As stated here two days ago (see below), radio host Don Imus’s characterization of the Rutgers ladies’ basketball team was odious and entirely unacceptable. He should certainly be punished for it, and I believe that a suspension is appropriate.
Bowing to advertisers’ pressure, MSNBC has announced that it is dropping its TV simulcast of Imus’s program. That is entirely their prerogative, although I should have thought good business sense would have told the channel’s executives simply to wait it out and see whether Imus and the show can recover from the troubles of the past few days.
It is not as if MSNBC has a lot of great, audience-grabbing programs waiting in the wings, or else they’d have replaced much of their other unwatched lineup of boring , inane chatter.
The cultural issue at hand, however, remains an interesting one. The reigning double standard regarding offensiveness is peculiarly evident in the present case.
Whenever people complain about there being too much sex and vulgar talk on television or radio in general, the nearly universal reaction among commentators afforded access to mainstream media outlets is this:
You don’t have to watch or listen to it. Just change the channel.
In the present case, however, as with the Tim Hardaway controversy (covered in detail on this site), just not listening is not an acceptable solution.
The difference, of course, is that in cases in which rude, offensive, and insensitive behavior (as TV and radio vulgarity most certainly are) explicitly undermine Judeo-Christian values, they are applauded by the vast claque of new age weirdos that have infested the media for the past half-century and have become increasingly distant from the vast majority of people in this country.
The reason, then, that characters such as Imus and Hardaway are singled out for destruction is that they do not openly oppose Judeo-Christian values. Imus, for example, may undermine these values every day with his vulgarity and frivolousness, and his characterization of a group of female basketball players as undistinguished prostitutes is certainly un-Christian in the extreme, but what makes his vulgarity in this instance most distinctive is that it can be easily characterized as derogation of two accredited victim groups.
This characterization is entirely false, of course, unless it is to be suggested that all people with very curly hair are ugly and all women are prostitutes. To anyone who does not think such repulsive thoughts, and who does not believe that a great number of other people think such thoughts, Imus’s statement is just another instance of idiotic blather from a big-mouthed clown.
That, of course, is the point. The clever folk in the media do believe that most Americans generally look with disdain on blacks, women, and many other groups of people. And that is what the mainstream media are working so hard to prevent by attacking people such as Imus and Hardaway.
It is not harsh words that they are trying to prevent, but ideas that they dislike. The fact that in Imus’s case the ideas are ones that virtually nobody holds and that have in fact been made illegal by the federal and state governments is of no moment.
And the fact that in Hardaway’s case the ideas are ones that have been held by nearly every human being throughout human history is likewise no obstacle to their effort to make reality conform to their dreams.
What is at work here, then, is pure politics.