Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MSNBC Fires Don Imus

The decision was just announced (gleefully, I might add) by Tucker Carlson on MSNBC.

BTW, Imus once called Tucker Carlson "a bowtie-wearing pussy," which is probably why Carlson seems so happy about the decision.

Right now Carlson is lecturing his audience how Imus had been personally cruel to people weaker than himself for years and had gotten away with it.

Let me remind my gentle readers that Tucker Carlson (a former bowtie-wearing asshole if ever there was one) had a video store clerk fired from his job because he blogged about some nasty things Carlson allegedly did at the store.

Nothing like one media asshole gleefully reading the obituary of another media asshole.

Between the two, Don Imus, for all his faults, is the better person. Thursday and Friday of this week, Imus was scheduled to hold his annual radiothon for SIDS and the Tomorrow's Children's Fund. Thursday and Friday of this week, Tucker Carlson will be wanking in public on his tee vee program.

POSTSCRIPT: There is so much hypocrisy surrounding this story that I'm starting to feel like Imus is getting a raw deal. Forget Carlson lecturing Imus about civility. How about Al Sharpton, the man who helped falsely accuse a white police officer of rape, and Jessie Jackson, the man who called New York "Hymietown," leading the charge for Don Imus to be fired for calling the Rutgers Women's basketball team "nappy-headed hoes"? How come people still take Jackson seriously? And did Al Sharpton ever apologize for helping to ruin a man's life?


The hypocrisy from both Imus' defenders (which I dealt with here) and his detractors is maddening.

UPDATE: Now the founder of Black Entertainment Television is on Hardball lecturing about why Imus had to go because he has coarsened the culture.

I would like to note that BET shows a load of misogynistic crap like "Ballers," "Spring Bling,"
"College Hill," and hip-hop videos with nearly nude women being called "bitches and hoes" by the rappers.

BTW, "Spring Bling" is billed on BET as "the hottest show where everyone is bootylicious and not afraid drop pop-and-lock it!"

And the guy from BET is lecturing us about how Imus has coarsened the culture?


SECOND UPDATE: And what about the racists on the right?

Rush Limbaugh called Barack Obama a "halfrican."

Neal Boortz called Cynthia McKinney a "ghetto slut."

And yet, neither of those men have been taken off the airwaves.

And then of course there was Mel Gibson blaming his DWI arrest on "Jews" and railing about how "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world..."

Yet Gibson's movie Apocalypto was still released by Disney.

But Imus is gone for calling the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team "nappy-headed hoes."

Strange how the outrage is so selective.

"a former bowtie-wearing asshole if ever there was one" Has he stopped wearing bow ties, or stopped being an arsehole?
Great story :)
It is strange the outrage is so selective. I heard Imus say things like that years ago, and it turned me off sufficiently that I stopped listening to him. At some point, I just didn't find him amusing anymore.

Honestly, though, that's exactly the kind of crap I'd expect him to say. I was surprised to hear they dumped the show, as I read in the Times today it's gonna cost them buckets of bucks--though if the advertisers had been jumping ship, as they seem to have been, it may have been a less principled decision than what they wish to portray.

Gibson is slime, but his films turn an impressive profit.
He stopped wearing bow-ties, cartledge. But he's still an arsehole!
reality, you wrote:

"How about Al Sharpton, the man who helped falsely accuse a white police officer of rape..."

The more significant accusation was claiming Steven Pagones, the assistant district attorney in Fishkill, I believe, raped
Tawana Brawley. The entire story of five or six white guys raping Tawana was a lie.

Pagones filed a defamation suit against Sharpton and won. The court awarded him $68,000. But Sharpton didn't pay the money.

Percy Sutton paid the bill. Sutton, if you don't know, is black and owns a radio station, WBLS, I think. He once owned the Apollo Theater. But he let the building fall apart and it was taken from him by his creditors.

What's the lesson learned? That blacks can make any insane statements about whites and the black community will stand behind them.

