Monday, April 09, 2007

Reverend Al Does Not Take Kindly To Your Statements, Mr. Imus.

You may remember the nice little comments Don Imus made last week about the Rutgers women's hoops team, calling them "nappy-headed hos."

Well, neither Al Sharpton nor Jesse Jackson are having it with his lame apology -- they still want him fired, and rightfully so -- Imus is making the pilgrimage to Sharpton's radio show this morning, but that isn't going to help matters either.

"Somewhere we must draw the line in what is tolerable in mainstream media," Sharpton said Sunday. "We cannot keep going through offending us and then apologizing and then acting like it never happened. Somewhere we've got to stop this."

WFAN won't fire him -- his ratings are probably too good to do so. MSNBC may drop its simulcast; it's not like that many people are up to watch that early. At the very least, he ought to be suspended by WFAN, and MSNBC should cut the ties, obviously, because Imus' apology doesn't mean jack; if he really felt that bad about the remark, he wouldn't have said it in the first place. The problem is that he got caught and called on it, and is now backpedaling as fast as humanly possible.

Even if Imus is fired, it won't necessarily solve the bigger problem -- there are plenty of voices on talk radio, in sports and outside of it, who might consider expressing similar sentiments because their regular audience isn't part of the group that is the target of the joke. It's the frat-boy aesthetic extended into perpetual adolescence, and for some reason Imus is obviously out of touch enough to run through a slang dictionary and spout this stuff without even considering the meaning, despite being old enough to remember black people fighting for their rights.

Shock jocks have their jobs because the possibility of offense brings in the ratings (i.e., the "What outrageous crap will he say next?" factor), and it drives political talk radio as well. The new reality means those remarks that would have gone unnoticed in prior eras will be found and reproduced on the Internet, where non-listeners can hear the offenses. Eventually, stations will have to realize that in that new environment where the public record is kept online, hosts like Imus will become a liability down the road. That time isn't here quite yet. But it will come. Political pundits and sports columnists are already called to task for this sort of thing, because archives last forever.


rstiles said...

Don Imus is a douche bag...and Al Sharpton is a bloody tampon

Marco said...

Bigger turd.....Schrutebag or Imus?

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

a good question posed by marco. and neither even got in much trouble. don't think cowherd even got a slap on the wrist, and imus is getting a two-week suspension. bullshit.