An end of an Era

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I've hesitated to weigh in on the Imus controversy for a lot of reasons. Primarily, I thought there were enough people talking about it, and the best thing for everyone involved aside from an apology from Imus to those injured was to stop talking about it, but that was not to be.

Imus and I go way back. I used to ride to school every day with my dad on his way to work, and I listened to Don Imus spouting off about whatever political saga was going on. Revealing my age somewhat, Imus had already moved away from most of the schock jock tendencies that got the likes of the Grease Man kicked off the air (never listened to him but that controversy happened around that time).

Imus was a tad liberal for my tastes, but he had some of the greatest minds in politics and covering politics in America on his show from John McCain to Tom Brokaw. The show was irreverant, funny, and informative. My favorite part was the show's really good Richard Nixon and hilarious Walter Cronkite impersonations. Hard news was mixed in with humor and, sometimes a little too much, pop culture; but on the whole, the show was 10x more enlightening than most of the other tripe on morning radio.

With this announcement, the ballgame is pretty much over.

I won't start to defend the I-man's comments. They were over the line (period).

However, we have a double standard in this country. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are using this controversy to build power, plain and simple. When they have made equally reprehensible statements and done inappropriate things in the past, they have gotten a free pass. The Duke lacrosse team had an entire season destroyed by Jesse and Al, and no one is calling for their livelihoods to be destroyed. Several players may have been falsely sent to jail if they didn't have rich parents.

Al Sharpton talks about how this is a blow for decency. We haven't made our culture any more decent, but we have taken an entertaining source of real news from the airwaves. In addition, the IMUS ranch for kids with cancer will suffer as well. I hope someone picks up the Imus show, but in this culture, $$$ dictate corporate policy, first and foremost.

UPDATE: Kudos to the Rutgers women's basketball team for taking the high road here. This should have been the response all along.

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42 Comments

zimzo said:

How come conservatives can't just say Don Imus was wrong without attacking Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and rap music, etc.? Just wondering.

Singleton said:

I didn't say anything about rap music. I have nothing against 50 cent and company. It is an art but so is comedy.

Much worse things happen all the time in this world, and a bad joke gone awry is not worth ruining someone over. Like I said, Imus was wrong, but that doesn't make Jesse and Al right.

I criticize Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton because they are hypocrites. They did not want to make a positive out of the situation, but rather they wanted to make an example of Imus.

stay puft said:

he got fired because no one wanted to sponsor him, so it was only indirectly because of his comment.

I'm sure they would have kept him around if his ratings had gone up, or his sponsorship hadn't backed out. it's the same for 50 cent et al; the only censorship is the invisible hand of the market

zimzo said:

The reason I raised the question I did is because it seems that many conservatives have difficulty criticizing racist or homophobic comments outright without trying to make excuses for them or diminishing their severity by trying to draw equivalence with something a liberal has said. So when you write about Ann Coulter, you can't just say Ann Coulter was wrong, you have to say it's no worse than something Bill Maher said or Al Franken said. You can't just criticize Don Imus without also using it as an excuse to attack Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. By setting up these false dichotomies it gives the impression that you really think Don Imus and Ann Coulter are victims and makes it look as if you actually sympathize with their plight even as you condemn them from the other side of your mouth. It makes you look like hypocrites.

For the record I think Jesse Jackson was ant-Semitic when he referred to New York as Hymietown and Al Sharpton went beyond the pale when he accused an innocent man of raping Tawana Brawley, and I also hate misgynist rap music but I don't think that diminishes what Don Imus did one iota. And I certainly would not have defended either Jackson or Sharpton by mentioning conservatives who were anti-Semitic or who had falsely accused someone of a crime. So I wonder why do conservatives feel the need to do that?

Kevin said:

I want to know why misogynistic/racist rap music can be played over federally regulated airwaves but Imus' comment cannot? I have a problem with Sharpton or Jackson not going after misogynist/racist rap music.

For once I agree with both Zimzo and Kevin. I have not followed the Imus story - although, believe me, I'm sure my life will not be the same henceforth - but it seems like saying the guy was a dope is enough, he does not need to be compared with anyone else.

However, at this point you can bring in Jesse and Al and say what a couple of moron blowhards. "Reverends".

jacob said:

Imus has a bad habit of saying mean, stupid and ugly things. Pointing the finger at race-pimps is not going to change that. If he is gone, good riddance.

zimzo said:

Kevin, both Jackson and Sharpton have criticized rap music.