Sharpton doesn't stop with urging civil disobedience. He's responsible for six or eight murders. About 10 years ago he urged blacks in Harlem to drive out Freddy of Freddy's Fashion Mart over lease problem. He urged his followers to drive out "the Jew", the "white interloper" from his store on 125th St.

One of Sharpton's black followers did his best to get Freddy off the block. This madman brought a gun and gasoline to the rally, splashed the gas around Freddy's store, then started shooting the employees. He killed six or eight of them. All were black and hispanic. Sharpton incited murder. Yet the black community thinks he's a fine fellow.
I agree Imus' schtick wasn't all that funny, nyc. I've listened off and on for 27 years. For a while in the 90's I was a regular listener. But the racist, sexist, and humiliation humor was a drag, so I stopped listening. Then when I got cable, I started watching the simulcast on MSNBC. My girlfriend would watch too. We both had similar reactions. The "comedy" stuff was abhorrent, the political stuff usually pretty good. He was involved in many causes - including SIDS, the Tomorrow's Children's Fund for kids with cancer, environmental causes, helping wounded vets, drug and alcohol addiction causes - as such, I always felt like Imus had some redeeming values that other shock jocks like Howard Stern or other media demons like Limbaugh and O'Reilly don't really have.
N-S, What about Mel Gibson claiming "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world"?

What about Rush Limbaugh calling Obama and Halle Berry "halfricans"?

What about Neal Boortz calling Cynthia McKinney a ghetto slut"?

Seems like an awful lot of right wing white people can get away with saying nearly anything in public without having to pay a price for it.

I'll agree with you that Sharpton and Jackson are hypocrites. Same goes w/ the clown from BET. But there's an awful lot of hypocrisy to go around on this story on all sides.
rbe, thanks for this honest and thoughtful post. This Imus thing is a pretty complex matter, and you're one of the few who've treated it as such.
Thanks for the kind words, abi. The coverage of the story has driven me crazy. I hate listening to sanctimonious assholes lecture me about civility or coarseness in the culture when they themselves are lacking in civility and/or have made millions by adding to the coarseness of the culture.
reality, the following is a little history about the song that won the Oscar for Best Song in 2006

"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is a 2005 song written for the film Hustle & Flow by Memphis hip hop artists Paul Beauregard and Jordan Houston (both from rap group Three 6 Mafia), and Cedric Coleman.

It was performed in the film by stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Three 6 Mafia included their own version of the song with vocalist Paula Campbell on a 2006 special edition reissue of their platinum album Most Known Unknown.

At the 78th Annual Academy Awards on March 5, 2006, Beauregard, Houston, Coleman, and Henson performed the song shortly before it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Howard did not wish to perform at the ceremony, and since two of the song's writers are in the Three 6 Mafia, they were given the opportunity to perform it. In the live performance, the word "bitches" was replaced by "witches" in the song's chorus.

Three 6 Mafia made history as they became the first African-American hip-hop group to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song and also became the first hip-hop artists to ever perform at the ceremony.

Djay f/ Shug - It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp Lyrics

You know it's hard out here for a pimp (you ain't knowin)

When he tryin to get this money for the rent (you ain't knowin)

For the Cadillacs and gas money spent (you ain't knowin)

[1] Because a whole lot of bitches talkin shit (you ain't knowin)

[2] Will have a whole lot of bitches talkin shit (you ain't knowin)

In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs in the streets

Gotta couple hoes workin on the changes for me

But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night

Like takin from a ho don't know no better, I know that ain't right

Done seen people killed, done seen people deal

Done seen people live in poverty with no meals

It's fucked up where I live, but that's just how it is

It might be new to you, but it's been like this for years

It's blood sweat and tears when it come down to this shit

I'm tryin to get rich 'fore I leave up out this bitch

I'm tryin to have thangs but it's hard fo' a pimp

But I'm prayin and I'm hopin to God I don't slip, yeah


Man it seems like I'm duckin dodgin bullets everyday

Niggaz hatin on me cause I got, hoes on the tray

But I gotta stay paid, gotta stay above water

Couldn't keep up with my hoes, that's when shit got harder
North Memphis where I'm from, I'm 7th Street bound

Where niggaz all the time end up lost and never found

Man these girls think we prove thangs, leave a big head

They come hopin every night, they don't end up bein dead

Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too

You pay the right price and they'll both do you

That's the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin

Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah
reality, you asked:

"What about Neal Boortz calling Cynthia McKinney a ghetto slut"?"

