I'm surprised at how little chatter there has been on the Iconoclast about Don Imus's professional suicide. NBC announced late yesterday afternoon that MSNBC will no longer simulcast his radio program — obviously, the Racial Grievance Industry was not pacified by the previously announced two-week suspension. Now all that remains is for the other shoe to drop: i.e., for CBS to determine that the radio show will itself will be cancelled. Evidently, CBS execs will be meeting today with Al Sharpton — a recidivist race-baiter who has destroyed lives yet has somehow become the arbiter of sensitivity and racial fitness on the airwaves. Sharpton, a "Reverend" who apparently thinks redemption goes no further than the end of his nose, is demanding that Imus be fired ... and he'll probably get his way.
I grew up listening to Imus but I stopped over the last few years. I didn't think he was funny anymore. I guess his declining ratings indicate that I'm not alone. But the "nappy-headed ho's" remark was not at all unusual. It was the typical banter—the sort of locker-room stuff that, though idiotic to say, was more a commentary on the bile found on any given hip-hop "song" than on the Rutgers women hoopsters. The Racial Grievance Industry, of course, is silent on hip-hop—to say nothing of what you'll hear on any Chris Rock HBO special or the rest of what today passes for stand-up comedy on cable TV.
And isn't all the shrieking about this just a bit much? I mean, acting as if this moronic joke in any way diminished the accomplishment of the Rutgers women? Does anyone really believe they think they are "nappy headed ho's"—or that any normal person thinks so—just because some jerk doing a radio comedy show says so? Please. I think we used to be less brittle than that.
This is a soapbox opportunity for people who live for the soapbox. I went to a racially and ethnically mixed high school in the Bronx, and the joking insults from all quarters were relentless. Nobody was paralyzed because of them. In fact, I think it was far better than it is now. You laughed it off, or you rolled your eyes, and you moved on. If anything, it served to break down the tribal mentality so dominant today that it's hard to think of a school or a similar institution as anything but a series of ethnic enclaves. Years later, when I occasionally see guys I went to high school with, I don't see black guys, white guys, Puerto Rican guys, etc.— I see the guys I went to high school with.
The lamest part of this controversy, though, had to be watching Imus faves David Gregory and Craig Crawford on MSNBC's "Hardball" last night, explaining how Imus is "schizophrenic." They and all their NBC pals would regularly appear on the program, but they only spoke to the Dr. Jekyll Imus; Mr. Hyde only came out once they were off the air—and while they kinda, sorta knew there was this low-brow schtick going on, they were removed from it and, gee, didn't realize how offensive it must have been to some people.
Sure. If that's how they choose to remember it, fine. But I don't imagine the tapes will lie.