The whole Don Imus thing…

I’ve never been a big fan of Don Imus and so I’m not particularly upset that he’s lost his job over a particularly stupid remark in a career that had a long line of particularly stupid remarks, but it does make me wonder how it is that people like Rush Limbaugh manage to hold onto their jobs considering some of the bigoted and racist things he’s said.

Best I can figure is that Imus made the mistake of making his comment on a group of black women whereas Rush tends to focus on gays, liberals, democrats, and atheists. Remember kids: Being a bigot is OK so long as you limit it to certain groups of people.

72 thoughts on “The whole Don Imus thing…

  1. Didn’t that piece of crap Limbaugh get kicked off Monday Night Football years ago for making racist comments?  Not that he should get a pass for the other crap he spews either.

  2. I don’t know what to make of this situation. On the one hand, Imus issues what appears to be a fairly contrite apology for his patently offensive remarks and he still gets fired. Ann Coulter spews forth patently offensive remarks every time she opens her mouth or sits in front of a keyboard. I have yet to see her sincerely apologize for anything she’s ever written or said, but that doesn’t stop her from continuing to be invited to official Republican symposia again and again. Many rap artists get away with objectifying women and maligning homosexuals all the time, yet they by and large remain immensely popular. What are our standards for offensiveness? Why do some people get away with outrageousness while others don’t?

    One could ostensibly argue that, in Imus’ case, the misogyny of his comments were heightened by their equally racist nature, which would only make them that much more outrageous. I’ve seen several people put forward this explanation, but it does not explain why the likes of Coulter and Rush Limbaugh get away with equally offensive diatribes again and again. Which brings me to Les’ burlesque observation:

    Remember kids: Being a bigot is OK so long as you limit it to certain groups of people.

    I’m afraid that this really might explain such incongruities.

  3. Imus got nailed because of his target. It wasn’t a general comment, it wasn’t about an entire race, religion or creed, it was about a very specific group of young girls.

    If he said something like “everytime I go into a bar I see a bunch of nappy headed hos” this wouldn’t have happened, because there wouldn’t be specific targets to be offended.

  4. What are our standards for offensiveness? Why do some people get away with outrageousness while others don’t?

    Captialism.

    Imus wasn’t fired for his remarks; far from it.  He might have lost his MSNBC simulcast for them; however, he lost his radio show because the advertisers were pulling out.  Money drove this decision.  Yes, the advertisers were pulling out because of his remarks, or the pressures placed upon them that stemmed from said remarks.  If they hadn’t pulled out/threatened to pull out, though, he’d still be on the air.

    Coulter’s not beholden to advertisers, as I understand it… she’s an author, and might have a syndicated column somewhere.  She’s not dependent on an advertiser’s money to keep going, like Imus and his home radio station.

    Les:  If Liberals, Democrats, and Atheists were considered a race and an ethnicity, Limbaugh might well be off the air.  But look at something:  Why are most blogs around, as they say horrid things about Liberals, Atheists, and Democrats all the time?  Or the flip side, this site and others, which are equally derogatory toward Republicans, Conservatives, and Christians?  Even if any of the aforementioned groups were a race, ethnicity, etc, it’s mostly because you can afford to keep the blog on the intertubes.

  5. I appreciate your observations Sexy Sadie.  Unfortunately I think KPG and ben have nearly hit the nail on the head.  As my Ethnic Studies prof made us chant, “Power + Prejudice = Comprehensive Racism.”

  6. What are our standards for offensiveness? Why do some people get away with outrageousness while others don’t?

    Social standards have always been ephemeral. That’s what you get when there are 6 billion valid points of view.

  7. I had to look up nappy hair.
    I saw the Imus story in the SMH yesterday – I’m surprised there’s more today.
    I have to admit that nappy-hair isn’t an expression used in Oz as our ‘nappy’ equates to your ‘diaper’ – so you see diaper-haired didn’t mean a lot.
    However, I’ve never quite come to terms with the overt misogynists’ use in US Kultcha of calling a woman a whore – I’m much more familiar with slut or bitch; as in, a slut is a woman who will sleep with anyone – a bitch is a woman who won’t sleep with me.

