Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shock Jock

As I said in my introduction, I plan to comment on news items and perhaps fill in some “gaps” in reporting as I see them. I have a number of comments on this Don Imus business. You are probably as sick of hearing about Imus as I am, but I think the points below may shed a slightly different light on the subject.

First, why are we surprised that “the I Man” insulted a group? That’s what shock jocks do! If you put someone like him on the air, that’s what you get. I think that kind of “entertainment” is degrading and appeals to our baser instincts. While I’m not an exponent of censorship, I do believe there should be some controls on what goes out over the public airways.

Second, he crossed a blurry and ill-defined line. He obviously didn’t get the memo that said there even is a line, let alone that he wasn’t allowed to cross it. Imus and Howard Stern have been getting away for years with insulting everybody, so what makes this different? See my fourth point below for the answer to that question. I don’t listen to those guys, but I suspect both have said a lot worse about all kinds of people and groups. I suspect he thought that because he used a term that is also used by African Americans to describe women, that it as OK – he was being “one of them.” Not so, Don.

Third, why was this bigoted and intolerant insult worse than similar hateful things said by the likes of Rosie O’Donnell against Christians and others who disagree with her? It’s because Christians aren’t politically correct, so we are fair game for bigots such as Rosie. Talk about a double standard. Rosie is free to criticize those who disagree with her, of course, but not in hateful, bigoted ways. A civilized discourse is better than name-calling.

We also have another double standard that is thankfully now being addressed because of this incident, and that is the fact that African-Americans use the “N-word” and other uncomplimentary terms themselves. I hope the use of these kinds of words will stop being used everywhere by everyone.

Fourth, why was this particular comment such a big deal when Imus and Stern have probably said worse in the past? I read somewhere that a “liberal” watchdog group had been monitoring the Imus show because he tends to have “conservative” guests. When they heard this terrible comment of his, I read that they went on the Internet and publicized this outrage. I presume they saw this as an opportunity to bring Imus down, and that’s exactly what happened. I can’t verify this account because I don’t remember where I read it, but if this is true, I thank them for getting this disgusting shock jock off the air. One small step towards a more civilized society, and hopefully one big step for cleaning up the public airwaves.

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