior by people who aren't the skin color of your choice. As for the subtleties you allude to, there is a whole thing called context (power imbalances, history, etc.) that can explain what you see as unequal outrage. These issues have been dissected to death here on metafilter in the past, I bet if you do a search you'll find some of the previous discussions.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:53 PM on April 10, 2007


What I find funny about the self-righteous anger is that people pretend they don't do the same thing. I've personally witnessed people get offended at IMUS, yet used the word "transsexual" as a slur against Ann Coulter and fat pig against Limbaugh and moron against Bush. One could point out that transgendered people, fat people, and morons are marginalized members of society but that would be too easy.

With a few exceptions, pretty much every epithet is the same.

MOTHERFUCKER? Did you just call me a motherfucker? What about the children of incest? Huh? Is it their fault they are products of incest? Huh?

BASTARD? What? Did you just call me a bastard? Do you have something against people conceived out of wedlock?

DICK? Are you anti-male? Anti-propagation? How does one choose to have a dick, outside of those who undergo an operation?

STUPID? Do you have something against people of lower IQs?

COCKSUCKER? Is that a slur against people who enjoy performing oral sex?

PRETENTIOUS? I'm pretentious? What do you have something against liberal arts majors?
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 3:04 PM on April 10, 2007


Other radio asses get fired right away when shit like this happens--even once.

The political ones get away with it over and over and over, and important people still appear on their shows over and over. It's disgusting.
posted by amberglow at 5:04 PM on April 10, 2007


The political ones get away with it over and over and over, and important people still appear on their shows over and over. It's disgusting.

Is it a bad thing that political celebs have more than than those that make piss/shit/fart jokes? It's odd that Imus was a Kerry supporter in 2004. It's got nuthin to do with politics, but it does have to with money. Let's not pretend that someone making $10.00 an hour gets the clout of someone worth 10 million a year.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 5:32 PM on April 10, 2007


Why Imus has to go --...Why cater to the most base elements of society while at the same time offering a program up as a platform for legitimate political discussion? ...
posted by amberglow at 5:39 PM on April 10, 2007


hy cater to the most base elements of society while at the same time offering a program up as a platform for legitimate political discussion?

What is the most base element of society? And what prevents the most base element from getting up and voting on election day?
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 5:41 PM on April 10, 2007


*adds "nappy headed hoes" to insult arsenal*

I saw this, and I thought: strange, now why would someone want to use that expression to insult Thierry Henry and his teammates?
posted by psmealey at 5:58 PM on April 10, 2007


Proctor & Gamble is now pulling all their daytime MSNBC ads because of this.

Imus is fired now.
posted by amberglow at 6:03 PM on April 10, 2007


... Proctor and Gamble confirms that it has pulled all ads from MSNBC daytime programming. A spokesperson said she's not sure how long that will last because the company wants to see how their consumers react to the situation. ...
posted by amberglow at 6:08 PM on April 10, 2007


... Proctor and Gamble confirms that it has pulled all ads.... A spokesperson said she's not sure how long that will last because the company wants to see how their consumers react to the situation. ...

Wow. How the mighty have fallen. When I was in B-school, P&G were pointed to as a model of vision. Now, they're a model of speculation and reaction?

/MBA nonsense.
posted by psmealey at 6:13 PM on April 10, 2007


It's not just blacks who don't like Imus--it's many desirable and growing target markets.
posted by amberglow at 6:38 PM on April 10, 2007


Wow. How the mighty have fallen. When I was in B-school, P&G were pointed to as a model of vision. Now, they're a model of speculation and reaction?

As I said in the other thread. Corporations fear the public more than government does, even in democracy. It is only when corporations are solidified by government (i.e. the defense industry) that it ignores the public.

P&G can do what they want. Expecting courage from a corporation is like expecting vociferous defenses of atheism from the Vatican.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 6:40 PM on April 10, 2007


*that they
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 6:44 PM on April 10, 2007


“hurtful, stereotyping comments are wrong no matter who says them.”

Yeah, actually Bill Cosby spoke on that subject a bit (people using disparaging language within their own community) and caught some flak over it. People seem to hade forgotten the sweater wearing jello pudding eating ‘Cos’ grew up with plenty of street cred.

I dunno. I think because this is so personal. I mean it’s one thing to say in general “them Polacks is stupid” or tell a Polish joke, it’s something else to single someone out - “You are a stupid Polack.” Lot more personal.


