Imus episode shows black isn’t white
I can identify to a certain extent with radio crock jock Don Imus, in that during the course of writing a few thousand humor columns, people have demanded at various times that I be fired or forced to leave the island -- and that's only within my own household.
The Imus case proves that if you publicly spew forth verbiage daily on an industrial-strength level, eventually you are going to say (or write) something really, really stupid. Been there, punned that.
The stupidest, most embarrassing thing I ever wrote happened ... hey, well enough about me! Not only do I admire the fact the public has a short memory, I depend on it.
In case you've been living under a bridge (and I have the utmost respect for people who live under bridges), Imus' toast fell butter-side down when he referred to members of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." This was wrong on many levels, not the least of which is that, considering the mess of limp spaghetti that Don Imus sports on the top of his noggin, he's the last person who should be making fun of other people's hair.
Imus is the latest famous white guy to learn that while black urban rap lingo might have become a big part of the pop culture landscape, certain references are off limits for the light of skin. MTV should run "Don't Say This at Home!" warnings on some music videos. "Seinfeld's" Michael Richards also impaled himself on one of these cultural stakes when he employed the "N" word in response to heckling.
Ironically -- and there's a truckload of irony in the Imus saga -- famous politicians, news anchors and actors used to flock to the Imus radio show with hopes that some of his irreverent, iconoclastic coolness would rub off on them. The irony is that Imus only used the offensive racial/coiffure/job description comment with hopes that some urban rap coolness would rub off on him. Whoops! Now that he's radioactive (or radio-inactive, as the case may be), his famous friends, not to mention his advertisers, are staying away from him in droves.
You knew that the usual suspects -- the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, self-appointed arbiters of moral outrage when race is in any way an element of a national controversy -- would demand Imus' spaghetti head on a platter.
These kinds of media tempests in a TV cup become hypocrisy litmus tests. That these two beacons of bad behavior -- Sharpton (who rose to national fame supporting a black woman he knew lied about being raped by white policemen) and Jackson (who, when not lecturing President Clinton and the country on correct moral conduct, was fathering a baby with a woman who was not his wife and referring to New York as "Hymietown") -- become the point guards for virtue and righteousness is laughable.
Surely, black America has a deeper moral bench than these guys. My vote, and as a white guy I know I don't really have one, would go to rapper Snoop Dog. He might be an admitted pimp who uses the "N" word and calls people "hos," but at least he's not a hypocrite.
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