Jack said:

Imus is an idiot. He will probably be back. (However, he is old enough to consider retirement.) He has been fired before. Howard Stern has been fired. The Greaseman has been fired and come back. (Remember, "Kill four more, and we'll get the whole week off!" That was far worse.)

This is hardly the end of an era. It's just the end of a chapter.

stay puft said:

Now that he's made a fool of himself and lost his job because of it, my guess is we'll soon be seeing him in the role of, "Fox News Commentator"

Jack said:

Not likely -- he's a lib.

Kailyn Leto said:

Let me give you my opinion on this. I believe Imus did not need to make that joke, even though I actually found it a bit funny. His being fired just gives me more reason to say that this country has a MAJOR double standard.

And don't mention Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. They embarrass me and make black people look bad.

I don't hate white people nor do I believe white people are racist. (Besides that, the only group of people I have ever had trouble around have been...ghetto thugs...who are usually...black.) They are addicted to victimhood and should be ignored, for they are more racist than the KKK.

zimzo said:

So Kaelyn, what was it that you thought was funny about Imus's statement? When you say you don't believe white people are racist do you mean that you don't think there are any racist white people?

Robin said:

I've never liked any of the shock jocks. Not Howard, Don, Bill or Rush. I just never got into the cruel nature of it. I think what Imus said was so very, very wrong. It demeaned women and African-Americans in one fell swope.

I do think there is a double standard. Words,as well as sticks and stones, can hurt. Mysogyistic lyrics hurt women. By purchasing these cds we are saying it's ok to belittle and devalue women. I don't like most rap because of the lyrics. With the exception of a few fine artists like Queen Latifah and Salt and Pepa, most rap is just ugly, sexist garbage.

We need to start teaching our children that name-calling in any form, by any group is hurtful and wrong. It's just totally unacceptable.

Robin said:

I've never liked any of the shock jocks. Not Howard, Don, Bill or Rush. I just never got into the cruel nature of it. I think what Imus said was so very, very wrong. It demeaned women and African-Americans in one fell swoop.

I do think there is a double standard. Words, as well as sticks and stones, can hurt. Misogynistic lyrics hurt women. By purchasing these cds we are saying it's ok to belittle and devalue women. I don't like most rap because of the lyrics. With the exception of a few fine artists like Queen Latifah and Salt and Pepa, most rap is just ugly, sexist garbage.

We need to start teaching our children that name-calling in any form, by any group is hurtful and wrong. It's just totally unacceptable.


stay puft said:

there is a double standard. it's inappropriate no matter who it comes from, but from different degrees.

I think it comes out of all the history. as in, blacks have a history of being screwed over by whites, but not the other way around.

the ideal is that everyone is equal and skin color is meaningless. I don't think it's realistic to say that we are at that point today. So when people of any ethnicity say something negative about another, it rubs the wrong way, but more so for some groups than others.

which of these hypothetical statements sets off a bigger red flag in your head:

-a Jew says, "Germans are no good."

-a German says, "Jews are no good."

Neither of these statements is good for society ...they're both wrong. because of the history, though, it seems like one is more wrong.

not that this is how it ought to be (it isn't). it's just how it is...

Kevin said:

Zimzo, good! They should. And it's not all rap music, there are some really great artists out there. It's really hard for me to see where all of this came from suddenly.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,

"the ideal is that everyone is equal and skin color is meaningless. I don't think it's realistic to say that we are at that point today."
I agree with the ideal. The frustration is that we are closer here, in this country, than any other country ever has been; certainly further along than we were in 1960. To see the likes of Sharpton acting as if nothing has changed in the past 40 years is appalling.

The thing that kills me is that King made the seed change in the hearts of Americans. When that pimp goes into his shtick he is insulting all of us, but Dr. King he insults most of all. Face it, if Sharpton's bile is true, then King failed.

stay puft said:

honestly, I don't pay too much attention to Sharpton. Does he not say that we've made progress? I really don't know, but my guess is that part of it is once you start saying "look how far we've come" people here, "victory" and stop coming to the meetings, so to speak.

if you're al sharpton, you see that as bad for both the movement and your career. that's my take.

sure there's a personal motive, but to be fair, someone who is trying to effect change in society isn't going to make a lot of progress by going around talking about how everything is just dandy nowadays. and given that inequality does still exist, anyone who is going to try to fix that is going to have to focus on the negative more than the positive. that's the nature of the beast.

stay puft said:

that's "people here" as in "hear" ...