    Is the ‘man is head of the house’ xian mentality in any way the cause of it?
    What happened to the feminist movement?
    Why are women putting up with that crap?

    As Ben said, if the advertisers hadn’t used their money focused brains Imus’d still be doing whatever it is that he does.

  8. Is the ‘man is head of the house’ xian mentality in any way the cause of it?

    I’m sure it in no way helps, although many cultures have tendencies to view women as objects and refer to them in derogatory sexual terms.

    What happened to the feminist movement?

    I assume you’re talking about the U.S. It’s been relatively successful in a number of ways here. On the other hand, there seems to be a recent resurgence both in encouraging among young men wariness of intelligent, independent women and in praising vapidness among women (look at the popularity of such figures as Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, and the late Anna Nicole Smith). In certain ways it even seems that the feminist movement has actually become marginalized. In 2007 that is disheartening, to say the very least.

    Why are women putting up with that crap?

    Good question.

  9. KPG: Imus got nailed because of his target. It wasn’t a general comment, it wasn’t about an entire race, religion or creed, it was about a very specific group of young girls.

    Which is ironic because scapegoating a general category is less fair than apportioning blame individually. I think reaction depends on what the people want to hear – the inherent prejudices of the society align with the prejudices of the public figure, there is less penalty – perhaps even greater popularity hence the momentum of the right wing which to me seems the party that attempts to gradually prejudice policy

    E.g. Immigration restrictions – immigrants can be economically friendly, they do take up jobs (+ create some) but in my view we have no more right to work than them because it’s not their fault for being born elsewhere – and it seems creul to deny them work and abode out of selfishness

  10. In certain ways it even seems that the feminist movement has actually become marginalized.

    When a group has a whole bunch of whacky ideas, well, marginalized may be right.  It is marginalized by choice though.

  11. When a group has a whole bunch of whacky ideas, well, marginalized may be right.

    Yeah, gender equality sure is a whacky idea.

    It is marginalized by choice though.

    So in essence you’re blaming us for society’s prejudices? Come on, Consi. You’re letting me down, man!

  12. Thank you for the nappy hair link, Lucky John.
    In a Children’s Literature class, we used that book, and the uproar described in that article, for quite a lengthy discussion.

    I’ll have to say I agree with Ben’s comment above, based on what I’m reading since the Imus ruckus began.  Never heard of him before this.

  13. So in essence you’re blaming us for society’s prejudices?

    No.  I’m saying exactly what I said, expanding modestly on what I did say. 

    There are whacky ideas that deserve to be marginalized.  Some of the whacky ideas that deserve to be marginalized have been articulated by the radical feminists.  This has given feminists a shitty reputation because feminists are notoriously slow to distance themselves from the whackjobs within their ranks.

    An example?  See Stupid Bullshit

  14. Well, Consi, I’m definitely what you’d term a feminist (perhaps even a radical one, depending on one’s definition). That being said, I’m not sure what you’re specifically refering to with this:

    This has given feminists a shitty reputation because feminists are notoriously slow to distance themselves from the whackjobs within their ranks.

    I’m not denying that the feminist movement has its fanatical elements. Every social cause has a lunatic fringe. But your comments here seem to come perilously close to embodying that “broad brush” mentality that you claim many of us SEB regulars harbor. For me, the feminist movement is fundamentally about equality. The message of the article that you linked to was not equality—it was hyperbole and sensationalism (though keep in mind that, at the time it was written, outrageous inequality was still the rule, not the exception). To blame society’s lingering prejudices against women on the more radical elements of a movement geared toward equality is, at best, a gross example of deflection.

    Now excuse me while I go shower and not shave my pits.  snake

  15. I’ve never heard much about what she’s said, so I did a quick search. Seems she’s just as much a racist as Imus.

    The Wisdom of Ann Coulter

    Some nuggets:
    “I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote.”—-Hannity & Colmes, 8/17/99
    Anyone who knows their history knows that these two things were used to keep African Americans away from voting.

