No one can fire me.
You can stop reading me if you find me offensive, but that won’t change my life one iota. And besides, if you find me offensive, you are more likely to KEEP reading me. It’s only when I become boring, bland, redundant or any combination thereof that you are likely to stop reading me, and if that were to happen, again, it wouldn’t change my life on iota.
Now contrast that with the cautionary tale of Don Imus. Did he say something offensive? YES. Let’s just get that out of the way and be done with it. Should he be apologizing to those whom he insulted? Absolutely.
But should he have apologized to Al Sharpton? I don’t know…let’s see….if you called Jews cheap, or homosexual men effeminate, say, like they used todo on Will and Grace, should the show’s writers have apologized to the Israel’s leaders and the editor-in-chief of Out Magazine? If you insult a rock star, should you apologize to Sting? If you insult an out-of-control celebutante, should you apologize to Paris Hilton?
To paraphrase Token on South Park, is Al Sharpton the emporer of all black people?
I don’t blame Don Imus for apologizing to the Reverend Al. It seems like the thing to do based on pop cultural imperatives. Or maybe he just watched South Park for guidance but was told by Jesse Jackson’s handlers that the Reverend Jackson’s bare butt was unavailable for a meeting.
Unfortunately, the apology was simply the verbal equivalent of Imus handing his ass over to the Righteous Left for a substantial whuppin’. And now, Imus has been fired. Leslie Moonves, the president of whatever cowardly network Imus had worked for, came to the conclusion that the public outcry against Imus’s action should determine the extent of Imus’s punishment, as opposed to a consideration of Imus’s actual action, his intent, the demographics of his listening audience and the cultural context in which the action was taken. To wit, the cultural backdrop is one in which the hip-hop culture catches a cold and white culture sneezes: white America appears to embrace the use of racially-tinged insults, particularly those manufactured by those belonging to the race in question. As long as there is no violence imperative, it seems to me that it is perfectly acceptable in our culture to poke fun at, well, just about everything. Snark has risen to the level of dialect in this country. In essence, Imus is like a small child whose babysitter has whipped him up into a wild frenzy and then is punished for his continuing wildness when his parents arrive home.
Besides, “ho” has been used so many times to refer to so many women who appear in the mass media, that it is a word that is entirely devoid of teeth. Couple that with “nappy hair”, and it still has no teeth. Haven’t we been there and done that with the nappy hair thing? Who can forget the outcry at the publication of a children’s book that asks black females to embrace their kinky hair. I thought that we were past all that and that Jews were embracing their frizzy curls and black women were embracing their afros.
As Sinead O’Connor once was attacked for saying, “Fight the real enemy.” Enemy, thy name is hypocracy.