A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm shocked-- SHOCKED! to find ignorant comments being made on the radio!

So everyone seems stunned by Don Imus' stupid and insulting remarks about the Rutgers University Ladies' basketball team.

Hmm. What else do you expect in the medium of talk radio, where the only way to get attention is through continuously pushing the envelope of outrageous behavior? How can anyone be seriously surprised by the inane ramblings spewed by these moronic talking heads? If you choose to listen to these fools at all, then you can't be surprised by what they say, since this is hardly the first time this guy and his little doofus sidekick have said something deeply offensive. What is far more interesting to me is why these two cretins are so terrified of women who are obviously capable as athletes as well as students. And of course, the only response is to imply that they are sluts-- and ugly sluts, to boot. Flavor this verbal vomit with more than a soupcon on racism, and you've got a ratings winner on your hands. How typical. But not shocking, certainly.

And don't even start me about the lyrics of music that is shrieked into the tender eardrums of our kids.

Blame these two imbeciles, certainly-- and every advertiser who supports their juvenile braying and every mouthbreather who gives an ear to their schtick and keeps them swimming in endorsements.

But our society encourages this kind of outrageous behavior. We don't demonstrate the attention span or the manners to discuss things civilly or deeply. We are the People of the Sound Bite. And God help us, the last thing we want to do is to be expected to think or engage in civil discourse about topics of interest or controversy. We see the same thing in some corners of the blogosphere, in people who do nothing but tear down and belittle others. The argot of talk radio revolves around diminishing others, not engaging them; in belittling accomplishment, not celebrating achievement; in assuming a stance of moral superiority while utilizing the vocabulary of a guttersnipe.

So condemn the inarticulate ramblings of Don Imus, absolutely. But until we are willing to stop giving our attention to those of his ilk, we can't act surprised.

And so now it's been announced that Imus has been fired -- right in the middle of his radiothon, too. Here's an interesting snippet from a story about his firing:
Bryan Monroe, president of the National Association of Black Journalists and vice president and editor director of Ebony and Jet magazines, met with Moonves on Wednesday. It seemed clear Moonves and his aides were struggling with a difficult decision, he said. He urged them to take advantage of an opportunity to take a stand against the coarsening of culture.

"Something happened in the last week around America," Monroe said. "It's not just what the radio host did. America said enough is enough. America said we don't want this kind of conversation, we don't want this kind of vitriol, especially with teenagers."

I'd love to think that this is what Imus' firing means, but I am not so sure. I imagine he will land on his feet somewhere. And I am certain that we will still hear ignorant, racist, sexist, hateful verbiage on the radio.

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At 4/12/07, 6:02 PM, Anonymous mrschili said...

This is SUCH an interesting thing to witness. I feel fortunate that Imus decided to drop another of his little bombs when he did (because we all know this isn't his first) because I'm JUST starting conversations with my Public Speaking classes about diversity and tolerance and ethics in the public forum. Our classes next week will focus on the First Amendment and the freedom of speech, and the drama unfolding around this shock jock will provide me with a lot of great material.

What I find interesting in all of this is the fact that these people DO get listened to - a lot. While I choose not to engage that kind of discourse, a lot of my students do - or their parents do - and I find it interesting that one of my most promising students stood up for Imus by saying that he didn't MEAN what he said about the Rutgers team, he was just being sensational. What saddens (and frightens) me is that not only is this behavior somehow made less offensive because he was "just being sensational," but also that advertisers fall over each other trying to get ad spots on shows like these. If we REALLY want to send a message to imbiciles like Imus, we should yank our money from their sponsorship and let them know, on no uncertain terms, that we won't patronize their companies if they continue to pour money into that kind of media.

At 4/12/07, 6:46 PM, Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

I don't listen to stuff like that and don't feel that I support it in any way, so I feel entitled to say that I'm glad they fired him.

And if Bryan Monroe can make the same statement, good for him. I'd like to know what he has done about "this level of vitriol" which, as everyone knows, is everyday fare on radio stations that play rap.

At 4/12/07, 7:18 PM, Blogger Coach Brown said...

I do listen to Imus. His comments about the Rutgers team were wrong and offensive.