And yeah, overhyped. But y’know, people were paying attention to what’s-er-name the sexpot of the month chick (doesn’t really matter who I actually name does it?) while loads of far more importantthings went on (well, to me anyway).

“DICK? Are you anti-male? Anti-propagation? How does one choose to have a dick, outside of those who undergo an operation?”

I understand Sarah Silvermen refers to other women as ‘dickless’ which I think is brilliant.

Yeah, I don’t know that he deserves to be fired (and often enough deserves got nothing to do with it). But it’s always seemed to be a privilege - and I mean that in the strictest sense of private law - that some folks get to talk to a wider base and others don’t and it’s been sort of an end run around the constitutional right to free speech.
The founding fathers all pretty much had the same level of communicative power. Certainly some newspapers and communication organs were larger, but they weren’t orders of magnitude larger.
Here, yeah, corporate influence has to be questioned.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:03 PM on April 10, 2007


Yeah, I don’t know that he deserves to be fired (and often enough deserves got nothing to do with it). But it’s always seemed to be a privilege - and I mean that in the strictest sense of private law - that some folks get to talk to a wider base and others don’t and it’s been sort of an end run around the constitutional right to free speech.

Basic radio rules mean that they get fired when they do shit like this (unless they also host politicians and pundits every day, like Rush and Imus). Shock jocks, morning zoo people--they all get fired immediately at the first big offense. Imus is both shock jock and political talk radio, and is getting away with it for the hundredth time.
posted by amberglow at 8:05 AM on April 11, 2007


A catalog of the racist and sexist witticisms of Don Imus.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:18 AM on April 11, 2007


“Basic radio rules mean that they get fired when they do shit like this”

So Imus’ has been even more privileged. I have no idea why. Makes no sense to me.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:56 PM on April 11, 2007


So Imus’ has been even more privileged. I have no idea why. Makes no sense to me.

It's because of the daily stream of journalists, pundits, and politicians on his show--many of whom have been strongly defending him thru all this. It's sad. Once they see someone as part of their club, they're safe forever, no matter what.

General Motors Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp. suspended advertising on Don Imus's show, joining at least four other advertisers in protesting the radio host's racially charged comments.

The companies were the two largest advertisers on Imus's MSNBC simulcast, spending more than $1 million combined last year, according to New York-based researcher TNS Media Intelligence. ...

posted by amberglow at 2:50 PM on April 11, 2007


Even when Imus insults them like this: ...Imus referred to Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz as a “boner-nosed, beanie wearing Jew boy.” ... , they still defend him, unbelievably.

Kurtz: ...Journalists like me who have gone on Imus's show have done so because we enjoyed the opportunity to talk about politics and media without the stuffiness of so many other programs. ...

CNN is now saying MSNBC has finally cancelled Imus.
posted by amberglow at 3:34 PM on April 11, 2007


Kurtz from there: In my view, Imus is not a hater or a bigot.
posted by amberglow at 3:36 PM on April 11, 2007


here it is: MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show
posted by amberglow at 3:37 PM on April 11, 2007


Disc Jockey Fired For Having Callers Imitate Imus--A radio station fired its longtime morning DJ Wednesday after he encouraged listeners to repeat talk-show host Don Imus' racially charged comments in an on-air contest.

Gary Smith told WSBG-FM listeners to call and say "I'm a nappy-headed ho" for Tuesday's "Phrase that Pays" contest, said Rick Musselman, executive vice president of station owner Nassau Broadcasting Partners L.P. ...


This is how it usually works--they get fired immediately.
posted by amberglow at 4:10 PM on April 11, 2007


One extra irony: next week, CNN is changing anchors on its morning show (the unrelated O'Briens are being reassigned) because (according to some sources) Imus was gaining on them.
posted by wendell at 5:23 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


i had heard that too--CNN is pathetic (Soledad rocked)
posted by amberglow at 7:09 PM on April 11, 2007


Interesting that they're waiting until Monday.


XQUZYPHYR: If you're outraged at Imus' comments there's no need to attack the good things he did because there's nothing bad about those.

That's not to say that his charity hasn't faced considerable criticism before, though.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:58 AM on April 12, 2007


Apparently it's off tv as of today. I think the radio's going to dump him too, or he'll go to satellite on his own.
posted by amberglow at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2007


Buh-bye. CBS has just fired Imus.
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on April 12, 2007


“Once they see someone as part of their club, they're safe forever, no matter what.”

