Considering how overblown the whole Don Imus event has become, I’m reticent to give it even more attention, but I think I might have a unique view about the situation. Before I do this, I do recommend you read a couple columns on the subject by 2 writers I have a lot respect for.
Jason Whitlock is often pompous and lives to take the contrarian view. No wonder I like the guy so much. One of the few members of the corporate media who you can count on not to be afraid to ruffle feathers. I think his latest column is the best one I’ve read on the subject.
Another excellent view on the Imus case is by Newsday’s Shaun Powell.
While most of you know this already, I’ve been in the comedy business for over 15 years. Besides performing stand-up, I also have appeared on hundreds of radio shows. I’ve actually filled-in as a radio host a few times, so I know the biz fairly well.
Morning radio DJ’s are dissed by the intelligencia more than any group I can think of. In many cases this is fair, as there is some really awful morning zoo’s roaming the airwaves. Yes, low-ball humor is basically the theme that connects most of these shows together.
Having put this out there, let me also defend the best of these shows, as even low-ball comedy has it quality purveyors. I would argue that there is nothing harder in in the entertainment field than to produce 4 hours of quality material day in, day out. This is why the tops in their field like Howard Stern, Bob and Tom, Opie and Anthony, and a few select others make so much money. It has become even tougher to do an entertaining show since the crackdown by the FCC after Janet Jackson acted like a "Ho" during the Super Bowl and exposed her medallion circled nipple.
I can remember doing morning radio in Florida, after the Miss Jackson debacle and the firing of morning radio DJ, Bubba the Love Sponge. At this juncture, all the rules had seemed to change overnight, as no one knew what the FCC would fine someone for and what they wouldn’t. Sadly, things aren’t much better, especially for the syndicated shows who have the thought police monitoring their every word.
So in this new climate, Howard Stern was being bleeped so much by the corporate button pusher that his show became like the game show Match Game. Listen to tapes of morning shows 10 years ago on terrestial radio and the shows were just a lot better. I believe in some restrictions, but when the FCC has no hard and fast rules on what is improper, it sets up for bad entertainment. Nothing kills comedy more than the censoring eye of Big Brother (or Al Sharpton). See the below cut and paste from the Drudge Report.
SHARPTON VOWS MORE: ‘It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves’…
Who the HELL does this sleaze bag think he is to believe he has any rights in making policy on what the American public can hear? I’m not going to restate the eloquent offerings linked earlier in this piece by Whitlock and Powell, but come on not particularly Sharp-ton, don’t you have bigger issues to deal with?
Here are my thoughts on what Imus said.
1. They were offensive and dim-witted. In the context of the way they were used, they were very unfunny, as these players have done nothing to deserve such a comment. Truth is always at the core of the best social comedy. This comment was ignorant.
2. The words "Nappy-headed Ho’s", just taken on the surface are pretty damn hilarious, as long if they are delivered by Chris Rock or Dave Chapelle about some Black female version of Paris Hilton. (Interesting that there are no famous Black Whores that I can think of.) Now when some old white guy is uttering these words, it makes them very unfunny.
I’m no expert on Don Imus, as I’ve rarely caught his show. When I have, I’ve been turned off by his voice and haven’t really enjoyed his comedic takes. The one thing that was interesting about his show were the political guests that he was able to score. Network news big-wigs like Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, etc. were regular participants on his show. The best part of Imus’ show was getting these news and political types like John McCain and Joe Biden to be more off-the-cuff in their responses.
Since Imus uttered his bigoted phrase, it has been interesting to see how people in DC would respond. The comedically-challenged Hilary Clinton, who was once part of a vicious lambasting by Imus at the annual TV correspondence dinner, I’m sure enjoyed ripping Imus for his misspeak. Barack Obama was the first Presidential candidate to ask for Imus’ outright dismissal. I’m curious after this statement, if Obama didn’t go directly into another summit meeting with Ludacris.
If you are unaware of some of Mr. Ludacris’ work, a few titles include Move Bitch, Hoes in My Room, and my favorite, HO.
Youza Hoooooo (Ho)
Youza Hoooooo (Ho)
I said that youza hooooo (Ho)
You doin ho activities
With ho tendencies
Hos are your friends, hoes are your enemies
With ho energy to do whacha do
Blew whacha blew
Screw whacha screw
Yall professional like DJ Clue, pullin on my coat tail
an why do you think you take a ho to a hotel?
Hotel everybody, even the mayor
Reach up in tha sky for tha hozone laya
Come on playa once a ho always
And hos never close they open like hallways
An heres a ho cake for you whole ho crew
an everybody wants some cuz hoes gotta eat too
Cant turn a ho into a housewife
Hos dont act right
Theres hos on a mission, an hoes on a crackpipe
Hey ho how ya doin, where ya been?
Prolly doin ho stuff cuz there you ho again
Its a ho wide world, that we livin in
feline, feminine, fantastical, women
Not all, just some
You ho who you are
Theres hoes in tha room, theres hoes in tha car
theres hoes on stage, theres hoes by tha bar
hos by near, an hos by far
Ho! (But can i getta ride?!)
NO! (Cmon, nigga why?!)
You gotta run in your pantyhos
Even your daddy knows
that you suckin down chocolate like daddy-o’s
You hos are horrible, horrendous
On taxes ya’ll writin off hos as dependents
I see tha ho risin
it aint surprisin
its just a hoasis
with ugly chicks faces
but hos dont feel so sad and blue
cuz most of us niggaz is hos too
Muthaf–kas im so tiired of yall niggaz always talkin
bout hos this, hos that, you tha muthaf–kin ho nigga
I wasnt no ho last night
Ho, bring yo ass!
Ok, hold on
Hey, I’m not trying to be some Culture Warrior, but I would suggest that Barack be careful in who he states publicly should lose their job over a few words. I tend to agree with John Edwards response to the question of the Imus fiasco. "I believe in redemption, I believe in forgiveness."
Now on to what I think should have happened in the case. MSNBC should have never been airing the show in the first place, as they are a new gathering operation. A show like this has no place on such a network. CBS radio was in a more sticky situation, as while their radio operations include much more politically incorrect shows than Imus, being a large corporate entity makes it nearly impossible to keep him on, especially after the grandstanding of less than Sharp-ton and Pastor Jesse Jackson.
Truthfully, I could care less about Imus contining on the air, since I’m not a fan, but I do worry about the thought-police blowing this thing out of proportion to the point that we take another step back in what we are allowed to say. While I can’t remember ever saying anything like what Imus said on the air, I know I offend someone every time I open my mouth on-stage or on the air. (Of course offending people at this blog seems to be a way of life.) I’m not crazy about a world where the George Carlin’s are shut-down, with only the Sinbad’s left standing.
Finally, on to the Rutgers’ women basketball team. They didn’t deserve what was said about them by Imus. It was wrong, but a great blessing has come about from this unfortunate event. The nation, which statistically-speaking hardly even knows the sport exists, was able to hear some very eloquent women speak their minds on the subject. This was a blessing in disguise for the Rutger’s women basketball team, as you are now one the radar. I hope when/if the women meet Imus, as both parties say they want to, they will see this is a man who has lost his kingdom over a dumb mistake and they accept his apology and move on. I mean it’s not like the Scarlet Knight women are going to have to wear a Scarlet Letter because of the comments by a man who few listen to.
We have bigger racial divides than what a past his prime disc jockey has to say.