Jack said:

Bill Cosby is focusing on the problem. Al Sharpton is focusing on his wallet.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
You say "you see that as bad for both the movement and your career" I agree. But there is a point when you will exasperate those whome you continually accuse, and lose their hearts on the matter. The only real coins in this realm are goodwill and guilt. Sharpton sucks both of those out of the air.

Furthermore, from this vantage point, listening to the NAACP, or at least Mfume and Bond before him, the message is damn near close to 'things have not changed a bit.' I listen to them and I am saddened by what I hear, because they sound like Sharpton in that regard. When progress is not aknowlegded than progress ceases.

As for Sharpton, using him as the foil is in many ways a tactical error. Distancing ones self from that fella is not too hard. Until one realises he was invited the all the 7 dwarves debates, billed as the "Black American" voice.

What amazes me is this hustler was up on a stage as a Democrat candidate for president (granted, not a strong one) when he ought to have be in jail for two counts of manslaughter (inciting two lethal riots in NYC) and one count of conspiracy (Tawana Brawley).

What kills me is the media (including that bastion of yellow, right-wing, journalism, Fox) did not mention his past activities. He was just 'Reverend' Sharpton. Doesn't that give you pause? In this guys case he has gone way beyond the "nature of the beast"

As for "focusing on the negative", sure the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I see that, but this has to be balanced. At some point your "given that inequality does still exist" will not wash because you are looking at outcome alone v. and ignoring opportunity. Jim Crow _is_ dead. Folks immigrating from Africa, who are as black as anyone else, are doing well in our society. How does you explain that and maintain there is discrimination?

stay puft marshmallow man said:

I'm not black, and I don't want to pretend to speak for black America, but I will say a few things in response to your post.

Sharpton's tactics may not be the best for uniting blacks and non-blacks on the issue of equality.

The problem as I see it is the issue of who, in a statistical sense, has access to resources in our society. Sure there are a handful of hard working people who "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" But it's the exception, not the norm; like pointing to Bill Gates as an example of how finishing high school is a waste of time.

I think that people aren't so overtly racist as they were in the past. Although that does still exist here and there, but it probably isn't AS BIG a factor as it once was. The black applicant doesn't fail to get hired because the boss, "doesn't like black people." He doesn't get hired because of the weak tax base in the school district he grew up in, which lead to lousy schools. Poor inner-city minorities continue to be underrepresented in higher education, which effectively bars them from maximizing their capabilities (again, in a statistical, not individual, sense), and the cycle repeats itself.

"Folks immigrating from Africa, who are as black as anyone else, are doing well in our society. How does you explain that and maintain there is discrimination?"

Again, this is an issue of who is educated and who isn't. You know how our immigration policy works. Who is getting in to this country? I bet a vast majority of the "folks immigrating from Africa" hold masters degrees or PhDs, which obviously isn't the case with the majority of blacks in the US. Again, the racism that still exists is more transparent than it once was, but it's still a part of our society. We don't see it like a fish doesn't see water.

Take a look at this thing put together by some researchers at harvard. It tests "associations" There are a bunch of different ones here:
https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/

The interesting one is the one that looks at how people associate race with positive and negative words. Take a look:
https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1

Singleton said:

SPMM,

Well, to break our streak of agreement, it isn't that poor minorities are underrepresented. It's that poor people in general are underrepresented. If people really wanted to address this problem, we'd need programs to benefit the poor rather than systems that advance someone based on their race or gender.

Hey I've been looking for that test for two years, since I lost my bookmarks. Thanks for another good link, Puft.

Kevin said:

Hey Singleton, I'm glad you brought up the poverty/class issue. I don't have time but it figures into the argument in a huge way. I once relied on arguing the race issue alone at one point, and don't get me wrong, there is something to that (when applied appropriately), but we are in a new era where class levels within minorities are really starting to broaden and cannot be ignored in the discussion. I'm not saying class is the central issue across races because I don't think that is true but you'll see what I mean when you start talking to people from different income levels about the comments of Bill Cosby. Like crime, it's a very fascinating area of discussion, and complex.

stay puft said:

Singleton,

yes, poverty is a key part of this stuff. The poor are underrepresented in higher education, as are blacks (who happen to be over represented when it comes to poverty)

But there's also a psychological aspect to race that sort of transcends socioeconomics. That implicit association test shows that well. Also in that vein, take a look at this video clip:

http://www.komotv.com/home/video/5001856.html?video=YHI&t=a

As to Jacob's statement that immigrant blacks do well: in addition to generally being more educated, they also weren't socialized in the same climate...

