Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Why Don Imus? Well, why the hell not?

I was listening to Randi Rhodes yesterday, talking about Don Imus's racist gaffe. She was taking a contrarian position - why him, instead of, say, Rush, who is just as offensive without being funny, or Mike Savage who's plainly talking to fellow bigots, or Hannedy, who's plainly talking to fellow stupid bigots. Why pick on the guy who's trying to be funny?

The wit and wisdom of Don Imus. - By Timothy Noah - Slate Magazine

On blacks:

"William Cohen, the Mandingo deal." (Former Defense Secretary Cohen's wife is African-American.)

"Wasn't in a woodpile, was he?" (Responding to news that former black militant H. Rap Brown, subsequently known as Abdullah Al-Amin, was found hiding in a shed in Alabama after exchanging gunfire with police. Imus is here alluding to the expression "nigger in the woodpile.")

"Knuckle-dragging moron." (Description of basketball player Patrick Ewing.)

"We all have 12-inch penises." (After being asked what he has in common with Nat Turner, Malcolm X, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Latrell Sprewell from the New York Knicks, and Al Sharpton.)

"Chest-thumping pimps." (Description of the New York Knicks.)

"A cleaning lady." (Reference to journalist Gwen Ifill, possibly out of pique that she wouldn't appear on his show. "I certainly don't know any black journalists who will," she wrote in the April 10 New York Times. The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page used to appear, but after he made Imus pledge not to make offensive comments in the future, he was never asked back.)

On Jews:

"I remember when I first had [the Blind Boys of Alabama] on a few years ago, how the Jewish management at whatever, whoever we work for, CBS, or whatever it is, were bitching at me about it. […] I tried to put it in terms that these money-grubbing bastards could understand."

"Boner-nosed … beanie-wearing Jewboy." (Description of Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, a frequent guest.)

On women:

"That buck-tooth witch Satan, Hillary Clinton." […] "I never admitted it when I went down there and got in all that big jam, insulting Bill Clinton and his fat ugly wife, Satan. Did I? Did I ever say I was sorry for that?"

On Native Americans:

"The guy from F-Troop, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell." (This is a reference to the zany Indian characters on the 1960s TV sitcom F-Troop. They had names like "Roaring Chicken," "Crazy Cat," and "Chief Wild Eagle.")

On Japanese:

"Old Kabuki's in a coma and the market's going up. […] How old is the boy? The battery's running down on that boy." (Reference to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who died the following week.)

On gays:

"I didn't know that Allan Bloom was coming in from the back end." (The homosexuality of the author of The Closing of the American Mind became widely known when Saul Bellow published Ravelstein, a novel whose protagonist was based on Bloom, who by then was deceased.)

"The enormously attractive [NBC political correspondent] Chip Reid, I can say without being accused of being some limp-wristed 'mo."

On the handicapped:

"Janet Reno's having a press conference. Ms. Reno, of course, has Parkinson's disease, has a noticeable tremor. […] I don't know how she gets that lipstick on (laughter) looking like a rodeo clown."

I fail to see the funny here. I don't listen to Imus, for the same reason I don't listen to Stern; I don't like feeling as if I need to floss my brain. And I consider this sort of mean-spirited "humor" to be inherently toxic, whatever the perspective, regardless of what "cause" is "served."

So, why Imus? Well, because the Rutger's Girls stepped in his form of "humor" and took it upon themselves to carve new shoes out of his reluctant hide.

I find that image funny.

Oh, and Randi, he's not the first. Spocko was the first (THIS year) to ram recordings of racist and hate-speech sideways up the noses of wingnut talk-jocks - and more importantly, their sponsors.

Don Imus, Randi Rhodes,

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