Bizarre.

Imus: “Smedleyman, and people like him, suck balls.”
Smed: “Yeah, that Imus he’s ok. He’s not stuffy.”
Imus: “Screw you people.”
Smed: “Thanks, Don.”

Frikkin weird.

I’d call him on it. Do the Biko thing. I mean - what’s the foundation of his criticism?
Of course, the boner nose/Jew boy thing I’d have to kick his ass over.
Which, really, is probably where a lot of people like this go wrong. I’m not advocating corporal punishment or anything, but as one’s values have to be subjected to reasonable confrontation so too one’s expression has to be subject.
And if your expression is unreasonable, it’s only to be expected you get an unreasonable response.
(As stated above, if I called someone’s mother names in front of their family, I should expect to take a beating - unreasonable perhaps, but realistic)

Imus - and apparently others like him - are completely divorced and insulated from reality or from dealing with the people they’re expounding on.

How the hell does someone live like that?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 PM on April 12, 2007


Of course, the boner nose/Jew boy thing I’d have to kick his ass over.

I know! wtf!?!

I'm so glad he's off the radio too now.

What i don't get is the total lack of ethics and integrity and balls of the media people and politicians who stood up for him even thru all this--it's pathetic.
posted by amberglow at 2:23 PM on April 12, 2007


He's not a demon, he's just a jackass. End of story.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:26 PM on April 12, 2007


(As stated above, if I called someone’s mother names in front of their family, I should expect to take a beating - unreasonable perhaps, but realistic)

This reminds of the comment about homosexuals kissing in public. Someone is offended, doesn't like it, and gets violent. It's violence at someone for expressing an opinion. Which means the person criticizing someone's political stances can take a beating the same way a person criticizing someone's mother can.

How did that little item go? "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. However, your words will hurt you."

What is important to remember is tyranny has to crush speech first. That crushes the individual. How is anyone supposed to know how you feel (subjective emotion) if you can't express an opinion. Free-thought only exists insofar as it can be voiced (I think...), otherwise it isn't free because it isn't known. And crushing free-speech by the market (firing, and free to hire) is different from assault/imprisonment due to speech. I fully understand why ultra-conservative Muslims may want to imprison, torture, and execute those that blaspheme the prophet. What they don't understand is not every one reveres their child-molesting, cowardly, son-of-a-whore prophet.

Insults are weak. I've wanted to attack people before, but never due to an insult. Some people just get on my damn nerves, but I suppose every human gets on at least one other human's nerves.

I wonder if the violence done after namecalling has something to do with low-self esteem*. I honestly can't see why anyone would care. Maybe if we lived in a world that wasn't filled with war, poverty, disease, rape, murder, child abuse, injustice, theft, and such, then it would understandable.

*This is not to say, for instance, that if someone is violating your personal space and you are simply defending yourself. But hunting down and beating a blogger because he insulted someone's slutty mother is ridiculous."

That being said. IMUS will probably be picked up by another station or Satellite radio. The market forces are at work.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:29 PM on April 12, 2007


It's most often found tho, that it's not that people being called names get violent, but that violence is the next step after calling someone a name. It's all on one side, even if we all personally might want to beat whoever insults us.

See all the gaybashing for the biggest example of this--people yell out insults first and then again while beating us.

Let him go to satellite--the public airwaves are not his playground, and we would never get away with what he did at our workplaces.
posted by amberglow at 2:43 PM on April 12, 2007


See all the gaybashing for the biggest example of this--people yell out insults first and then again while beating us.
"Anthony Hergesheimer, a 15-year-old openly gay student in Pueblo, Colorado, was pursued by a group of six fellow students in a car after leaving school last Thursday. His pursuers passed him four times on the street, taunting him with anti-gay slurs before one of them got out and threw an aerosol can at his head, fracturing his cheekbone and breaking his nose.

Said Hergesheimer: 'They said things to me like, 'You, fag, this and you, fag, that,' and then they walked off.'

The taunting had reportedly started earlier in the day when the group threw a wet tampon at Hergesheimer.

Heregesheimer's mother, Teresa Ornelas, said that her son had also received threatening emails. Said Ornelas: 'I'm very upset. Yeah, my son is gay. But that shouldn't matter. He should be proud of who he is.'"*

News video.
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on April 12, 2007


pastabagel: The net result is that there is an entire class of commentary and criticism you will never hear in American media even if it is justified. What do yopu think the result of that will be?