Jack said:

Puffalump:

If money made the schools better, DC would have the best in the country. Go check how much, per pupil, the "poor inner-city schools" are spending.

Lack of money is NOT the problem with inner-city schools.

The tests are interesting, but irrelevant. Employers do not make snap judgments as one is required to do in the tests, nor do educators. SAT graders do not know the race of the test-takers, except by their grammer.

Jack said:

Kevin, was it you with whom I was discussing the funding levels of the Detroit Public Schools? What thread was that in?

If Clinton was our first "black" president, we must recognize the General as our first black Sloar. He speaks for the community like few others have.

stay puft said:

Jack,

again, you should really talk to an inner city school student who is applying to universities (this is the season) I really don't want to tell someone else's story.

let me just say, there are a lot of factors in play. is the money in the classrooms? are inner-city schools able to attract the best teachers? What's it matter if the SAT is color-bind if the educational system is failing the students?

We're talking about people's perceptions of different races, how can you say that a gut reaction to particular people based on skin color is irrelevant? You can't imagine that having broader implications for our society?

Kevin said:

Jack, I don't recall either the conversation or the thread but if you find it, point it out.

It cracks me up that we all sit around and discuss this stuff without any of us being "black". It's ABSOLUTELY a relevant topic, I just find it interesting that either there are African-American readers who do not wish to get embroiled in the discussion (or who Jack can piss off) or that there are few African-American readers reading here.

Jack said:

So you bring up the issue, puffalump, then avoid it by saying you "really don't want to tell someone else's story." Lame. Very lame.

Yes, there are a lot of factors in the failure of public schools. If the money is not getting to the classrooms, why is it not? Corrupt and inept school administrations. (Which party controls that in the cities, anyway?)

The inner-city culture does not value education. An inner-city child trying to get an education is accused by his peer of "acting White" and by his parents of "thinking you're better than us." Who would want to be a teacher in that culture?

In any event, it's not the money, it's the culture.

No employer chooses his employees in a half second based on a gut reaction. Blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime, so it is natural and reasonable that there is a negative gut reaction there.

Jack said:

My apologies, Kevin, it was PUFFALUMP that was going on about the underfunded inner-city schools without any data to back up his arguments:

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/09/the_constitution_on_education.php

He's back at it again, and I doubt he has any more data than he did the last time.

stay puft said:

Jack,
come off it, i am not "back at it"

that was a totally different conversation, where you argued that the fed gov. should not fund schools, even though your data proved that poor inner-city school districts depended on federal funding.

forget funding, ok? In inner city schools, money is not in the class rooms, ok?

Are you blaming democrats? are you saying that racism is a myth? are you contributing ANYTHING or just taking pot shots at this discussion? The problem is bigger than school funding. It's no one's falut, but it's all of our problem

stay puft said:

...but I think it was Imus who brought the issue up

Jack said:

My data proved no such thing. Detroit gets less than 15% of it's funding from the feds. Without that, they'd STILL be spending $10,000 per student.

What do you mean, "The money is not in the classrooms"? Where is it?

Yes, I am blaming Democrats. Democrats run the inner-city public schools. Democrats oppose vouchers. Democrats oppose school choice. Democrats oppose paying extra for math and science teachers.

Racism is NOT a myth, it is perpetuated by the Democrat Party, which has a vested interest in keeping people dependent on the government.

I do not recall Imus' speaking about inner-city school funding.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

you think democrats are conspiring to keep inner city schools from performing as a ploy to keep inner city people poor and dependent on the government?

that's ridiculous.

at long last I think I understand through which you view the world. It's fairly simple. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Basically, America is a great country, but it has some grave problems. Those problems are attributable, one way or another, to democrats and liberals, who refuse to accept the Truth of conservativism.

Am I right so far? Now, once you accept that premise, all you have to do is figure out how everything that happens is the democrat's fault, and it works to reinforce your world-view. You start with the premise that everything is the fault of democrats, and work backward from there. So gun crimes happen because democrats restrict gun ownership, terrorism happens because democrats didn't do the right things, racism exists because democrats need to keep people poor.

your perception feeds off of division, and the stronger those divisions are, the more you can feel like you understand the world you live in.

you can always find rationalizations for writing off facts that counter these claims, such as the fact that gun crimes are often committed with legally-purchased guns, that the Bush admin. cut funding to Clinton's counter-terrorism programs as soon as they took over, that poverty and the gap between rich and poor has widened since the democrats have been out of power, and that it was Clinton that pushed for "welfare to work".