She got off easy. By the way, I've NEVER listened to him. I only know of him by reputation.

About Boortz:

Neal Boortz controversies:

Boortz, as a self-proclaimed radical and independent "entertainer", has dealt with many controversial issues over the years.

For example, Boortz believes that ADD and ADHD are "medical frauds" and a scam that teachers, parents, and drug companies use. Boortz has also received criticism because he refers to homeless people as "urban outdoorsmen".

Boortz controversially refers to public education as "tax payer funded child abuse" and accuses parents of child abuse for sending their children off to government schools.

Boortz expresses that he is an equal opportunity offender and has made controversial statements about Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Ted Kennedy, former Senator Max Cleland, former Representative Cynthia McKinney.

He has also expressed a negative opinion about the lack of Muslim outrage at terrorism by Muslims and the riots that erupted in response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

Boortz has even sparred with Bill O'Reilly, compelling O'Reilly to call him a "vicious SOB" on The O'Reilly Factor.

Boortz has made controversial statements about Muslim extremists, leading to thought and discussions of the alleged silence of the Muslim community over the alleged hijacking of their religion.

At the height of the Terri Schiavo controversy, Boortz strongly criticized groups that fought against the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube.
reality, you asked:

"N-S, What about Mel Gibson claiming "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world"?"

Where are you going with your argument? The facts here are plain and simple. After "Passion of the Christ" and the outbursts from Gibson's insane father about Holocaust denial, it was hardly a shock when the world learned Mel is an anti-Semite.

What of it? He's an actor and movie producer. He's money. Big money. That over-rides all other issues. His fans will see his movies unless he commits a crime of unspeakable horror. Anti-Semitism isn't going to keep his fans away.

Meanwhile, though Imus brings in some bucks, the revenue he generates is spare change compared with Gibson. Lots of money will always blind supposedly higher-minded leaders.

Moreover, as a movie producer who puts up his own money for projects -- Passion of the Christ -- he's free to act however he wants. No one has power over him except his audience. But the huge success of Passion suggests he's got no problems there.

I did not see that movie. Nor would I bother. I like his early stuff, the Road Warrior movies. But because most of his later movies held no interest for me, I didn't see them. Because I haven't seen his work for quite a few years, it means little if I declare I'll boycott all of his future work. It's not likely I would have bothered with his pending output anyway.

You asked:

"What about Rush Limbaugh calling Obama and Halle Berry "halfricans"?"

What of it? His comments may possess the undertone of an insult, but, unlike Imus' "ho" comment, his crack is based on a simple fact. These two are of racially mixed parentage.

By the way, I don't listen to Limbaugh. Gasbags are gasbags. I might share some views with Limbaugh, but that's not sufficient to make a listener of me.

Frankly, I'd like to know how Obama and Berry feel about their mixed heritage. It's not something to which they are oblivious.

Obama's parentage is further complicated by its muslim links.

Meanwhile, last year over here in Brooklyn the race for the 11th Congressional district seat included the son of Major Owens -- Chris Owens. The election campaign was run and won entirely on the basis of the race of the candidates.

It was not lost on voters that Major Owens is black and his wife is white and Jewish. He was trounced by Yvette Clarke, who lied about graduating from college. Seems she forgot she hadn't graduated.
Just to throw my hat in as well, you have really taken this issue apart in a way that I haven't seen elsewhere. You got me thinking about it on the previous post on the subject, and now you have really driven home the point.

Really, really good post.
When this controversy first broke, I heard some people say, "white men don't get it."
I thought--no, that's wrong, some of them get it!
Now I'm thinking "white men don't get it."