You wouldnt hear it anyway, I believe. The history of american censorship is one threatening to step in and watching industries scamble to self-censor thus fighting off the government censor. This has led to unaccountable groups self-censoring with some pretty mixed results. The comics code authority turned comics into mindless kids stories. The MPAA has a "catholic" view of censorship: violent ok, sex very very bad. Yet, over the years we still get decent TV, Film, and Comics. Its far from ideal, we really never get anything truly sexy or truly smart. Now look at media with money but with a smaller more mature audience, you have the unbelievable good stuff coming out of HBO or the muscial freedom of satellite.

The government on the other hand has only done wrong in regards to censorship. There are just too many cooks here with no eye toward profit or audience. Look at the current FCC. Who the hell knows what they will decide. Howard Stern has to flee to private satellite.

Now the corporate system is going to sacrifice a media goat for the screeching mob. That's part of the system. The screaming mob has a direct financial relationship with the broadcaster and the risk-adverse advertisers are sitting in the middle of it. Once they pulled, Imus was fired.

Toss in some office politics too, but from what I can tell, self-censoring is the superior system. The money relationship between the two parties has a real positive effect. The media publishers must remain racy to give people what they want, but cant cross that line. In government you have iowa farmers who have won elections and think all moral issues can be solved by the reading of one archaic holy book. Id rather see the market tell me what I cant see than the damn GOP.

The government isnt giving anymore more freedom here. They have just outsourced their censoring to a better organization. Its not perfect, but at the end of the day I've got some neat stuff on the tivo that would be there with the Libermans and Clintons of the world were calling the shots on a censor board.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:34 PM on April 12, 2007


Andrew Sullivan writes:

I wish I'd taped the phone conversation I had today with the editor of the Sunday Times in London when I had to explain exactly what "nappy-headed hos" were. He had images of garden tools crowned with diapers.
posted by donpedro at 5:10 PM on April 12, 2007


“It's violence at someone for expressing an opinion.”

I disagree. Insult is not opinion. I don’t think you’re honestly championing my right to call someone a whore. Indeed, libel is not protected speech.
The two methods of communication aren’t even in the same ball park. Expressing love for another human is nowhere near the equivalent of insulting them.
Two gay men kiss in front of me I could not care less. Two gay men tell me men are better in bed than women, or a man makes a better wife than a woman, I disagree, but that’s their opinion. Two gay men call my wife a whore, they will be visiting the infirmary.
That’s not advocacy of violence in the suppression of speech, that’s a recognition of a realistic response.

Within that sphere one can argue that homosexuals kissing is incitive and there is a response that can be expected from certain quarters. While I agree with the latter as a matter of realistic expectations, that doesn’t mean I champion the former.
Their kissing is not a personal assault by word or gesture on me. Someone tries to forcibly kiss me, that would be. Low self-esteem, whatever - has little to do with the legal recognition of the reality.

“But hunting down and beating a blogger because he insulted someone's slutty mother is ridiculous”

Unquestionably. The legal point is the immediacy. I don’t know of anyone that would defend such a thing as hunting someone down far after the fact as reasonable. Get in someone’s face about it, different story.
But even on metafilter there would be recognition of personal incitement. Someone could well be banned for such a thing.
I myself would not complain or advocate that, but I recognize the reality of it.
Same thing here.


“And crushing free-speech by the market (firing, and free to hire) is different from assault/imprisonment due to speech.”

Well, no one guarantees you a soap box. And I’ll be happy to play the worlds smallest violin for all the multi-millionares who loses their job because people don’t like it when he personally attacks them based on misrepresenting their ethnic characteristics and by analogy their behavior. Boo fucking hoo.

“Maybe if we lived in a world that wasn't filled with war, poverty, disease, rape, murder, child abuse, injustice, theft, and such, then it would understandable.”

Or maybe you don’t see the self-reciprocating link between the environment created by hateful and misleading speech and hateful violent acts.

Man #1: “Hey, your sister is a nigger whore.”
Man #2: “What! How dare you...!”
Man #1: “Wait, whoa, there’s poverty, disease, rape and murder in the world.”
Man #2: “Oh, yeah, I hadn’t though of that. Sorry.”
Man #1: “Well, just watch it next time, Sambo.”

