Imus - "Send in the Clowns!"

Americans usually respond to adverse circumstances by going overboard, such as in the cases of death, wounding (both physically and verbally administered), or even in routine events such as winning an important game or election. Upon reflection, people often realize just how “overboard” they’ve been in their reactions to a given circumstance but understand that emotions/actions cannot be reconfigured, no matter how silly they sometimes make people appear.

As the dust settles with regard to the recent “Imus debacle,” there’s reason to take a look at some of the circumstances surrounding it. At the outset, it needs saying that what Imus said (referencing a small group of women athletes as “nappy-headed hos”) was beyond the pale. The fact that it was no surprise coming from an entertainer whose milieu is that of a “shock-jock” doesn’t mitigate the fact that Imus went too far, but he’s paid to insult, does it quite routinely no matter the objects of his attention, ranging all the way from the unknown to the highest-profile folks in the world. The head honchos at NBC/CBS have been a part of his gig for many years and reaped mega-millions on his back. Only those without an understanding of his genre would pay his remark a second thought.

Actually, the highest-profile people seek out the Imus-attack, especially if they’re in the entertainment field, peddling a book, or running for election. Senator Chris Dodd, for instance, announced his presidential candidacy on the Imus show earlier this year, genially accepting any barbs, no doubt realizing them to be worth their weight in gold – free publicity at a time when presidential politics is a mega-million-dollar industry. That’s called manipulation.

The Imus show has not been watched in this corner, the total time spent on it probably not more than an hour in total, but a revisit of the speech Imus gave at the Radio/TV Correspondents annual clambake in March 1996 indicates just how crude, vulgar, and obscene he can be. Notwithstanding that, the very people he lambasted at that meeting are the types who gladly visit his program, coming back for more of the same. They enjoy the world of the “shock-jock” and don’t mind being a part of it. Some of them – politicians especially – think nothing of Imus’s barbs, since they think nothing of publicly calling the president or anyone else a liar whenever it suits their fancy…a sort of “no-guilt-by-association” thing.

Leading the pack of wolves after Imus’s carcass are The Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev Jesse Jackson, each of whom has a syndicated radio program, Sharpton’s handled by some of the same outfits that handle the Imus thing. If he had said about a group of white women athletes that they are “honky whores,” nothing much would have been said about it. He might have experienced a bit of criticism, but most folks would have said that he was “just being old Rev. Al” – just another “shock-jock” doing his thing. The truth is, however, that in the politically correct climate of today, racist remarks are considered racist only if they are uttered by white people. This is the lesson to be learned from the Imus thing.

The Rev. Sharpton, a well-documented liar, has castigated Imus to a fare-thee-well, but he libeled more than one law/justice department worker in the Tawana Brawley dustup in 1987-88, then actually ran for president after that, notwithstanding having to pony up cash for his vicious attack on those folks that emanated from a complete hoax. His remarks/actions at any time, no matter how inflammatory, are not racist because he isn’t white.

According to NBC5/WMAQTV, Chicago, 09 April: "NBC must choose between Imus and the rest of us," said The Rev. Jesse Jackson as he protested with 50 others outside Chicago's NBC Tower Monday. "The rest of us are going to organize a boycott until they make a choice." The Rev. Jackson is well documented as having made one of his female workers into a “nappy-headed ho” himself, then used funds from his tax-exempt Rainbow Coalition treasure-trove of cash to buy her and their illegitimate child (determined by DNA, of course), as reported in, January 24, 2001, a $365,000 house; and for her somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000 a month to live on; $20,000 for moving expenses; and $15,000 in advance for “consulting.” Jackson can call Imus anything he likes or attempt to have him fired because, not being white, he is never being racist, not even when he called Jews “hymies” and New York “Hymietown.” He has run for president twice – beats working.

Imus’s fellow entrepreneurs and handlers are deserting him now, shutting down his TV show on MSNBC and his radio show on CBS – actually putting him out of business. His friends – though acceding to his “shock-jock” antics for many years and happily being a part of them – are deserting him in droves. Some might call this sort of going overboard. It is…and particularly so because his high-profile detractors – the revolting reverends, Sharpton and Jackson – are so slathered in sleaze themselves that they should crawl back under the rocks and shut up now. Those high-profile politicians and celebs who have used Imus through the years to advance their endeavors surely see themselves as the hypocrites they are.

Here is the delicious irony, as noted on MSNBC on 12 April: The news came down in the middle of Imus’ Radiothon, which has raised more than $40 million since 1990. The Radiothon had raised more than $1.3 million Thursday before Imus learned that he lost his job. The event benefited Tomorrows Children’s Fund, the CJ Foundation for SIDS and the Imus Ranch. Disgusting!