"But he did it too" is the worse excuse in the world. Fire them all. Fire Limbaugh, fire Boortz. Al Sharpton's behavior over the years has been reprehensible. But none of that makes what Imus did ok.

Silly terms like "hymie" and "halfrican" are demeaning but nowhere near as bad as deriding a young woman as a whore when she's in the middle of a genuine achievement that is as far away from being a whore as one can get.

White men don't get it.
n_s, I agree that Gibson's ability to bring home the money keeps him viable even though he's a freaking anti-Semitic nut case.

And that rap lyric you quote is exactly what I'm talking about regarding BET. I don't mind that Imus gets fired for calling the Rutgers women "nappy-headed hos," but I do mind when some sanctimonious hypocrite like the BET guy piles on while at the same time promoting rap groups that call black women "bitches and hos."

The hypocrisy drives me crazy. If we're going to have a discussion about race and slurs, let's really have the discussion. So far, I have heard a lot of platitudes about the controversy that under closer examination seem like crap. And that's true of both Imus's defenders and his detractors.
PT, thanks for the kind words.
I assume you're saying I don't get it.

You're wrong. I get it.

What Imus and McGuirk said was horrendous. He should have been fired. I never said he shouldn't be fired and for you to suggest that I did is erroneous.

As the Imus controversy snowballed, I decided to use it to take a look at some of the people piling on and noticed that very few of them are without sin.

That was the point of this post. I think it was important to point that out. Race discussions and gender discussions in this country are so often imbued with platitudes and hypocrisy - I was trying to break through that.

In a previous post, btw, I looked at all of Imus defenders and pointed out that Imus and crew have been engaging for years in racist, sexist and humiliation humor that was as offensive as anything said the last week. For those defenders (like Russert, like Fineman, like Alter) to suddenly make believe they are shocked that that kind of language was being used on the program was hypocritical. You should check out that post too.

And one more thing: If you don't think "hymie" is as bad a slur as "nappy-headed ho," then I fear you don't get it.

Anti-semitic language like "hymie" is not "silly". It's offensive. If you're not sensitive enough to see that, then how are you any different from Imus or any of his defenders?
Very good analysis
There's a big difference between what Jessie Jackson said and what Don Imus said, and by saying that, I'm not saying that what Jackson said wasn't wrong or anti-semitic. What Jackson used was an ethnic slur. But the statement he was making using the ethnic slur basically meant "New York is full of Jews." Actually New York is full of Jews. That happens to be a true statement. Saying that the Rutgers women's basketball team was composed of whores was not a true statement, it was a lie. Whereas Jackson's comment was an ethnic slur, Imus's comment was a lie and libelous. There is a difference. Legally speaking it is a crucial difference.
Moreover, the implication of what Imus and McGuirk said was that the reason the women played basketball so well was because they were street whores and therefore tougher than their opponents. This totally demeans and degrades the accomplishment of the athletes who are good at what they do because of hours of practice and determination and sacrifice. Jesse Jackson didn't say "Jews have money because they rip people off." That would have been a lot worse than what he did say.
I'm half-Jewish by the way. If someone called me "jewish bitch" I would say "I'll take that as a compliment" since sometimes you have to be a bitch. If someone called me "hymie bitch" I would just laugh because who even says that anymore? But if someone told me I got a job because I slept with the boss that would be a serious accusation demeaning my talents.

I hope that's clear.
I'm not sure we can actually create a reliable measurement of ethnic/racial/sexist slurs and have everybody agree.

I understand WHY you are saying "nappy-headed hos" is a more demeaning slur than "hymie".

That said, I'm not sure I agree with you. You say you find the one slur more offensive than the other. Fine. I know other people who find "hymie" as offensive as any other slur. Does that mean you are right and they are wrong? I don't think so.