My contention is, that points both ways. Kinda like tracer bullets.
On the one hand Imus is fostering an environment that leads to certain beliefs and those beliefs can lead to certain ultimately violent actions. Hell, look at lynching. The myth was black men had to be hanged in order to keep them from raping white women.
On the other hand - it’s also personal.
That violence is disassociated with Imus directly is as facile an excuse as printing the name and address of someone you don’t like on the web and saying the guy deserves “something.”
That Pontus Pilate schtick doesn’t work.

The personal and direct nature of it, means it’s not an opinion, it’s an insult.
But recognition of the potential of violence is not an advocation of it. A rattlesnake rattles because it doesn’t want to have to bite you. Similarly, I know my limits. I have very often walked away from fights. I’ve been struck and I’ve let it go (not while working), so I’m not out looking for trouble. The fact is, there are things people can say to incite them to violence.
Your argument seeks to infer that because violence is not a valid form of redress of grievence, it must eternally be off the table and not recognized as even a potential.

But y’know, Thomas Jefferson advocated bloody revolution as a remedy to grievences...must’ve had low self esteem issues.

And indeed, there are groups of anti-gay bashing homosexuals in Wrigleyville and Lakeview (colloquially) Boys’ Town in Chicago who aren’t very shy at all about using the threat of violence to repel anti-gay slurs and such.
Does someone who shouts “You filthy faggots!” at a group of heavily-muscled gay men with ‘Pink Pistol’ patches on their leather vests*, strictly speaking, deserve a beating?
No.
But he’d be stupid not to see one coming.

*note, there are gay vigilantes and some gay MC’s in Chicago (also a rugby team) but do not confuse the old school gang “Gaylords” with any of them.

Now why would they do that, do you think?
At some level, while the words themselves aren’t harmful, the drumbeat reiteration of them leads to prejudices and preconceptions and easy excuses for violence.
Which is what I think you’re arguing against in that sense. And I agree there are, and should not be easy excuses for violence.
My position on this reflect that. The difference between us is I recognize the roots in Imus’ statements which lead to the flowering of violence.
That one takes a more circuitous route to get there doesn’t mean it’s more justifiable, merely that it’s less direct and visible.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:11 PM on April 12, 2007


This whole thing happened because some people would rather listen to the fiddle than look at the flames.
posted by Cyrano at 6:06 PM on April 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


15 million a year revenue for CBS? A few more people than Imus are going to lose... can I even think that way?
posted by buzzman at 7:27 PM on April 12, 2007


... The Imus story reflects something else. It shows elite journalists becoming part of a club they shouldn’t join, sharing the values of those they are supposed to cover. It’s a stuffy club composed generally of middle-aged or older white men who, while differing on partisan politics, share a comfortable don’t-rock-the-boat view of the world. In this club, Imus is the loudmouth in the locker room with a gutter style the more refined members probably envy. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:22 AM on April 13, 2007


"'Imus’ show is how normal people talk.’ -- National Review’s John Derbyshire reprints an email which he describes as the 'wisest thing I’ve heard yet on the Imus scandal': 'Imus is an institution. Imus’ show is how normal people talk. … Imus being fired feels like a part of America has died and we’re moving closer to the modern day sanitized England.'"
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on April 13, 2007


“Imus’ show is how normal people talk”

Wow, yeah man, is that horseshit. I’m pretty normal. And I cuss all the hell damn time around my friends. Can’t remember any talk like this. Oh, wait...I have black friends. I guess they’re not normal.
As far as I know, you can’t say “fuck” on the radio. I’d rather hear that than this. And the difference between appropriating black slang for fun and insult (even inadvertently) is that the other party is in on it.
Far as I know Imus wasn’t in with those female ball players.

I grew up in a fairly white neighborhood. Folks concerned with their property values and all. My dad’s partner (another contractor) was a black guy and he would invite him over to the house and they’d have a few beers and if a house was up for sale they’d stand outside in front of it, talk about buying it. And it was damned funny watching the neighbors nervously peek through their windows. That’s consensually having fun with a black person on a social issue level. Calling his wife a ‘ho’ wouldn’t be.

Additionally, who the hell would want to listen to ‘normal’ people talking? That’s like basing a play on a guy buying gas at a gas station.

