Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Phenomenon of Don Imus, The Media and UFOs

Imus on Air
By Frank Warren

     I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell “Don Imus” has to do with “UFOs”; the answer is “very little” (to the best of my knowledge).

That said, the “little” part is that “Imus” (like UFOs), in his own right is a “phenomena unto himself; he’s one of the original “shock jocks” (along with “Howard Stern”); in fact, the term, “Shock Jock” may have been borne shortly after their respective careers were launched.

In 1973 Imus was described (in print) as, “outrageous, irreverent, hilarious, brash, insane, ridiculous, and phenomenal!” For the most part, those adjectives can still be used today; however, as is always the case with time, the man, his career, and his show have evolved.

The ”Imus in The Morning Show,” has been for many years now, a “platform” for “politicos” and “leading journalists” alike to “voice” their outlooks, ideologies etc., and that is inclusive of former Presidents, and those striving for the office.

Anyone who has watched, and or listened to “Don Imus” knows that there exists a “locker-room, ‘blue’ comedic atmosphere” that many would find offensive. No one is excepted from the “barbs” that originate in either a skit, and or dialogue; this is inclusive of any race, creed, color and or gender.

On the flip-side, Imus is known for calling a “spade a spade” and often takes politicians, journalists to task; e.g., the recent debacle at the “Walter Reed Hospital”; this “mix” has served him well, and garnered him popularity and high ratings.

Unless you’ve been devoid of all “electronic media sources” you’ve undoubtedly heard about Imus’ “nappy headed ho” remark, which now saturates “all” sources of news venues. The comment was made in reference to “Rutgers University Women's Basketball team” and has snow-balled into the “other phenomena” i.e., the “media’s fervor” in “covering” those “three words” and “his” use of them!

Sadly, everybody and their brother is jumping on their respective soapboxes to “not only” express their views, but to make ultimatums (short of lynching the man) e.g., calling for his dismissal etc.

For those passing judgment on “Don Imus” based on the “three word sound bite,” (that will unquestionably permeate the airwaves for the next few weeks) take a minute, and reread the previous paragraphs. Imus in his own defense highlighted “the context” in how these comments were made, and stated he intended no malice, but admitted that regardless of “intent” the damage was done; he has since overwhelming apologized and even did so on one of his biggest disparagers (to put it mildly) i.e., the “Reverend Al Sharpton’s” radio show. (He also has requested to apologize directly to the team and their families themselves).

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has also jumped on the bandwagon, and drawn a line in the sand, stating that you’re either with us (fire Imus) or with him.

There’s certainly no debate that what Imus said “can” be offensive, but this type of “crass humor” isn’t new, or isolated; Pryor, Murphy and Chris Rock come to mind; given the same set of circumstances methinks had one of them been the purveyor of the remark(s) this wouldn’t be occupying the American mindset presently. For those that “believe” that it’s ok for an “African American” to throw “racist barbs” at another “African American,” the idea is ludicrous!

Finally, the harshest critics of Imus, i.e., Sharpton and Jackson are no strangers to the very same “hot seat” that Don Imus now occupies; let us not forget Jackson’s referral to Jews as "Hymies" and to “New York City” as "Hymietown" or Sharpton’s defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox re the “Tawana Brawley case “ in which he was successfully sued for liable. (Jackson asked for forgiveness—sound familiar?)

The importance of, and acknowledgment that racism is still prevalent in our society goes without saying, but to “inflame” the populace at the expense of Don Imus for his “crass sense of humor” is not the solution; in fact in my view, it’s part of the problem!

Sharpton and Jackson, are using this incident for their own political purposes and agendas; the media is reporting it for the money, i.e., ratings etc., and Don Imus is left with his foot in his mouth seeking “redemption.”

Personally, I believe Imus is genuinely sorry for his remarks, and is “not a racist” and has had the guts to humbly apologize; furthermore, it is my hope that he will be allowed to convey this directly to the “Rutgers University Women's Basketball team” and let them “judge him directly,” rather then through all the media propaganda and opportunists!

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