    “I think we had enough laws about the turn-of-the-century. We don’t need any more.” Asked how far back would she go to repeal laws, she replied, “Well, before the New Deal…[The Emancipation Proclamation] would be a good start.”—-Politically Incorrect 5/7/97
    Yes, let’s bring back slaves, Ann…

    “Anorexics never have boyfriends. … That’s one way to know you don’t have anorexia, if you have a boyfriend.”—-Politically Incorrect 7/21/97
    This is not a racist comment, but it is aimed at a very SPECIFIC group of people. I don’t know, it may just be me being pissed as an anorexic with a boyfriend…

    “Women like Pamela Harriman and Patricia Duff are basically Anna Nicole Smith from the waist down. Let’s just call it for what it is. They’re whores.”—-Salon.com 11/16/00
    Again, not racist, but specific down to TWO PEOPLE. And of course, it’s okay for a women to call a woman a whore, right?

    I think it really does only have to do with money. It has nothing to do with the specific groups, just Imus’s financial backers pulling out.

  16. Just apologize, Consi, and maybe you won’t lose your sponsors. You’re only digging yourself deeper.

    Have you considered some of the wacky ideas that typical men never even had to articulate? They just accept, without question, that they are superior and deserve special allowances. Feminists tend to have rights directly dependent upon the man who judged them.

  17. Best I can figure is that Imus made the mistake of making his comment on a group of black women whereas Rush tends to focus on gays, liberals, democrats, and atheists. Remember kids: Being a bigot is OK so long as you limit it to certain groups of people.

    Rush did call Halle Berry and Obama “Halfrican Americans”.

  18. Some thoughts on random points:

    1 – The feminist movement (like other movements) has suffered setbacks because of the basic laziness and apathy of human beings. Too many people would prefer to just sit back, be taken care of and not have to think for themselves. It’s an unpleasant truth, but it’s there, and it feeds the stereotypes that the movement is trying to destroy.

    2 – Consi’s point: Every group has fringe elements and the link that he posted is certainly one of them. Many groups are quick to disassociate themselves from those fringe elements. Others stay quiet about their fringes and buy not condemming them appear to be giving them a form of tacit support. An example would be the way PETA refuses to speak out against some of the Animal Liberation terrorist groups within the country. By not speaking out, they appear to be supporting them, and that has colored many peoples opinions of PETA (myself included). I’m not sure if this is an accurate analogy because I’ve never heard of the woman that Consi linked to and I don’t spend a lot of time following the structure and support of feminist organizations.

    3 – I’m finding it a bit unsettling that all the posts I’ve seen on various blogs defending Imus seem to boil down to this person doesn’t get into trouble for what they say, so why should Imus. It’s a kindergarden level arguement covered neatly in the old saying “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    4 – Context is everything. Nobody bothers Chapelle because he’s a comedian doing a skit show on Comedy Central. When we watch it, we expect racially charged humor. It’s not expected on a serious talk show about current events (and I know some will balk at the word serious here, but you get the idea).

  19. Well speed it up a bit, will ya. I ain’t got all day……

    There is a whole shit load of things I WANT to do first.

  20. C’mon, I’m sure they couldn’t be that important. Let it go….

    I don’t know….

    Your mom is pretty important to me….

  21. Anii, Moloch is a hate filled white supremisist. He’s biggotted against damn near everybody, and pretty much the only way I can keep from crawling through the computer lines and actually killing the worthless piece of shit is to jibe him and push his buttons whenever the opportunity arrives. Sorry if that annoys you, but the only one who can get me to back off of Moloch is Les, and I don’t think he minds.

  22. Yes, I’m a racist, bigot, white supremacist, Nazi, who likes to cause trouble.

    Got a problem with that?

    I think Les kind of enjoys the Drama. Do you know how easy it is for him to ban my IP address from his blog? If he genuinely had a problem with me, I can assure you that would have gone many months ago.

  23. I can assure you that would have gone many months ago.

    That should have been “I can assure you that I would have been banned many months ago.”

