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Imus Must Go! And So Must You! And You. . . And Me

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We all know by now Don Imus made an unfortunate comment the other morning on his radio program. It's been oft repeated, so if you don't know what he said by now, you obviously don't have CNN, MSNBC, FOX or even a working television. It was one of those dumb-ass remarks, the sort of which shock jocks say every morning. But somebody just happened to be listening at the right time, and a media firestorm erupted.

Yeah, Imus shot off his mouth once too often at the wrong time, and for that, he should be banished to some broadcasting netherworld. The Reverend Al Sharpton has said as much, adding that forgiveness does not absolve a perpetrator from penalty. Jesse Jackson has echoed this, although I'm still not sure how NYC is "Hymietown," or what penance should be paid for referring to the Big Apple as such. Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z, who have used the exact same words Imus used, have thus far had no comment on the remark.

Look. Imus shouldn't have said what he said over the airwaves. He's admitted that. You just can't use barroom language on the radio. What you can do on the radio, however, is promote gun violence, advocate death for outspoken foes of Bush ala Dixie Chicks, hustle yo' hos and discuss questionable ways of scoring big, so long as you put it to a bitchin' dance beat.

I'm not defending Imus. I'm also not jumping on his execution cart. There are larger issues at play here. The American culture has become dysfunctional–rehab has become the new magic pill for everything from depression to homophobia, and it's a cure-all that's becoming more than a little frightening. It more than homogenizes us–it somnabolizes us. When we strive to make everything politically correct, we render independent thought impotent.

Alas, we're approaching that point, if we haven't already crossed it. By all means, fire Imus. We can't have those kinds of ill-chosen words polluting our collective mind. But let's don't stop there–let's fire all the shock jocks and political commentators, be they from the left or right, from Tim O'Reilly to Jon Stewart. And while we're at it, let's pull The Jeffersons and All In the Family–who ever knew people like that? I'm feeling better already, aren't you? Rap has to go, of course, what all that street jive, and country, to, with all those songs promoting cheatin' and drinkin'. Oh hell, let's just burn it all.

It will be a perfect world. Everyone will live in perfect harmony, and nobody will offend anybody else. Until one early morning, somebody just has to shoot off his mouth.

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About Ray Ellis

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Ray Ellis writes: “Imus shouldn’t have said what he said over the airwaves.”

    Exactly. The issue isn’t free speech. Imus can go to the saloon near his New Mexico ranch and say those words 10 times over at the top of his lungs.

    Imus makes more in a year than most people will see in two lifetimes. He could put out CD’s that say things 20 times worse than what he said.

    The issue is what reprecussions he should face for saying these things on corporate sponsored public airwaves, and those corporate sponsors that help pay Imus’ massive salary have judgements, opinions and reputations that will carry far more sway here than Al Sharpton’s, Jesse Jackson’s, or the 10 Rutgers Women’s Basketball players who are blameless in this affair.

    –Cobra

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “We all know by now Don Imus made an unfortunate comment the other morning on his radio program.”

    He DID?!?

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Imus isn’t nearly as visible as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. And I fail to see your implied inference that it’s okay to say that on a rap record, but not over MSNBC.
    Hewlett-Packard is using Jay-Z as a spokesman–he’s being touted as “the CEO of Rap”–and I have no problem with that.
    The real issue here is this–is freedom of speech applicable only when we agree with it? If that’s the case, then we’ve thrown out the entire concept in the name of political correctness.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Let get me this straight, Cobra. We can say whatever we want, in any medium, so long as we don’t ruffle the feathers of “corporate sponsors”?

    We’ve really greased the s;idetrough to oblivion.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    MSNBC just fired Imus. I trust the devotees of political correctness are sated. . . for now.

    On a related note, I won’t be supporting GM (and I was really looking forward to the Volt) or Bigelow Tea (Arizona tea for me) or Staples (not difficult, considering how puerile the “easy button” commercial is.)

  • Michael

    OK so let me get this straight, its wrong for Imus to make a comment that insults the hair and chastity of some basketball players, but its ok for Al Sharpton to make anti semetic comments and lead thousands to march against Jewish communities? People DIED because of Sharptons action in NY, and hes a bigger bigot than ten Imus’s!!! Its time for corporate sponsors to stop lining his pockets and take away his podium, its a disgrace.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    It’s gone beyond that argument, Michael. What’s really at stake here is whether we’ve become politically correct that we’re willing to dictate freedom of speech according to the whims of corporate America.

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