Monday, April 09, 2007
Imus in Mourning. Don Imus, barely reformed "shock jock" (a radio disc jockey who intersperses musical selections with outrageous comments designed to shock the mild and delite the coarse), got himself into a whole lotta trouble April 4th in comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, which came in second in the NCAA tournament.
Imus explained away his statements by saying he was only "trying to be funny" last Wednesday during a conversation with producer Bernard McGuirk about the women's college basketball finals, which Rutgers lost to the University of Tennessee the day before.Rutgers is the State University of New Jersey, my state, and we were very pleased to see 'our girls' go so far in the national tournament. But we must remember our national character and rally to our historic devotion to freedom of speech. Let's not go crazy about a silly, careless, and ultimately meaningless remark.
"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," Imus quipped to McGuirk. "Man, they got tattoos."
To which the producer added, "Some hard-core hos."
"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus replied.
Imus's repetitive apologies are irritating and unnecessary. And frankly, a lot of white people in this country are getting very tired of being told by blacks that blacks have an absolute veto over everything we do or say.
Imus has apologized for his remarks. Maybe he would have done better to brazen it out and tell his critics:
"Get a life. Tall, tuf, tattooed female athletes cannot be expected to be seen as genteel little ladies. I'm sure these 'girls' have heard a lot worse, to their face, from their 'friends' and opponents. Who the hell cares? They're just words. Grow the f*k up!"In case you don't know, "ho" is a very commonly uttered word among black Americans, and has various unflattering meanings. Narrowly, it means "whore", of which it is an ebonic variation: a prostitute. But it is a term of general disparagement, often playful, and has many ostensible meanings, including this one that I found in the Urban Dictionary online:
(noun): Anyone who dehumanizes themselves by selling their soul to others. The term can be applied to either a man or a woman or--as in the case of Ann[ ] Coulter--both.And even this more general meaning, from the same source:
Ann[ ] Coulter: You two ladies look awfully interesting. Are you Indians?
Woman #1: Yes, I'm a Navajo.
Woman #2: I'm an Arapahoe.
Ann[ ] Coulter: What a coincidence! I'm a right-wing ho!
WomanShock jocks have nothing on the ghetto when it comes to vicious disparagement and carelessly dropped slanders. There is even an 'entertainment' on black television in which teams compete in insulting each other for no other reason than to insult, and the language can be very coarse indeed. I suspect I've heard more than a few "hos" on BET's Comic View. Indeed, I had to stop watching that show because it is too 'dirty' for my delicate white ears.
Being a woman is the sole requisite for being a "ho".
She's a ho.
I dated that fat ho.
You's a ho.
Given the reality of the casual, gross disrespect prevalent in so much of black popular culture in the United States today, it is preposterous that Don Imus should be victimized for joining in. He is paid to say provocative things as entertainment, as are the odious Howard Stern and those performers in team insult matches. Last September, Stern held a promotion using the term "ho":
HotMovies.com [a porn site] is kicking off a multi-week promotional campaign with Sirius Satellite Radio and The Howard Stern Show, called the "Ho-Deo" starting on September 5th. The promotion asks listeners to ride the Sybian - a lovely machine that has been host to several of Howard Stern's female guests, including Jenna Jameson, Carmen Elektra, and Jenny McCarthy.What is the big deal about "ho"?
The Rutgers female Scarlet Knights are big girls. Very big girls. They don't need Al Sharpton to come to their defense. They can take care of themselves.
The idea that Al Sharpton, that two-bit nothin', should demand someone be fired for something he said is outrageous. This is the same Al Sharpton whose rise to fame was fueled in part by his championing the infamous Tawana Brawley fraud almost 20 years ago. I knew the instant I heard the first news report of that supposed 'attack' that it was all bullsh*t, but "Rev." Al believed every preposterous word and even issued intemperate and unsubstantiable accusations against various police officers and the prosecutor in that case. He was sued, found liable, and compelled to pay damages to the prosecutor for those outrageous statements. Now he is posing as a champion of temperate and respectful language, not to say Truth, Justice, and The American Way? I don't think so.
That Al Sharpton should have a radio show is bad enuf. That he should demand that Don Imus be taken off the air is far worse. I don't care for Imus's entire genre of radio, so don't listen. He is reputedly antigay, so I wouldn't listen to him in particular. But he is entitled to say anything he likes, even about my own group, gay men. People who don't want to hear it have a very simple choice. Every radio has a dial. Every radio has an Off button.
Imus has done a lot of good with charities and pushing for better treatment of veterans. It seems extremely unlikely that he will be fired, even tho he has been given a two-week suspension from his show as punishment for trivia. What a gutless bunch of losers today's media executives are.
'Reverend' Al should face being forced off the air himself and see how he likes it. Maybe then he'll come to appreciate our traditional stance that the true heirs to Western civilization may disagree with each other but will defend the right of everyone to say whatever they damned well please, in any forum, on any topic, at any time, and not be punished for it. It's called "Freedom of Speech", Mr. Sharpton, and is one of the fundamental principles of our culture that empowers us to deal with serious issues and grow. Political correctness, by contrast, drives resentments underground and makes people feel oppressed for being censored and punished for 'thinking bad thoughts'. I would much rather we have open, even acrimonious discussions in the morning than lynchings at nite, wouldn't you, Mr. Sharpton?
Freedom of speech is an indispensable part of The American Way, and our ability to cope with harsh disagreements and intergroup hostilities by getting everything out in the open is an important part of the greatness of American civilization. If Mr. Sharpton doesn't like our civilization, I suggest he look around for some country he'd like better — and that would be willing to take him in. He might find few takers.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 3,287 — for Israel.)
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