  24. Yes, I’m a racist, bigot, white supremacist, Nazi, who likes to cause trouble

    No he’s not- he’s a 14 or 15 year old geek with no freinds who wants to play with the big boys.  The only thing that distinguishes him from the drive by fundies that come here is the fact he doesn’t type in capitals/can punctuate etc.

  25. Interesting conversation, especially ben’s remark about Capitalism being the root of the problem.  Imus has been a known commodity over the years, with the occasional flair-up of human imperfection.  In general, he has been slightly “edgy” with that certain old-guy gruffness to him.  Sponsors have flocked to his predictable tripe.
    Now Imus has been presented with the occasion where his edginess will not be tolerated.  He’s no longer “safe” for the mass populace.
    Coulter and Limbaugh have made their careers off of being controversial, so certain sponsors flock to them.  Maybe they will lose their sponsorship if they happen to be accepting of those different than them?  I don’t know, but Imus’ predicament doesn’t really come as a shock to me.
    First rule of Capitalism:  Know your market, so as to sucker them better!

  26. The truth is, Moloch, that you’re not so obnoxious that I’ve felt the need to ban you. You also tend to stick mostly to the topic at hand and there’s a part of me that hopes that your hanging around here will make you a more tolerant person in the long run. But then I’ve admitted previously that even I fall prey to wishful thinking from time to time.

    I try not to censor commenters, especially ones I don’t agree with. I tend only to delete obvious spam or massive copyright violations (cut and paste of an entire article) or people who are obviously trolling.

  27. For me, the feminist movement is fundamentally about equality.

    I would say that I favor equality.  Yet, “equality” seems to always be under redefinition.  There are other examples I could have given that discuss how hetrosexuality for a women is akin to a slave relationship, and like the slave who says she is happy, we should disregard the brainwashed.  Such articles are about equality.  KPG correctly points out the isssues I have with not pointing at the fringe elements and declaring them lunatics.

    But your comments here seem to come perilously close to embodying that “broad brush” mentality that you claim many of us SEB regulars harbor.

    Turnabout ain’t fun.

    Sadie, I’ll let it go, just because it is you. grin

  28. Good question les.

    Bad timing? there really wasnt anything else going on in the news, so they kinda ran with it

  29. Isn’t it “feminism” that’s always under redefinition?

    The form and content of feminism changes as the definition of equality changes.  The definition of equality as de facto equality rather than de jure equality is at the heart of the issue.

  30. Anii, Moloch is a hate filled white supremisist. He’s biggotted against damn near everybody, and pretty much the only way I can keep from crawling through the computer lines and actually killing the worthless piece of shit is to jibe him and push his buttons whenever the opportunity arrives. Sorry if that annoys you, but the only one who can get me to back off of Moloch is Les, and I don’t think he minds.
    That’s all fine and good, I suppose, so if Les doesn’t mind that’s okay. I just know that I would be none-too-pleased myself, so I assumed Les shared my sentiments.

    Though, thinking back on it, he does seem to enjoy fights, ha ha!

  31. LJ: Why are women putting up with that crap?
    Sadie: Good question.

    Because that’s what women see as the means to getting a man.  They see Jessica, Paris, Nicole, and perceive that as the standard they must use to get their man.  On the other hand, you have guys who get “told” that’s the kind of girl they want by the media. 

    Couple of years back, a friend was telling me how she felt like all the blonde, boob-jobbed women at the gym were the ones getting all the guys.  It was one of the last things I expected to come out of the mouth of a VERY pretty, Irish redhaired, green eyed, bounce-a-quarter-off-the-abs 20 year old.  Fucking media hype.  What makes it more ironic to me is that I know a couple of blondes who’ve dyed their hair red at times to stand out.

    “Moloch is a white filled hate supremacist” – or something like that was said.  Nah, I know why he’s tolerated: he’s a damned skillful troll.  He sticks to the topic, and uses just enough troll-fu to needle somebody and yet not get banned.  It’s that intelligence that keeps Les from banning him outright. 
    KPG, I was going to say Moloch’s just pushing your buttons, but that exchange was funny. 

