It is tough to figure out the bottom line on the Imus spectacle this week. Agendas become fueled when a chance for victory, however specious, raises its head. The Rutgers women’s basketball team is a tough bunch who fought their way right to the end of the tournament, and who are not, I suspect, pushovers. They clearly saw something as the season came along, and became theirs, and could, until that last game, nearly taste the victory. Fate was unkind to them. Yet nothing will diminish their effort. And for Rutgers, to have a great football team, and basketball team in the same season, it’s a richness for Exit 9 of the Turnpike. So when you start to take into account all the shootings from the hip which have taken place in the last 3 days, it becomes difficult to figure out just where Right lives.
Imus, as we all learned from the 1999 TV Correspondents dinner – when he ripped Clinton, Peter Jennings and various other media darlings, New Orifices. People got all bothered for about ten minutes about his crass style, but lets remember that they invited Imus (track record from 1969.. hey folks , No Surprize!) not Dr. Bergen Evans. And it seems that every day Imus manages to annoy someone with some silly ass dictum, myself included. Yet he serves a real purpose in a Media Culture which gives never more than 28 seconds to tell the most complicated and complex stories. No one else will give Kerry/Lieberman/Richardson/Buchanan 15 minutes to actually have a conversation. I truly believe it says much more about the stupidity of our media system that Imus has to be the one venue where a real conversation, albeit, an often kiss-ass one, can take place.
The real issue, I suppose, in light of Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson’s call for his firing, is whether it’s just time for these two gents to scoop up a little more media attention, or do they care about the way black women are portrayed in our cultures. Not culture, but cultures. I'm well aware of that fact that I'm a bit square, though I try not to be, but there are things I just don't GET> If you have cable , just turn on the Uncensored RAP music channel. You will find more anti - black women remarks and descriptions in five minutes of listening, than in a year of Imus. BET, the cable channel runs tons of music vids which are not exactly PTA material. Talk about sending messages to kids? Maybe there are a few other places to start. I would feel less annoyed about Jesse’s rant (did he resign from politics for his Hymie Town remark?) and Reverend Al – who, it must be said, was one of the few clarions of intelligent banter during the 2004 Democratic primary debates – who, as far as I can tell, has never repented for slamming the white cop who he falsely accused in the Tawana Brawley fraud a dozen years ago. I wonder what Tawana’s opinions are on all this.
Five years ago I spent a few days with one of the top college football prospects, a young man of 21 who was about to be drafted into the NFL, given a contract of thirty something million bucks, and who arrived at the NFL hotel in New York with a small but dedicated, and truly amusing, posse. Included in his entourage was his 7 months pregnant girl friend, a beauty he knew from school who was already part of the family. I spent a lot of quality time with this young man, a smart, and thoughtful kid who was about to be drowned in the culture of cool. At one point he took me aside and said to please “don’t take pictures of my girl friend (who was very obviously preggers). I don’t’ want to lose my Ho’s.” My jaw probably dropped a foot or two, but I just took it in. And we carried on the rest of the weekend. The way he said it was almost endearing, as if Ho’s was just another moniker for Groupie or Chiquita. Maybe it’s me (I’m sure it is.. you know.. old, white, uncool) but there was a moment that I just couldn’t imagine referring to any women you might actually be even a little fond of, to as a Ho. Go figure, the old Jew from Utah just doesn’t get it. But perhaps a bit of introspection, and finding what the elements are in our society which encourage otherwise upright, cool, talented guys to refer to comely women as Ho’s would do us better than slamming Don Imus, who was, let’s face it, doing a really bad imitation of a Hip Hopper. Really really bad. I mean, have you seen the guy dance? It’s like me at Jazzercize. They see you move once, and you’re not invited backl. We’re just sayin…David