Look, the entire conversation on the Imus program was completely offensive and the whole crew should have been fired. They were fired. As I wrote in an earlier post, I thought Imus and crew should have been hammered for the shit they've been saying for years and the hypocrisy of some of the media figures defending Imus was driving me crazy. On the other hand, the hypocrisy of the president of BET is also offensive. BET plays videos with rappers singing about "popping bitches" and "hitting hoes". How does the BET prez slam Imus over his offensive language while playing videos that use the exact same language? Is it okay because the BET network is owned by black people and the rappers are black? Maybe it would be okay if the BET guy kept his mouth shut...but for him to come on TV and lecture us about the use of the phrase "nappy-headed hoes" while playing videos by rappers who use the exact same language is absolutely hypocritical and undercuts any point he has.
reality, I'm willing to bet that every woman on the Rutgers basketball team has an iPod jammed with rap tunes and boxes of rap and hip-hop CDs. I'll bet they've all attended rap concerts and that some of those concerts were even staged at Rutgers.

In other words, in every aspect of the lives of these women there is acceptance of the black rap ethos of degradation, the thug life, and misogyny.

Moreover, based on reading the transcripts of the Imus show, the talk about the women started with an observation about their multiple tattoos.

Tattoos are common. But multiple tattoos are something else, especially on women. What does the presence of multiple tattoos mean?

Do the women have gang connections? Did they ever have gang connections? Do any of the tattoos mark them as the "property" of some thug boyfriend?

Now that they are in the limelight for more than their basketball skills, I want to know all about them.

What were their SAT scores?

How are they doing in school?

What are their majors?

Are any of them single mothers?

Their coach described them as "the best America has to offer." That's quite a claim. I'd like to make that call myself. But I can't unless I know more about them.

Meanwhile, black leadership is a collection of people who lie and lie and lie about black/white issues. Imus is not a one-trick pony. His show is varied. His guests are from every segment of society. His personal commentary ranges from interesting and funny to rude, insulting and demeaning.

On the other hand, virtually all black rappers perform only ONE act -- an act of disparagment, ridicule and debasement aimed at blacks, too often aimed specifically at black women.

The defenders of Imus note the breadth of his on-air activities. The fact that most of his topics and discussions don't include mention of black women contrasts sharply with black rappers who rap about little else.

Nevertheless, despite the obsession black rappers have with degrading blacks, you can count on black leaders to prove every day they are completely ineffectual and totally ineffective against the rising tide of slime coming from black "artists."
rbe, it looks like you've got your very own Don Imus commenting on this blog:

"reality, I'm willing to bet that every woman on the Rutgers basketball team has an iPod jammed with rap tunes and boxes of rap and hip-hop CDs."

Of course all black people listen to the same music. The same way all white people listen to the same music.

"In other words, in every aspect of the lives of these women there is acceptance of the black rap ethos of degradation, the thug life, and misogyny."

From what they said at the press conference, the exact opposite is true.

"Tattoos are common. But multiple tattoos are something else, especially on women."

Tattoos on women! What next--they'll give up their corsets? Start wearing trousers??

"Do the women have gang connections? Did they ever have gang connections? Do any of the tattoos mark them as the "property" of some thug boyfriend?"

Most people who have tattoos have them for other reasons than "gang" connections. I'm wondering if this cretin thinks that every man who has a woman's name tattooed on his arm is the "property" of some woman. Of course not, because only women are property.

"Meanwhile, black leadership is a collection of people who lie and lie and lie about black/white issues."

All those black leaders do is complain about racism, which we all know is a fiction created to malign white people!

rbe, why did you start comment moderation? I mean if you're going to let this guy post here, what is off limits?
Elizabeth, I instituted comment moderation to put a stop to insults and name-calling aimed at other commentators.

I am happy to say that I have not had to reject any comments made since I instituted moderation - not one.

While you may not like what no_slappz says, as long as he is making points and not name-calling or insulting other commentators, he is entitled to have his comments posted here. As are you, I might add. Or me, for that matter.

I am trying to hold all of us to the same standards of discourse. I may not being doing it perfectly, but I would rather try then let the whole thing degenerate into an ad hominem free-for-all.

I will continue to monitor the comment situation, but as of now, that's my policy.
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