Allow me, somewhat belatedly, to weigh in on the Don Imus controversy. One more opinion isn’t going to make much difference, but at least I’ll get it off my chest and feel better for it.
I’ve never been a Don Imus fan, never listened to his radio show, and only know him by his reputation. Shock radio is not my thing, so I stay away from it. That type of show (Imus and Howard Stern being the best known practitioners of the genre) is way too sophomoric and intentionally “naughty” for my tastes. So when I first heard of the controversy surrounding Imus’s latest spew, my reaction was “typical Imus just being Imus”--so what.
I guess I have become so inured to the daily onslaught of nastiness masquarading as punditry that I am not surprised by any of the comments or “jokes” that emanate from the many media voices out there. It isn’t much of a leap from the sexual and racial bigotry of Imus to the trashing of contrary political and idealogical beliefs by the many social and political commentators who have daily forum for their opinions. Are the ravings of Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter any less insulting to a percentage of the population that disagrees with them than Imus’s slurs are insulting to nearly everyone? The subject matter may be different but the attitude is the same,eg, I can say what I want because I have the air time and if you don’t like what I have to say you can go to hell.
I understand the vehement reaction to Imus’s ridiculous comments. Racial and gender slurs are never acceptable. Insulting anyone is not what free speech is all about. Denigrating a person or group is not a protected right. What I fail to understand is how Imus was allowed to continue his trashy show for so long without there being an outcry before now. Surely in the past he has made stupid statements that were just as insulting and hurtful. But for some reason, (I suspect financial reasons are the common denominator), he was allowed to stay on the air and continue his onslaught against decency. But this time he crossed the line with both feet. And now he is finally paying for his insensitivity.
Will he be missed? There are probably some out there who listen to his drivel who are outraged that he is no longer their spokesman. Unfortunately, there is undoubtedly another idiot waiting in the wings for the opportunity to carry on his legacy of hateful nonsense. And there will aways be an audience for such crap.
The solution--turn off your radio.