On Imus – Last thoughts from a long-time listener
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I have listened to Don Imus for what seems like most of my adult life. I never
saw the MSNBC simulcast, since I never did understand why a radio program needed
to be televised. Like others, from time to time, I would make the mistake of endowing
the program with a character that it was never meant to have. Especially in recent
years, since Washington’s invasion of Iraq, and as my politics have drifted away
from support of Republicans, I wanted Imus to be a voice that is seldom heard
on the airwaves. Since there are so few voices on radio that do not engage in
worshipful awe of the neocon theocrats who rule DC (what with "conservative"
talkers out-ranking any other kind by 10 to 1), dissent from any quarter was welcomed.
Whenever I thought about Imus’s program, the scatological shenanigans were
not what came to mind. What I remembered would be the day’s politics, and the
discussions with his guests, who might have roused my ire or found me in agreement.
I was certainly well aware of the rough male humor on the show, which I viewed
as one of the many futile behaviors that some men try to adopt, in reaction
to the feminization of just about everything in this society. To me, the show
was a sort of old-fashioned men’s smoking car, where boorish males, out of the
hearing of scolding women, could flex some rarely exercised troglodyte muscles.
Civil rights attorney Constance Rice, who was also a listener, in the Los Angeles
Times described the show as "a seventh grade white boys’ locker room."
Well, I’d put them a little higher than the seventh grade. After all was rudely
said and done, you knew that at some time in the course of the day, each of
these men probably got his ears boxed by some woman, but for these few morning
hours, the boys behaving badly could play at being liberated from the skirt
As a long-time listener, my greatest surprise came with Imus’s decision (or
was it his advisers or his wife’s) to prostrate himself before Al Sharpton —
a man whom Imus had insightfully parodied over the years. No one did better
takes on Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as transparent opportunists. Yet, it seems
that all knowledge of what Sharpton is about, and has always been about, fell
from the head of Imus, as he behaved like a clueless bumpkin. No one knew Sharpton’s
history better than Imus, so it is incomprehensible that he would offer himself
up to the quintessential charlatan as a gift on a silver platter. When he panicked,
did he lose his mind?
Did that weekend, in which he was deluged with telephone calls, terrify Imus
into trying to rescue not only his show’s corporate sponsors, but his wife’s
business interests, and the loss of the thousands of funders of the children’s
ranch? Was he so panicked that he thought he could be a match for the country’s
ultimate shakedown artist? What in the world was he thinking?
Or was he just engaging in what is described as the Trent Lott Crawl, which
is coming to be known as the White Man’s Crawl? If you thought that Senator
Trent Lott’s fawning before multiple black luminaries epitomized a man’s loss
of dignity and pride, Imus has gone and topped that performance. He even topped
Doug Tracht, the radio jock otherwise known as The Greaseman, who, back in 1999,
after some intemperate remarks on the radio, dragged himself around to various
self-appointed black leaders in the Washington-Baltimore area to do public penance.
[See my article on this episode here.]
Although other whites had disgraced themselves in their various apology stances,
Lott set a precedent for white cringing and submission over the race issue.
In addition, he sent strong messages, not only to white children, who learned
how best to behave when confronted by howling blacks and their confederates,
but also to black children, who learned what simple steps are required to bring
about the subjection of The Man.
The day that CBS canceled Imus’s show on WFAN, Mike and the Mad Dog, the afternoon
sports entertainers on the station (now subbing in the morning), expressed their
shock that so many "friends" had deserted Imus. Don’t they know that
the one thing you can count on white men to do is abandon other white men? Where
have they been? The idea of loyalty among whites is a notion that abides only
in misguided brains. Blacks often mistake class solidarity among particular
circles of whites for a race bond. Do you think the tightly knit Bush social-financial
circle of relatives and friends is focused around skin color?
There are thousands of Mike Nifongs out there, in one capacity or another,
waiting to pounce upon what they consider the vulnerable, and supposedly hated,
white male. Just as blacks, like Sharpton, use members of their race to enhance
their profiles and careers, so do whites, especially when it offers a chance
to show the world just how "anti-racist" they are, how good and moral.
Those Duke University students were viewed by prosecutor Nifong as dispensable
fodder, who can afford to take a hit or two, and even go down a time or two.
After all, they’ve got the world on a string, according to this illusion, and
their white skin allows them to bounce back from anything.
The Imus show was unique unto itself due to its focus and purpose, which were
often misinterpreted. Imus would anger me at times, and I’d cease to listen
for a couple or more weeks. The annoyance with him was not for his vulgar and
irreverent humor, but due to what I saw as his wishy-washy approach to most
political matters. As the country’s political fortunes took a turn for the worse,
I grew impatient with Imus and his ambivalence on certain issues.
