On Imus – Last Thoughts From a Long-Time Listener

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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 were 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.

during the 2006 election, I felt it was imperative for every American
to do all he could to expel 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 about ourselves."

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
" 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 by Delores
and then by Abyssinian
Baptist pastor, Rev. Calvin Butts
. And also here.

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.

21, 2007

Wright [send her mail]
is editor of Issues
& Views
. She blogs

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