Imus-t say,(that probably qualifies as the lamest thing I have ever written) that I’m not really feeling the sense of outrage that everyone else seems to be feeling about this whole thing. I have listened to maybe three minutes of Imus in my entire life. I’m not a fan and I know very little about him or his show, but judging from this transcript (via Eschaton) his remarks just don’t seem that incendiary to me. With the possible exception of using the word “Jigaboos” (although it wasn’t Imus who said it, and it was in reference to a Spike Lee joint) there’s nothing all that salacious going on here. Is “nappy headed Hos” really that offensive? I mean it’s not dinner party conversation, but in the realm of talk radio that barely scratches the surface of offensive speech that Howard Stern and others clawed into the meaty bowels of even before he moved to satellite. So why is Imus being suspended and having to abase himself before Sharpton and the American public? Is it because he is an unfunny blow hard?
I think not. He is popular with advertisers, and as torturous as I find him, he has a following. I’m not gonna come at this from a Free Speech angle, since his bosses are as free to take him off the air as he was to make his dickish remarks. He’s not being shut down, he’s just being attacked. And these attacks fall well within the spectrum of free speech, hence the beauty of the system. And I’m not defending his statements because they were in poor taste, but because they are milder than what gets said elsewhere on a daily basis. If he really wants to push the envelope and keep a running commentary on the relative ho-ishness of multiple female sports teams he is free to take his show elsewhere. The fact that he seems contrite and willingly accepting his suspension suggests that he won’t. And the fact that he apparently gets big time politicians on his show is a strong incentive for him to make his show palatable to enough people so that he can continue to book guests like John McCain.
But the heart of the issue here is not whether he will reign in his antiquated quasi-racist remarks, but on whether he will stop wearing that stupid cowboy hat.