...It would be a quaint, provincial sort of suspicion of the outside world, except that it's tearing our society apart. It's too bad that you're more interested in allocating blame than in finding solutions. Since you know all of the root causes of racism, let's hear your proposal for fixing them. but if all you have is a big box of blame, can you please keep it shut?

Jack said:

Why else would Democrats oppose school choice, vouchers, and better pay for science and math teachers?

"Basically, America is a great country, but it has some grave problems. Those problems are attributable, one way or another, to democrats and liberals, who refuse to accept the Truth of conservativism."

Bingo.

In your worldview, crime happens because people are oppressed. Terrorism happens because people are oppressed. Racism is people's being oppressed. Everyone's a victim except rich White males, such as the Duke lacrosse players.

The Democrats and Liberals (a.k.a. Communists and Socialists) are the ones pushing the division politics -- White Christian Males against every other group. Conservatives, on the other hand, want everyone judged by what they DO, not by what they ARE. You communists and socialists want racial preferences and set-asides. DEMOCRATS, not Republicans, play the victim card and the race card.


So how 'bout you provide some facts. What percentage of gun crimes are committed with legally purchased guns? Some certainly are. Many more crimes are thwarted by armed citizens.

Please provide some details on your assertion about Bush's cutting anti-terrorism funding.

Clinton did not push for Welfare to Work, it was part of the Contract with America that put the Republicans in charge of the House for the first time in 40 years. Clinton only signed it. (Clinton DID push NAFTA pretty hard, BTW.)

The widening gap between rich and poor is simple economics. I guess it's not simple enough for you, though.

What racism? Are Blacks kept out of jobs or houses because they are Black? Are they kept out of college, or do they get racial preferences? They are not kept out of the elite public high school in Fairfax, Thomas Jefferson. They are given preference for WHAT THEY ARE, not for what they have DONE. THAT is racism.

I pass out blame where it is deserved. Democrats run the inner-city public schools. Democrats get the blame.

stay puft said:

simple economics, yeah. Give tax cuts to the rich while repeating the mantra that there isn't a problem.

"inequality is all in your head" says the white christian male

of course, many blacks would likely disagree with you, but their views and ideas are inferior to yours, aren't they?

if I give you facts, you give me excuses for not believing them. You begin with the premise that everything is the fault of democrats, you've admitted as much.

Jack said:

The simple economics is that the labor of the unskilled has not become more valuable, while the labor of the skilled has. Furthermore, the rich are investing in the equipment to improve production. They take the risks and get the rewards. When the farmer buys a tractor to replace his mule, should he pay his plowman more?

Inequality IS all in your head. Get an education, and you will no longer be the equal of those who did not.

What has being Black got to do with it? Are you saying Blacks think differently than Whites?

You don't give me facts, Puffalump. Go back to our discussion on the funding of public schools. You had no facts whatsoever to support your assertion, and still have none, but you stick with it anyway, despite the contradictory evidence I presented.

You blame easy access to guns as the reason for our murder rate. When I show you that the murder rate for Whites in the U.S. is on par with Canada's, while the Hispanic and Black rates are four and nine times higher, you still insist the problem is the guns not the people.

There may be some madness to my method, but all you have is madness.

Not all, however, is the fault of Democrats. The Republicans (particularly Bush) have no desire to close the borders, and Bush is responsible for that huge fiasco of socialism, the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit.

stay puft said:

well, I should have known better than to get into a discussion of race with someone who has no interest in a democratic society;
"sure the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, that's the way it should be"

I've only talked about gun law once with you, and in that discussion YOU weren't able to bring the facts to back up your statements.

the ONLY fact you've EVER had is that the Detroit public school system gets a lot of it's funding from the fed. gov. and you interpret that to mean that ALL of your arguments are sound and logical.

but if you want to talk about Bush's pre-9/11 counter-terrorism programs, that's a different conversation. Here we've been talking about race in America. It's not a cop out for me to say that I'm not going to be the voice of black America. Suffice it to say that I don't believe that African Americans think differently, I think that many have had a different experience with race and racism, and that experience informs their perception of the issues, and if you want to say that you're perception, based on your (white christian male) experience is correct and their's is wrong, than you are being a racist.

...you ought to be happy with medicare part D; it covers dementia.

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