Especially during the 2004 election, I felt it was imperative for every American
to do all he could to eject the warmongers out of Washington. This was no time
for satirical putdowns of candidates who might stand a chance of replacing the
incumbent Republican cranks. Imus finally did come down on the antiwar side,
but went on supporting Joseph Lieberman, a chief warmonger, thus, making a mockery
of his position on the war. He also spent inordinate amounts of time sneering
at Ned Lamont, Lieberman’s chief political rival.
With young American soldiers dropping like flies in a totally unnecessary military
escapade, there was Imus giving the benefit of the doubt to White House apologists.
In his jocular manner, he’d claim, Well, maybe this view is right, or maybe
that view is right. Sometimes I would cry out, "Oh, take a stand, damn
you, Imus!" This was not a time for playing ribald word games.
In terms of presidential candidates, for weeks Imus would play at supporting
this Democratic candidate or that one, or even Bush. As long as the country
was being run by certifiably demented kooks, I had no use for irrelevant humor.
A rather foolish posture, I admit, given the nature of the Imus show. But that
was the confusing thing about it. The mix of politics and entertainment blurred
the show’s identity.
One of the most unfortunate consequences of this episode is the fact that yet
another white man has helped to restore credibility and social power to those
two cynical buffoons, Jackson and Sharpton. Just when it looked like their stars
were waning, along comes the groveling Imus, to remind us blacks of just who
our "leaders" are. In his remarkable column in the Kansas City Star,
writer Jason Whitlock sarcastically thanks Imus for extending Black History
Month to April, so that blacks "can once again wallow in victimhood and
protest like it’s 1965."
This is how so many blacks felt upon learning that Imus sought out Sharpton
and planned to go on his radio show. Writes Whitlock, "At this time, we
are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture
(hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture.
The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education,
demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent. Rather than confront
this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to
have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say
Talk show host Tom Joyner concurs, and adds that Sharpton’s focus "is
to catch a mistake made, fan the issue for personal publicity and, stepping
around the carnage, move on to the next photo opportunity." These are views
on Sharpton, and his myriad wannabes, that many blacks have been expressing
for years, yet timid whites choose to ignore what they consider dangerous dissent.
I don’t think that Sharpton and his clones knew that they still possessed the
power endowed upon them by the media over the past several days. Thanks to Imus,
they know it now.
On his radio show, Sharpton had the upper hand over Imus to the extent that
Imus could not get away with calling himself an "old cracker." When
he used this epithet to denigrate himself, the wily Sharpton took the moral
high ground, insisting that Imus should not use this term, but should "respect"
his own race. Wow!
Let’s face it, when you allow someone to box you into a corner and force you
to whine, "I am not a racist, I am not a bigot, I am a good person,"
you deserve little more than contempt.
So, after all this cringing and groveling, what was accomplished? Nothing more
than could have been, if Imus had initially said, "Take this job and stuff
it!" And how many more white men will feel compelled to prostrate themselves
at the feet of blacks? While he was down there, it’s surprising that Imus failed
to wash Sharpton’s feet — a practice that actually was performed on the feet
of black men by the contrite white members of the "Christian" organization
Promise Keepers. What a wonderful set of role models they make.
Being Al Sharpton means never having to say you’re sorry for any incendiary
speeches that might act as fuel for the weak-minded. No one should be held accountable
for words, which others may then misinterpret. It is the perpetrator of criminal
acts who should be held responsible for his deeds. This rule obviously works
for Sharpton, but not for all Americans, as "anti-racist watchdogs"
hound their political opponents, to link them with the criminal acts of others.
These unappointed guardians of society almost succeeded in the case of the white
nationalist Tom Metzger, and did succeed with the railroading of the religious
separatist Matt Hale. See
here and here. Because these "anti-racists" tend to share the same
politics as Sharpton, he gets a free ride as the Teflon man. That’s why his
connections to the deaths of young Yankel Rosenblum and those unfortunate souls
who died in that Harlem fire get brushed aside.
Being Al Sharpton also means that you can claim to oppose the "gangsta"
culture, while knowing there are now organizations, with the NAACP in the lead,
that are major recipients of big donations that come from these "artists"
and "entrepreneurs." See my articles on the noble, but short-lived,
campaigns to enlighten the public about the rap/hip-hop poison conducted first
Delores Tucker and then by
Abysssinian Baptist pastor, Rev. Calvin Butts. And also
As I write this, Sharpton is preachifying about how he is going to go after
the actual producers, the companies, those corporate executives, who are responsible
for the very existence and dissemination of the filth they have the nerve to
call "music." Let’s see what happens when the NAACP brings him back
to reality. In the past, neither Tucker nor Butts could get support from Sharpton
or Jackson for their campaigns against those very corporations. After all these
years of failing to disavow the black cultural dreck that has poisoned mainstream
society, are these "civil rights" folks suddenly going to get down
to the business of challenging blacks themselves? Perhaps, but only after they
have taken down a few more white men. First blame Whitey.