The hypocricy is sick. South Park, Chapelle, Borat, hell...Mel Brooks movies, much of this is considered comedy that pokes fun at people or situations. So he went after the wrong people, fine. Turn him off.

But they didn't do that. No, a group of people led by Al Sharpton, of all people, created a dark day by dictating what was and was not free speech. You don't have to like it. You can consider it offensive. And you can now enjoy the can of worms that set race relations, and the ideals of free speech, backwards.

At 4/12/07, 7:36 PM, Blogger Ms. Q said...

So when are we going to ban the Hip-Hop and Rap songs so eloquently rehasing the exact same information over and over and over again????

At 4/12/07, 7:37 PM, Blogger Ms. Q said...

**Sorry, I hit the wrong button and didn't get this in...

How hypocritical of society to ban one without the other.

At 4/12/07, 9:47 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Yes, to me Sharpton and hip-hop and Imus are all part of the same problem. That is my point.

Imus wasn't the first guy to spout insane crap. He won't be the last.

At 4/12/07, 10:45 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

Well, class, let's review, shall we? On a scale of one to ten in shock value, compared to the most offensive insults you have ever heard or can possibly imagine, where does "nappy headed ho" fall? What's that Bobby" What does "nappy" mean?
"No, I don't think it means they're sleepy, Mary, and...what's that Susan? Why are they talking about gardening implements? No, they're talking about...what Tommy? Well, no, those aren't really very strong swear words, are they?

OK, this really isn't working very well. Now when Don Imus said those words...Yes Bobby? What now? Who is Don Imus? He's a shock jock in...No, he's not an electric athletic supporter Mary, now stop laughing, class! This is serious! I mean it! Wouldn't you be offended if someone called you what Don Imus said...No Timmy, he's a radio announcer. He has a morning show...You've never heard of him? Has anyone in the class ever heard of Don Imus? None of you?

Well, that's surprising...What's that Sharon? Why should anyone care what someone most people have never heard of says about people he doesn't even know and has never met who don't even live in the same state? Well, that's an interesting point, Sharon...Tommy! What do you mean they should just call him a poopy head back and forget about it?! Why if people called people like Don Imus poopy heads and just forgot about him, then they'd...they'd...and he would...Does anyone know who Al Sharpton is? No? Jesse Jackson? None of you?

Well, let's turn to page 16 in our texts and get back to that equation we were discussing last time. Yes Tommy? Yes. Don eyemat--no dear, that's Imus, Imus, i-m-u-s. Yes, that's it. He is a poopy head, and no one should listen to him or be upset by anything he says. OK, OK, you can stop applauding now. Let's go back to page 16...

At 4/13/07, 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, Coach Brown, you might want to re-think that "dark day" metaphor ... you know - under the circumstances and all.

At 4/14/07, 3:41 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

I do find Imus offensive, actually. I turned him off 20 years ago, and I don't care where he lands--I'm not gonna listen.

Sharpton can be offensive, but he can be sharp and funny too. When Rudy Giuliani was being fitted for a halo he said Bozo the Clown could have done what Rudy did. I admit to liking him better than Imus, but I don't actually listen to him either.

The point of Imus being fired is not about free speech. He's free to speak. He's just not free to a national radio and TV show on which to speak.

And this whole thing is not about free speech, or who gets to decide who says what. It's about advertisers jumping ship. The decision to dump Imus was purely economic. It did not appear that he was gonna continue pulling in that revenue.

You want to hear something really offensive? Here's what Pat Robertson said about gay days at Disney World:

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate -- this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor."

At 4/14/07, 3:45 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Bob Herbert wrote in the Times that a particularly damning piece about Imus would run on 60 minutes, and that his previous comment would look tame in comparison to what will come out.

This could also have strongly influenced CBS dumping him.

At 4/15/07, 6:09 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

I wish people would shut up about Imus already. I'd never heard of him prior to this recent spectacle, and neither had a lot of people. To continue giving him air time, even negative airtime is like putting him on the map.

Did Ann Coulter suffer any kind of consequence for calling John Edwards a faggot?

Just wondering.


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