Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus Fired

"There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society," CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in announcing the decision. "That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision." - AP Thursday, April 12, 2007, 7:49 PM ET

Don Imus referred to the Rutgers' women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" after they lost the national basketball championship final. I assume that the term "nappy-headed" refers to their hair texture, and not the British term for diapers (but I am uncertain) and I assume he uses the term "hos" to refer to the women as prostitutes.

In reality, as well as being superb athletes, one of the women is a class valedictorian, another a future lawyer, and another is a musical prodigy. See, "Remember that the victims here are 10 young women, not Don Imus," by AP columnist, Tim Dahlberg.

I never liked "shock jocks." I didn't like the Imus show, I didn't like the Howard Stern show. I think both of these men are horrible people. I don't find them entertaining.

In the past I have defended Howard Stern's First Amendment rights to say what he says. Generally he picks on stars and gazillionaires and government agencies and corporations. I think of them as fair game. I loathe his tit jokes and obsession with homosexuality, but you get the bad with the worse. I also think that people and organizations making a lot of money by being in the public eye or doing business with the public are fair game.

I don't think referring to the women on the Rutgers basketball team as nappy-headed hos is fair, and what Imus has done goes beyond the pale. He should not have been fired, if he had an ounce of decency he would have resigned before they had a chance to fire him. But, Imus has no decency. He said what he said because he's made millions saying shit like this for decades.

I am glad Imus was fired. If I used that language at work I would be fired. Same for pretty much everyone I know. It's just wrong.

Sadly, Imus will be back. Probably on satellite radio. Someone will want the ten or fifteen million dollars a year he can generate in ad revenues. But at least CBS and NBC have taken stands.

Some links:

Here's an article that asks why we are not upset about the way Imus has referred to Arabs and Muslims over the years. This is an odd article I think is worth reading.

The standard Fox/News Corporation apologist approach.

CNN coverage of the Rutgers' players' graceful reaction to Imus' words.

An earlier article from The Guardian, in England.

A call to hold black rappers accountable for their demeaning references to black women.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Now & Then
Gil Scott-Heron

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