    Les: I tend only to delete obvious spam or massive copyright violations (cut and paste of an entire article)

    Is that why we haven’t seen any more of that from the proselytizers?  Have to put that in the FAQ:  “Do not cut and paste swaths of C.S. Lewis as your own writing.”

  32. Okay, people, this is absolutely driving me crazy. How can so many intelligent, thoughtful people knowlingly and willingly egg on a worthless piece of shit like Moloch? I seem to recall that we all eventually started ignoring Don because it was patently obvious that he had some serious psychological problems. Can’t you all see that the same is true for Moloch? We’re either dealing with a sociopath or a brain-damaged teen with too much time on his hands. Either way, he’s not worth engaging one little bit. If his score of evil comments haven’t made that crystal clear at this point, surely his “your mama” retort up above should tip everyone off. Let me spell it out a little more clearly:

    IGNORE MOLOCH.

    Thank you.

    Whew. Sorry about that, folks, but it had to be said. Consi,

    Sadie, I’ll let it go, just because it is you. 

    Well, I hate to be a killjoy.  wink

    Seriously, though, I think that this is a very important discussion and I’m glad we’ve gotten the chance to have it here. We feminists have a lot of work to do in the twenty-first century, and I believe that our battles begin at the consciousness level.

    Back to the topic at hand, I can’t say I’m particularly heavy-hearted to see Don Imus go. My dad has been a fan in the last several years, and I was puzzled as to what had gotten into him. He said he felt that Imus was “insightful,” leaving me to wonder if dementia was beginning to take hold of Daddy.  confused

  33. bengiman: “there really wasnt anything else going on in the news, so they kinda ran with it”

    Oh, there’s plenty going on but despite the putative “liberal bias” of the MSM, they don’t actually give a rip about anything but their stockholders.  The reason Imus got canned and Rush/Coulter/O’Reilly/etc. don’t is the latter bring in massively higher ratings.

    Feminism doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, except in its most basic form which would better be called humanism – equality under the law for everyone.  As regards women that means =pay =work, do away with blue laws that single out women, do away with the barbaric custom of the woman taking the man’s name in marriage, etc.  Why this is not settled law and custom in our “enlightened” country is a mystery to me.

  34. I just think it is so sad that one of America’s great writers passed away and the coverage of his death (and his accomplishments) is overshadowed by “The Whole Don Imus thing…”

  35. I just think it is so sad that one of America’s great writers passed away and the coverage of his death (and his accomplishments) is overshadowed by “The Whole Don Imus thing…”

    Couldn’t agree more. Po-too-weet!

  36. K.Engels: I just think it is so sad that one of America’s great writers passed away and the coverage of his death (and his accomplishments) is overshadowed by “The Whole Don Imus thing…”

    I think, linking 2 topics of this thread, this is for the same reason as Moloch gets so much attention (and indeed why he uses those methods) – negative publicity is much more potent.

    I’m not sure entirely why – but possibly a general instinct that only negative things are threatening, and hence demand attention. There’s also more to say sometimes, or more need to say something over a negative issue.

  37. Being the occasional commenter that I am I submit this for your approval…I do not agree with even the least of what the rat bastard said… but I have to defend his right to say it because this is still America and until “King G” says it aint so, we have freedom to say what ever evil we may spout without repercutions(sp?). So much for My opinion.

  38. Po-too-weet

    I dislike (I hate the word hate) mysteries, Sadie.
    I know it’s some sort of code but Google’s giving me next to nothing which could enlighten me.
    Of course it sent me to anything to do with Kurt Vonnegut so I Wiki-d him but it bore no Po or even Poo-too-weet although it contained some nice quotes.
    “By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East?” he wrote. “Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.”
    “George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography.”
    ‘Honestly, I wish Nixon were president,’ Vonnegut laments. ‘Bush is so ignorant.’

    At best all I could find was the obscure:

    to paraphrase vonegut—there is really nothing intelligent to say after a massacre, there is only silence…
    only the birds still have something to say: Poo-too-weet..

    So I suppose that was the reference.

  39. Apologies for causing you undue suspense, John. All I will say is, pick up a copy of “Slaughterhouse Five”  and the answer will come to you in a blinding flash.  smile

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