My first thought. Why is Don Imus apologizing? He has done this before. He has done worse before. His popularity is predicated on doing such things. He is a multi-millionaire. He has three homes and lives comfortably. Could he possibly be “sorry” about saying something that is crass and politically incorrect and socially unacceptable when that is the very basis by which he makes direct deposits? Is that actually possible?
In my world, it’s not possible. Imus’ job is to elevate the self-esteem of his target audience by attacking the identity, ideology and being (humanity) of all others. He does this better than most and is paid accordingly. So, an apology for doing precisely that which drives his compensation, his raison d’etre is practically absurd. By apologizing, he recognizes (at least in part), the humanity of that “offended other” and by apologizing, he DESTROYS his PACT with his AUDIENCE.
Simply put, “What sort of REAL WHITE MALE SHOCK JOCK apologizes?” Do you mean that he’s afraid of losing his job? Not likely. Doesn’t need the work. Perhaps he needs the audience…maybe. A psychoanalyst might say that his audience serves as a substitute for his ever-present addiction to cocaine and alcohol and that their mutual connection around white supremacism, sexism and homophobia have insulated them from authentically feeling the insecurity of their loss of station in the world.
Perhaps. It’s a thought.
I mean, how degrading must it be for all the fans of Don Imus to see their hero on Al Sharpton’s show apologizing for going over the line? Indeed, this is a dark day!
This from the Associated Press, via ESPN:
NEW YORK — Don Imus had a hot seat on the other side of the microphone Monday, appearing on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show and enduring more criticism for his offensive comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
Imus issued another apology for referring to members of the team as “nappy-headed hos.” Sharpton called the comments “abominable” and “racist” and repeated his demand that Imus be fired.
“Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far,” Imus said on “The Al Sharpton Show.”
Earlier Monday, on his own radio show, Imus called himself “a good person” who made a bad mistake. [Sounds like Michael Richards.]
“Here’s what I’ve learned: that you can’t make fun of everybody, because some people don’t deserve it,” he said on his show, which is nationally syndicated to millions of listeners. “And because the climate on this program has been what it’s been for 30 years doesn’t mean that it has to be that way for the next five years or whatever because that has to change, and I understand that.” [That’s a helluva thing to say…sounds like George Wallace.]
He pointed to his involvement with the Imus Ranch, a working cattle ranch for children with cancer and blood disorders in New Mexico. Ten percent of the children who come to the ranch are black, he said.
“I’m not a white man who doesn’t know any African-Americans,” he said. [Sounds like somebody we all know. If you’re asking who “we” are, you’ve probably said this.]
Imus said he hoped to meet the Rutgers players and their parents and coaches, and that he was grateful for the appearance on Sharpton’s nationally syndicated show.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I’m not looking for it to be easy,” Imus said.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and about 50 people marched Monday outside Chicago’s NBC tower to protest Imus’ comments, and an NAACP official called for the broadcaster’s ouster.
Imus made the now infamous remark during his show Wednesday.
The Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, had lost the day before in the NCAA women’s championship game. Imus was speaking with producer Bernard McGuirk about the game when the exchange began on “Imus in the Morning.” The show is broadcast on more than 70 stations and MSNBC, which is owned by General Electric Co.’s NBC cable unit
“That’s some rough girls from Rutgers,” Imus said. “Man, they got tattoos … .”
“Some hardcore hos,” McGuirk said.
“That’s some nappy-headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that,” Imus said.
Imus apologized on the air Friday, but his mea culpa has not quieted the uproar.
James E. Harris, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, demanded Sunday that Imus “resign or be terminated immediately.”
Allison Gollust, a spokeswoman for MSNBC, said the network considers Imus’ comments “deplorable” and was reviewing the matter.
Karen Mateo, a spokeswoman for CBS Radio — Imus’ employer and the owner of his New York radio home, WFAN-AM — said the company was “disappointed” in Imus’ actions and characterized his comments as “completely inappropriate.”
Certainly an apology will not suffice. After all, there isn’t a society in the world where punishment for transgressions are nullified by apologies. Parents don’t even do that with children. The transgression has already occurred. So, the sanction must also be handed down. The apology enters the realm of public discourse – as does the transgression and the sanction. All three will share space. In some instances, there is a response from the aggrieved party which also shares the stage.
At this point in Don Imus’ career, a firing is the least that he could reasonably expect.
This transgression is not equivalent to firing hoses at young black girls as Bull Connor did. It’s not equivalent to bombing a church with young black girls inside. It’s not even equivalent to barring young black women from an education as George Wallace did. No, it isn’t any of those things – but it’s a slippery slope along a continuum of contempt. And, by his own admission, Mr. Imus has been sliding down this path for three decades. Now might be a great time for him to retire to his ranch and seek the counsel of some of those “African-Americans” he knows. Though, a word of caution here, if they’ve been unable to advise and influence his behavior thus far, he is perhaps better off ignoring them as well.
Nor is this reaction about men of the cloth like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. If you are the dim-witted white person about to place “blame” for “blowing this out of proportion” on those two, contemplate that the National Association of Black Journalists called for Imus’ ouster before either Reverend was “engaged.” Further, if you are that dumb ass, consider that very few Black folk need a preacher to tell them when they’ve been insulted. If you are that dumb ass, and doubt the veracity of this claim, go out and try it yourself. Any black person will do just fine for Exhibit A. Just run right up and call them a “Nappy-headed ho.” There will be a moment of extreme surprise, but there will be no pause to look or listen for a preacher. After the shock wears off, you can expect to get your ass kicked with some severity. Trust. If you’re not that dumb ass with the “out of proportion” line, skip to the next paragraph or blog, if you prefer.
There can be no doubt that the arid air and pace of desert life will be more forgiving than the families, friends and coalition of the offended of those young black women who were callously disparaged for the sake of a laugh.