Writer: “But then he puts the nozzle in the tank!”
Producer: “Uh, yeah, I don’t know.”
Writer: “And he pays with cash! Two tens, a five and three ones! Because THAT’s real life! That’s how it’s done in the real world!”
Producer: “It really doesn’t sound that exciting though.”
Writer: “Ah! But then he uses -- THE TOILET! Just like a real guy!”
Producer: “And how long does that go on?”
Writer: “17 minutes! He reads the paper while he’s in there. Sports section.”
Producer: “And we just watch all that?”
Writer: “Yes, because that’s real life. That’s normal people doing normal things! In the second act he falls asleep in front of the television for 2 hours.”

I gotta say, I’m pretty tired of the pseudo populist bullshit. It’s like a politician taking off his suit jacket, slinging it over his shoulder and rolling up his sleeves to show he’s a “regular guy.” Maybe he spits. Says “Shit.” Uh huh. Nice limo Senator. I don’t buy it.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:40 AM on April 13, 2007


Imus being fired feels like a part of America has died and we’re moving closer to the modern day sanitized England.

Ok, there it is. That's the dumbest thing I have read all week. I can turn off my computer now.
posted by psmealey at 11:43 AM on April 13, 2007


"normal people"= disgruntled white christian men who are unhappy they can't freely be their racist, homophobic, sexist, and bigoted selves publicly anymore. Poor babies.
posted by amberglow at 4:49 PM on April 13, 2007


If somebody would have punched Imus in the face five years ago he wouldn't be an asshole so off-handedly.

The threshold should be high. Your skin MUST be thick. BUT. There are some indignities NOBODY should have suffer.

But the judicious use of reasonable force is undervalued and has been foolishly stigmatized by our society. This is how you weed the assholes out.

My rule? After the offender crosses the threshold with deliberate cruel provocations he gets three strikes. One should say "Aw you don't mean that" nice as pie. you should give a person the means to apologize or stop. Three times.

After that, if the environment allows and without further warning, one should employ a prudent use of physical violence. Unless the offender is so much smaller. Then just spit in his face and laugh and wait and see what they do.

And if your way bigger? Hmmm. Are there witnesses?
posted by tkchrist at 8:04 PM on April 13, 2007


Harvey Fierstein-- NYT oped: Our Prejudices, Ourselves--...Our nation, historically bursting with generosity toward strangers, remains remarkably unkind toward its own. Just under our gleaming patina of inclusiveness, we harbor corroding guts. America, I tell you that it doesn’t matter how many times you brush your teeth. If your insides are rotting your breath will stink. So, how do you people choose which hate to embrace, which to forgive with a wink and a week in rehab, and which to protest? Where’s my copy of that rule book?
...

posted by amberglow at 2:21 PM on April 14, 2007


great and true thing from Mannion: Fat Albert, Edith Ann, Maude Fricket, Geraldine, and Imus
posted by amberglow at 3:01 PM on April 14, 2007


Plaigiarist and 10th-rate Matthews clone Mike Barnicle is going to replace him i hear. (Matthews himself is 1-9)
posted by amberglow at 3:25 PM on April 14, 2007


NY Times Op-Ed: 'Why the Imus-Coulter Disparity'?
posted by ericb at 8:18 AM on April 15, 2007


If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:58 AM on April 15, 2007


Gwen Ifill on MTP today was excellent and called out Russert and Brooks--...She then turned Russert and Brooks, frequest guests on Imus’s show. “Tim, we didn’t hear from you. David, we didn’t hear from you.”

Ifill added, “A lot of people did know and a lot of people were listening and they just decided it was okay. They decided this culture of meanness was fine — until they got caught. My concern about Mr. Imus and a lot of people and a lot of the debate in this society is not that people are sorry that they say these things, they are sorry that someone catches them.” ...

posted by amberglow at 9:42 AM on April 15, 2007


Singorile: Why They Went on the Show
posted by amberglow at 10:04 AM on April 15, 2007


"normal people"= disgruntled white christian men

Don Imus is Christian?

Mr. Fiersteins article continues:

"The real point is that you cannot harbor malice toward others and then cry foul when someone displays intolerance against you. Prejudice tolerated is intolerance encouraged. Rise up in righteousness when you witness the words and deeds of hate, but only if you are willing to rise up against them all, including your own."

He seems to be advocating an absolute rather than a relative viewpoint. If something is wrong, it's wrong, no matter who does it. If calling women whores for fun and profit is ok for rap artists it should be for talk show hosts too. Or not for either.
posted by scheptech at 7:25 PM on April 15, 2007


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